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Student nurse separated from two-year-old daughter by coronavirus sends emotional video message

PUBLISHED: 13:54 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:54 21 May 2020

Emily Paterson, a third year nursing student at the UEA, with her daughter Ava, who she hasn't seen since she started a nursing placement at the beginning of May because of coronavirus. Picture; Emily Paterson

Emily Paterson, a third year nursing student at the UEA, with her daughter Ava, who she hasn't seen since she started a nursing placement at the beginning of May because of coronavirus. Picture; Emily Paterson

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A mother who has been separated from her two-year-old by the coronavirus pandemic has shown her daughter how much she loves her by recording a special Sign Language video message.

Emily Paterson, a third year nursing student at the UEA, with her daughter Ava, who she hasn't seen since she started a nursing placement at the beginning of May. Picture: Emily PatersonEmily Paterson, a third year nursing student at the UEA, with her daughter Ava, who she hasn't seen since she started a nursing placement at the beginning of May. Picture: Emily Paterson

The coronavirus pandemic has created difficulties for thousands of people, but for Emily Paterson, 26, a third year learning disability nursing student at the University of East Anglia, it has meant being separated from her daughter.

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At the beginning of May, Ms Paterson elected to do a placement as an assessment treatment nurse in Ipswich, providing critical support for adults with disabilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

The decision meant Ms Paterson would be more likely to be exposed to coronavirus.

Exposure which, coupled with her partner’s job as a police officer, represented too great a risk to their daughter Ava, who was born prematurely and has previously shown susceptibility to picking up illnesses.

READ MORE: Our children are so precious, especially in this current time

After weighing up their options, the couple made the difficult decision to move Ava out of the family home in Ixworth, near Bury St Edmunds, and into her grandparents’ home.

Ms Paterson said: “There were countless times where we tried to work out ways where we could keep Ava but we decided that it was a risk we couldn’t take.

“It’s been more difficult than I could have imagined – my parents live in Ixworth as well and in some ways that’s made it harder knowing that Ava’s just round the corner and there’s nothing we can do.

“I try to avoid going in her bedroom to keep it out of my mind and I’ve been working as many hours as I can as it’s a good distraction.”

READ MORE: Meet the nurses helping coronavirus survivors return home

Now, as a way of keeping connected with Ava, Ms Paterson, with the help of her course mates, has created a Sign Language sign along video to the tune of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, a tune that has become synonymous with inspiring hope and solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Paterson said: “Honestly, I thought there would maybe be a couple who might respond and I couldn’t believe the numbers of people who sent clips back.

“People had to take time to learn the signs and I’m so grateful to all of them.”


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