Family of 'Nurse Jenny' from New Zealand 'exceptionally proud' after shout out from Boris Johnson

Nurse Jenny from Invercargill, New Zealand, has risen to fame for her work in caring for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he was in hospital.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked "Jenny from New Zealand" for saving his life.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked "Jenny from New Zealand" for saving his life. Source: Supplied

The family of a New Zealand nurse who has been credited with helping to save the life of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson say they are "exceptionally proud".

Jenny McGee, a 35-year-old from Invercargill, was one of two nurses singled out by Mr Johnson as he addressed the nation after being released from the ICU due to coronavirus, where he said: "things could have gone either way".

"The reason, in the end, my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed," Mr Johnson said in an internationally televised Easter address overnight.

"And I hope they won't mind if I mention in particular two nurses who stood by my bedside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way," he said in the video, referring to the nurses by their first name only.

In an interview with New Zealand media on Monday, Ms McGee's mother and father said she would have given the Prime Minister the same care she gave anyone else.

"It makes us feel exceptionally proud, obviously," Ms McGee's mother, Caroline, said.

"But she has told us these things over the years, and it doesn't matter what patient she is looking after, this is just what she does, and I find it incredible."

Before moving to London, where she now lives, Ms McGee spent six years working at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where she did her intensive care training.

Manager of the nurse unit at the hospital, Michelle Spence, told SBS News Ms McGee's former colleagues were "immensely proud" of the New Zealander.

"The UK Prime Minister was always in good hands with her by his side," she said.

"We see what our colleagues are facing around the world and send our support to all the healthcare workers making critical decisions and providing the best level of care every day as this continues.”

'Overwhelmed by messages'

New Zealand's Otago Daily Times reported that Ms McGree had been "overwhelmed by messages".

''She would give the same level of care to whoever it is that's in that bed needing care and that's what we're so proud of," father Mike McGee said.

''She says 'my job is to get people well and get them back home again' and she does her best.''

One of those messages of support waiting for Ms McGee's attention is from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern back home.

Ms Ardern revealed on Monday that she used "the informal tactic of finding her on Facebook and sending her a Facebook message" to give her New Zealand's support.

"We have thanked our frontline health workers in New Zealand many times and rightly so but I wanted to add an acknowledgement that many, many Kiwis work in health care around the world," Ms Ardern said.

"They show the same commitment, same care, same work ethic that they do here ... We are all very proud of them, especially you Nurse Jenny."

British police officers on duty outside St Thomas' Hospital
British police officers on duty outside St Thomas' Hospital where Prime Minister Boris Johnson was treated for a COVID-19 infection Source: Getty Images

In Mr Johnson's Twitter video, he thanked the NHS for "saving" his life and everyone in Britain for following social distancing guidelines.

The Prime Minister said he had personally "seen the pressure the NHS is under" while at St Thomas' Hospital in central London for the past week.

With AAP

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4 min read
Published 13 April 2020 at 5:18pm
Source: SBS News