Hannah, a member of staff who has been redeployed to support our wards during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been sharing some words of advice and encouragement for other staff returning to work on the frontlines. You can read all about the start of her redeployment experience here. Below, she shares some more thoughts on tackling her anxieties about taking on more responsibility on the wards…
“I am still on nightshifts and continue to enjoy working with the different teams and patients. Following my last update, I went into work for my first night shift after four days off, all refreshed and my enthusiastic self, wondering what the night would have in store for me.
My heart sank when I was told that a qualified nurse had phoned in sick for their night shift and I was asked if I would cover the ward for the night. I don’t think I had ever been so anxious! Hundreds of thoughts rushed through my mind…“What if I lose the keys?” “What do I do if something goes wrong?” I took a deep breath and tried to remember back to my first days and nights working as a newly qualified nurse on the wards, and how I managed then…
Having started working for the Trust in 2001 as a 16 year-old nursing cadet and then as a nursing assistant, I knew the importance of support staff on the wards. When I first started as a newly qualified nurse in charge of a ward, I kept this mind. I was ‘the nurse in charge’, but I wasn’t alone. I worked with a team of highly experienced nursing assistants who knew every patient and were my ‘eyes and ears’ on the ward when I was sorting medication rounds, taking part in Multi-Disciplinary Team reviews or having one-on-one time with patients. These memories of the team I worked alongside gave me comfort now, and my heart rate started to come down.
Following my internal pep talk, I pulled up my big-girl pants, smiled and said, “Yes, of course I don’t mind, anything to help out”. I was so pleased that a lovely young staff nurse, Georgia, agreed to stay on for a few hours to help with the night time medication round. I was unfamiliar with the patients and it would likely take me a long time to do it right on my own! When Georgia had left, I spoke to the nursing assistants and asked for their help; they obliged with professionalism, care, helpfulness, and dedication.
If I can give any advice to those of us returning to the frontline, it would be to always recognise the importance of our support staff. Not only the regular staff but that of the agency staff too. They are all worth their weight in gold and do an amazing job. I have met many throughout my redeployment who really do go above and beyond. Benson, Val, George, Caroline, Chrissy and the many others who I have had the opportunity to work alongside are the backbone of the wards, and I cannot praise them enough!
I won’t lie to you, it is getting more anxiety-provoking going to work as the amount of patients testing positive for COVID-19 increases. I am however becoming quite attached to the masks that we are wearing to protect ourselves and the patients. They hide a multitude of things, including the old double chin and the occasional spot. I do like to see the positives in all situations…!
Anyway, I am off to bed shortly to prepare for my next night shift tonight. I hope you are all having positive experiences too. Stay safe and take care!”