Written by Kate Sansom
Before I get into the blog, I just wanted to let you know that my ward is currently a “green” area, meaning we are not dealing with Covid 19 in the way that other teams in the hospital will be. The “red” areas are for confirmed cases of the virus and include other wards and intensive/critical care. It is my understanding that many trusts throughout the UK are adopting this cohorting style of triage in order to reduce the risk of the virus spreading in the hospital. This doesn’t mean we don’t have contact with these patients but there are now policies in place to ensure they are cared for in specific areas, so our contact is minimal.
I am sure these “red” areas are having a more challenging time than others are currently but nonetheless I’m going to share some experiences of nursing from one of the “green” areas during the global pandemic, because ultimately we are all in this together. Here goes…
It’s (very) early morning and I usually cycle in to work as it usually wakes me up before a long shift (and the gyms are closed). As well as this I need about 2-3 coffees to get going – you’ll find most nurses are probably like me… cut us and we’ll bleed coffee! I don’t know how many patients we will have on the ward or which of my colleagues will have sent been home to isolate, which can be scary, but nonetheless I arrive at work and prepare for my day. I feel fortunate that I still have my job to go to and that there is still some form of socialising I can get from going to work and being with my colleagues. I would go stir crazy if I had to stay at home!! And at least I know I can make some sort of a difference with all of this going on.
I started my job as a nurse in September of 2018 after finishing my degree at Bournemouth Uni and have been on the same medical ward since. I love my ward team, my job and the challenge of nursing within medicine but I expect no one considered a global pandemic when they started their careers in the NHS, but here we are, dealing with it day-to-day.
We’ve recently had some newly-qualified nurses join our team and this truly must be a trial by fire for them, they are however being fully supported by all members of the team and settling in fine. Nursing can be stressful enough day-to-day but no one really expected this to happen and we are all learning and supporting each other every day.
Some days can be tougher than others. We’ve noticed there has been a reduction in admissions to the hospital, most likely due to the policies put in place by the government, that’s not to say anyone’s job is any easier (far from it) and we are finding some of the patients are presenting with more complex illnesses that require slightly more input from us and our medical colleagues in order to make them stable.
Alongside our usual work, were now required to wear PPE all day to protect ourselves and others, and for those not used to wearing surgical masks and glasses every day, trust me when I say they are far from comfortable! We all now even struggle to read each other’s facial expressions from behind these masks so as you can imagine we all look slightly grumpy, even though we are most certainly not!
It’s important for me to really emphasise that despite the strains and challenges we are facing every day, we really are soldiering on. Our trust has released guidance and advice for our wellbeing and we have been inundated with messages of support from members of the public, and from the bottom of mine and everyone else’s hearts, thank you. More importantly than this, we know we have each other and our colleagues to lean on (not literally – we’ve got to keep our 2 metre distance!) and we know that we can support one another through tough times. Most of the time, laughter really is the best medicine and it does make work that little bit easier to know we can support one another and still have a laugh whilst doing what we do.
I’m not here to see you nursing but to share some of my experiences and to let you know we ultimately still have all the support networks in place despite everything that is going on. It really does remain the best job in the world and I am truly so fortunate to be part of such a fantastic ward family, and the bigger NHS family. I hope this blog finds everyone well and fingers crossed it is over sooner than anticipated. Time for me to go get another coffee!
Keep smiling and laughing.