A local nurse has become an international sensation after a video of her singing to a patient in Altnagelvin Hospital went viral.
Brittany McArthur was on duty on the ward when 87-years-old patient, Nellie Barr, from Strabane, asked her to sing a song.
Brittany (21), however, was unaware that another patient across the room had captured her rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ and had kindly allowed Nellie’s grandson, Jason, to share it.
The video has since been viewed tens of thousands of times and has even hit the headlines in America and Canada.
Brittany, from Ballykelly, who is her final year of training and will qualify this year, said: “I didn’t know anything about it until I saw the notifications on my phone, that 10,000 people were watching a video of me. To be honest I get quite nervous singing for people, but it feels different with a patient, I just want to make them feel better.
“I had only met Nellie half an hour beforehand that day. I was there banking, and I was in chatting to everybody, I always introduce myself regardless of whether I am on placement. I always think what if that was my granny or a member of my family, and it’s about finding things to make people a little more comfortable and to take their mind off the current situation. If you are not well or something’s wrong, you can get down, so if you can distract or take their mind off what’s concerning them, then why not?”
“With my name being Brittany I always get ‘like Britney Spears?’ and ‘Can you sing?’ and, well I do sing a bit, and they always want you to sing. Nellie is quite a good singer herself and after she sang, she told me it was my turn and we sang together.”
Brittany said her family reckon she has been singing as long as she has been talking, and before her Granny Flo passed away 11 years ago, she wanted her to do singing lessons. Taking this to heart, Britanny went on to take lessons from the ages of 10 to 17 and completed all her grades. ‘Amazing Grace’ was one of her Granny Flo’s favourite songs and is also one of her Granny Roe’s favourites as well. “It’s a song I loved myself as well,” she added.
Speaking about the reaction after the short video clip went viral, she said: “You have no idea! I got messages that it was in America and on the news in Canada. I didn’t expect any response, so it is really, really unexpected.”
Jason Barr said his grandmother Nellie, who has been in hospital for the past fortnight, was delighted with the positive attention the video is getting. Praising Brittany, the Strabane man, who was recently elected as a local councillor, said: “To show that care and compassion at such a young age was unbelievable.
“With all the pressures on the NHS and the overwhelming hours, it just really is something for someone to bring that enjoyment to the patient.
“I think Britanny is absolutely outstanding in her job and went above and beyond. She deserves every bit of the praise she is getting.
“My granny is loving the fame too, people in Altnagelvin Hospital are passing her room and saying, ‘that’s the wee woman in the video’. It was mad how far it went through social media, it even reached Fox News!”