Posthumous honour for Norfolk and Norwich nurse Estrella who died of Covid

Estrella Catalan

NNUH staff nurse Estrella Catalan who died after contracting Covid-19. - Credit: JustGiving

A popular nurse who died during the height of the Covid pandemic has been posthumously honoured with a national award.

Estrella Catalan, who was an emergency department staff nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, spent more than 18 years caring for patients at the site.

She died in February 2021, having been admitted to a Covid ward where her son worked as a student nurse.

The pair had fallen ill within days of each other, but while Christian Catalan had recovered, his mother's condition deteriorated.

An inquest into her death heard that "in the balance of probabilities" Mrs Catalan had not contracted the virus in her workplace.

Relatives of Estrella Catalan receive her CNO Gold Award

Relatives of Estrella Catalan receive her CNO Gold Award - Credit: NNUH

Now, more than a year on from her death, she has been posthumously honoured by the country's chief nursing officer, who presented members of her family with a Gold Award on her behalf.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: "It is an honour to dedicate this award to Estrella.

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"Estrella's belief in her profession, dedication to the NHS and her pioneering approach shone through in everything she did and it is absolutely right that she is recognised with this award.

"Estrella’s dedication to mentoring, supervision and education was at the forefront of her role.  She inspired all learners with her passion for nursing, her drive to be part of a solution, her wholehearted commitment and desire to inspire. 

 “Estrella represented the best qualities of the nursing profession and while we have lost a wonderful and dedicated colleague, her family have lost so much more.”

Family and colleagues of Estrella Catalan at the International Nurses Day event at NNUH

Family and colleagues of Estrella Catalan at the International Nurses Day event at NNUH - Credit: NNUH

Prof Nancy Fontaine, Chief Nurse at NNUH, says:  “Estrella was a wonderful person and a caring and conscientious nurse, who loved to teach and mentor students; she is missed by all her colleagues who remember her so fondly.”

Mrs Catalan joined the hospital in September 2002, working as a staff nurse on the Gunthorpe and Heydon wards.

She moved to the UK after completing a degree in nursing in her native country of the Philippines.

Prof Fontaine added: "Estrella was part of the ground-breaking team of nurses who joined from their homeland.

"Estrella was part of the leadership that integrated a cohort of overseas nurses smoothly and seamlessly into both the acute hospital and the Norfolk community."