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Dr Sam Anthony
CREDIT: Dr Sam Anthony

The Wounded Healer

A Doctors in Distress project and exhibition, with support from the RPS

DID Logo

This year, the RPS was delighted to support the charity Doctors in Distress, who exist to help healthcare professionals who need support with their own mental health.

During the past two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, this has been a particularly prominent issue although this has been a problem for much longer. The pandemic brought this to the surface.

We asked doctors, nurses, care workers and other medical professionals to share with us their images to show how they had found peace during this difficult time. We received a tremendous response, and it was very difficult for the selectors (Evan Dawson the RPS’s CEO, and photographer John Humphrey) to select a shortlist for display at the “Wounded Healer” conference in March 2022.

We are delighted to share the winning entries below.

Picture 1

Dr Lynn Dailey, GP
'A reminder of how beautiful the world is and how small we are.'


Dr Maureen Birch

Dr Maureen Birch, GP
'A cross country skiing trail at Ruka in Finnish Lapland at dusk - my pandemic screen saver. This is my 'go to' place for a beautiful, peaceful landscape with the snow crystals glistening in the ebbing sunlight & the gentle meditative rhythm of gliding skis - a million miles away from the worries of the world.'


Helen Robertson

Helen Robertson, Intensive Care Sister
'I walked through these woods a lot with my dog for company. As a sister in Intensive Care, I was very grateful to be able to have some quiet time.'


Johannah Churchill

Johannah Churchill, Registered Nurse
'It was friendships that helped me find peace during the pandemic.'


Dr Jon Williamson

Dr Jon Williamson, Anaesthetics
'Amongst documenting the pandemic at work, I made a conscious effort to discover and appreciate beauty in things close to me, accessible around the home or short walks away. I slowed the shutter to take an image of this dahlia, bringing a softness and calm.’

@drjdwilliamson |


Dr Jon Williamson 2

Dr Jon Williamson, Anaesthetics
'At the end of a busy shift in the second wave of Covid, I pictured my colleague Thom coming back into the anaesthetic department for handover. Illuminated by a ceiling light in a dark corridor. Finding interesting (or even usable!) light in the hospital for my photo-documentary was a good creative challenge amongst the emotionally and physically challenging times.'

@drjdwilliamson |


Dr Jon Williamson 3

Dr Jon Williamson, Anaesthetics 
'This image shows our ICU team proning a patient, and the huge physical effort that goes into this. It also illustrated more than ever to me about unity, teams and coming together in times of hardship. The focus of the image is on all these different hands working in unison.'

@drjdwilliamson |


Dr Jon Williamson 4

Dr Jon Williamson, Anaesthetics
'I was struck by the parallels going on in the same hospital; on one side of the hospital Covid was raging, whilst on the other new life was determined to enter into this world. I learnt to re-appreciate the beauty of life being brought into the world, amongst the sometimes chaotic experiences one can have working on labour ward. An ICU nurse I had worked with in the pandemic gave birth in our hospital, these are images taken from my Birth during Covid series of her elective c-section.'

@drjdwilliamson |


Kelly Webb

Kelly Webb, Operating Department Practitioner
'Fresh air & sunshine in the garden with my little family, the complete opposite of my time working as part of the Covid ITU team.'


Lindsay Ward

Lindsay Ward, Emergency Care Assistant, Ambulance Service
'Kayaking on the river Cam, where I found peace and tranquillity as all my worries of the pandemic floated away for those minutes, I was there.'


Dr Mariam Walker

Dr Mariam Walker, GP
'Taken on Whitley Bay seafront where I would take myself each morning before work to watch the sunrise. I reminded myself that ‘even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise’.'


Marie Lyons

Marie Lyons, ENT surgeon and divisional medical director at East and North Herts
'I posted this at Easter 2020- things were bad then really bad.  
I posted with the caption - “at the end of the night, the sun always rises and nature is still beautiful.” 
This picture is taken in the woods near my house - the birds were louder and the colours brighter in the midst of all the fear.'


Naomi Preston

Naomi Preston, ST6 Paediatrics
'Simple pleasures and getting lost in the innocence of childhood, like playing pooh sticks in the park. In these moments I briefly forgot the chaos of the pandemic and it was bliss.'



Naomi Preston 2

Naomi Preston, ST6 Paediatrics
'During the pandemic we found beautiful places on our doorstep that we had always been too busy to visit before. My kids and I found peace in the beautiful botanical gardens at Fletcher Moss, and as Spring came and brought hope of light at the end of the tunnel, these crocuses seemed to reflect our feelings.'



Naomi Preston 3

Naomi Preston, ST6 Paediatrics
'In the height of the pandemic I was on maternity leave with my 3rd child. Through the chaos of homeschooling a 6 year old and potty training a 3 year old, I found peace in the rare quiet moments spent with my new baby.'



Dr Sam Anthony
CREDIT: Dr Sam Anthony

Dr Sam Anthony, Dermatologist
‘When the world was in chaos and pandemic strife,  
The natural world still got on with its life.  
And there I took comfort in its warm embrace,  
Moments found to step out from the burdens we faced. 
The fears were well hidden, the wounds were concealed,  
The armour so strong had to go to be healed. 
But there was always the sunshine that came through the cracks,  
And helped keep the gaze forwards, no need to turn back.  
I looked for hope on the horizon, sought  emotional release,  
I paused… I breathed… and right there I found peace.’  


Sarah Ellison Davis

Sarah Ellison Davis, Physiotherapist Emergency Department
'This photo has everything that is a polar opposite to being in a hospital on shift-there is light, brightness and the feeling of fresh air and freedom. It is a scene that brings calmness and peace when I look at it.'


Dr Shonag Mackenzie

Dr Shonag Mackenzie, Consultant Obs and Gynae
'I found being outside when allowed and exercise really helped keep me resilient. This photo is taken from my kayak of 2 of my family (part of my bubble) in their kayak on our first ever trip out in the kayaks during sunset.'


Steve Whittaker

Steve Whittaker, Optometrist
'My daily commute was a gloriously empty and cathartic 30 minute cycle along the coastal path linking Arbroath and Carnoustie, and my photo reflects my feelings of that view as I sped along the path, watching the beach and sea whiz past, and the seaweed smell filled my nose and lungs with Nature, clearing away the stress of the day.'


Viv Harte

Viv Harte, Psychotherapist and Group Analyst
'Mist at dawn over Moray – a sense of peace away from NHS Highland.'


Viv Harte 2

Viv Harte, Psychotherapist and Group Analyst
'Drizzle over Plockton dampens the fire of my stress at NHS Highland.'


Dr Nikki Williams

Dr Nikki Williams, GP
'Here we fed the ducks, time and time again. And for that time the weight of the pandemic and the restrictions were muted by the sounds of my giggling brood and the chatter of the ducks.'


Dr Esther Serrano

Dr Esther Serrano, Consultant Clinical Psychologist 
Sharing Habitat - 'I took this image in my first photographing outing during the pandemic. It is about sharing and accommodating to others’ needs. In the city, humans and wildlife share the habitat.'


Dr Esther Serrano 2

Dr Esther Serrano, Consultant Clinical Psychologist 
Prague - 'We had very clear skies during the first lockdown. This image represent how we pollute our skies using the wrong street lighting.'


Dr Esther Serrano 3

Dr Esther Serrano, Consultant Clinical Psychologist 
Gasadalur & Mulafossur - 'This image was processed during lock down. It represents darkness and hope.'


Dr Francoise Wynn

Dr Francoise Wynn, GP
'Turf Hill, the special place I’m blessed to have almost on my doorstep in the New Forest . After many weeks at home  “shielding”,  my brain in turmoil and conflicted with guilt that I was only able to work remotely and anxiety, here I found some peace and joy on my sunset walks.'


Dr Ternjit Jhooti

Dr Ternjit Jhooti, GP
'My peace was sunrise. The calm before the storm.' 


Elspeth Long

Elspeth Long, Health Care Assistant
'An expanse unchanged, beyond time and made me realise how small and temporary life is.' 


Elspeth Long 2

Elspeth Long, Health Care Assistant
'This Too Shall Pass. The seasons will change and return again, the waves will keep hitting the shore. We are always surrounded by beauty, sometimes you just need to look up.' 


Elspeth Long 3

Elspeth Long, Health Care Assistant
'Walk on Studland while you still can”- Bill. Bill was admitted to the ward and was with us over the festive period of 2020. Unfortunately, Bill caught Covid whilst on the ward and sadly died. Bill was local to Dorset and was always keen to share his stories with us. The first thing I recall him telling me was to walk on Studland beach while I still could as he no longer was able. When lockdown restrictions started to lift, my grandad, mum and I got up early and walked along Studland. Bill was not far from my thoughts.' 


Elspeth Long 4

Elspeth Long, Health Care Assistant
'This is Kit! Kitty is our little lockdown friend, a vixen cub from a previous litter, she remained a constant amongst the uncertainty of the pandemic. It was reassuring to see nature continuing its business as normal. She still visits.'


Kate Murphy

Kate Murphy–Morris, Mental Health Nurse Independent Prescriber 
'This is a photo of grandad meeting grandson taken at the start of the first wave, it captures both the fear we felt at being less than 2 meters apart even in a garden, pre vaccination and with the elderly death toll rising, and our need to be together.  The photo also captures their delight at being close together after separation with the boy's face reflected in the glass door along with the grandad's carefully tended blooming garden, the glass enabled them to be close to each other again, but safe. Knowing that they were together and safe brought me a lot of peace (of mind!).' 


Emma Diette

Emma Diette, Intensive Care Nurse
'I became a patient myself being sectioned under a Section 2 of the Mental Health Act and diagnosed with Complex Trauma PTSD. Embroidery brought me great solitude, whilst realising the natural world is our greatest teacher.'