From the front line…

Our member, Maggie B, works in the NHS. She contributed the following article for our weekly “eNewsletter” shared on 9th April 2020 and gave permission for it to be shared on the website.

She writes:

[I have been asked] to say a few words about my experience of the current situation, in the belief that my experience is more interesting! This is not a word I’d use to describe the situation, not least because every time I hear it I think of the phrase “may you live in interesting times” – the provenance of which I’ll leave to you to decide!
 Over my past few shifts, I have been variously: scared; tired; fed up; horrified; joyous; bemused; uncomfortable. To be honest, we have been quite lucky at work as we are one of the so-called ‘clean’ wards – we still admit patients of our own speciality (and some others too) and if any of our patients develop Covid-19 they are moved to one of the respiratory wards. The hospital is unrecognisable, purely because everything we did know has changed and most specialty wards have now become respiratory wards. We have new ways of working, and every time I walk into work something else has changed. But we still go back to our fundamentals – each patient is here for a reason, and we need to make sure that they are safe, pain-free, comfortable and well-looked-after whilst they are with us, even if we do have to wear facemasks and end up repeating ourselves frequently.
 We still manage to laugh, not only with the patients but with the staff too, but unfortunately our jokes are not suitable to be repeated. (I’m not sure which is worse – NHS humour or military humour. Answers on a postcard please!) We are also aware how fortunate we are – we may be having to go to work, and potentially risk our health, but we are also able to see and be with other people, and our opportunity for actual social interaction is immense. We do practice social distancing as much as we are able, and we do remind others when necessary, but it’s quite tricky to help a patient mobilise to the bathroom if you are 2 metres away from them.
 If you were to ask me what you could do to help, then I would say you are already doing it. Stay at home, go out as infrequently as possible and stay as far away from others when you do. I may sound like a broken record, but this is a nasty disease and the consequences are horrible, and too often heart-breaking.
 Take care,