Remembering Melujean Ballesteros

Melujean Ballesteros, a staff nurse at St Mary’s Hospital, sadly passed away on 12 April 2020.

Melujean was born in the Philippines and worked at St Mary’s from 2002. Her journey working as a nurse at St Mary's hospital started on Thistlethwayte Ward before moving to Samuel Lane Ward. In 2018, she moved to Douglas Ward on the first floor of the Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother (QEQM) building when Samuel Lane ward was relocated as part of the high dependency unit reconfiguration.

Melujean was a popular and respected member of our staff. Those who worked with her have paid affectionate tribute to her care and compassion and how hard she worked for her patients. As a keen cook, she often brought lovely homemade meals and snacks into work for her friends and colleagues who she adored and this was shown through her love of cooking.

The Philippine Ambassador to the UK, Antonio Lagdameo, paid tribute to Melujean and other Filipino health care professionals who have died of coronavirus in the UK in recent weeks.

Melujean is survived by her husband Luis and her two children.

Her colleague and former line manager, Faz Ghooloo, paid tribute to Melujean:

I knew Melujean for over seven years. I was her direct line manager for two years and our working relationship continued even when I moved in 2016 to take up my current role as the lead nurse for acute medicine. We were reunited when Samuel Lane Ward moved to Douglas Ward in 2018.

Working with Melujean was like belonging to one happy family. She was always smiling and always made sure the whole team was happy. No matter how hard things were on the ward, she would always say “sister we can do this together and we are here to help.” Her kind words and her dedication inspired me and gave me the motivation and aspiration to go even further despite the day to day challenges.

With her hands-on and hard-working approach, she was very helpful to her team and never complained about anything. As a dedicated nurse, she put her patients at the centre of everything she did. Her caring approach meant that she looked after her patients with kindness, empathy and compassion. Melujean never had a bad thing to say about anyone. She was one of the kindest nurses I have ever worked with.

My favourite memory of her is the little things she did when she was not at work such as baking and also cooking lovely food from the Philippines. She took so much pride in her cooking. I still remember her saying to me a few weeks ago that, “When this pandemic is over I will bring your favourite cheese cake.”

Melujean was such a lovely person with so much energy, laughter and joy which she brought to everyone who was in her company and it is sad to see she is gone so soon and separated from us all. She was a true NHS hero who will be greatly missed by her colleagues, her friends, her families but most of all her patients.

A tribute from Suzan Ihonre

Melujean, known as MJ, was my mentor in Douglas ward. I learnt a lot from her. She was so selfless, awesome, hardworking, happy to assist anyone and a good team player.

She cared for patients with her whole heart and was very compassionate and friendly to everyone with her beautiful smiles. I am so, so sad to hear about this unfortunate incidence that happened to her. RIP MJ, Love you forever.

A tribute from Ewelina Nadolska

I knew MJ for over five years. We worked together on Douglas ward and before on Samuel Lane ward. She was like an auntie to all of us. She was always smiling! She was kind to everyone, hardworking and she was providing the best care to all her patients.

I will never forget her smile and the amazing cheesecake she last made for us not long before the pandemic started. I can’t believe she is no longer here.

MJ, you will be truly missed by all.

A tribute from Janat Kaddu

MJ contributed much to the life of our ward, was very supportive, kind and caring to all.

She especially supported me during a very difficult time in my life when I recently lost both of my parents in 2019. The character of the life she lived might be summed up in a few words: she was sincere, generous and loyal.

Thank you for your dedication and support throughout the years.

You will truly be missed.

A tribute from Kwells (Andrea Akwelley Bulley)

To the beautiful Melujean:

MJ was the very definition of a nurse, kind, caring, dedicated, smart and supportive.

No matter how bad the shift got, you always got through it, sometimes even with a smile, because MJ was a team player and always had your back.

She was amazing, truly legendary, so knowledgeable! I learnt so much from her, and I laughed so much with her. She was well loved by patients and staff alike, and the biggest advocate for both.

My heart is legitimately broken, she will always be missed.

May she rest in perfect peace xxx