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An interview with GOSH nurse Elin Davies on what it's like to row across the Atlantic

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Elin Davies, a senior research nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, spoke via satellite-phone to NT from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. She and her rowing partner, ward sister Herdip Sidhu are taking part in the Atlantic Rowing Race 2007, to raise money for research into metabolic conditions in children.

NT: Where are you at the moment?

ED: At the moment, we are 911 miles away from Antigua, 17 degrees north of the equator and 44 degrees west of Greenwich.

NT: What have been the high and low points of your journey so far?

ED: The sunrises have been beautiful. But we have had some really frightening storms where we have had to take cover for 36 hours at a time.

Because the salt gets everywhere there is a real danger of our skin breaking down. Because we have to row in shifts there is also a big problem with sleep deprivation.

NT: Have you had to use your nursing skills?

ED: I had to insert an IV line into my rowing partner. She was so seasick for the first week that she got dehydrated. It was quite a challenge in the middle of the Atlantic.’

The discipline of working night shifts has also helped the nurses stick to a gruelling rowing schedule of alternate one-hour shifts. It has given us mental discipline.’

NT: When do you hope to arrive?

ED: We are aiming to arrive between 10 and 14 February, which is about 10-14 days later than we expected because of the bad weather.

Interview by Richard Staines

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