In the final week of clapping for our amazing key workers we are delighted to feature OV and nurse Hannah Shearburn (Os 09-16) who is working incredibly hard on a COVID19 ward.
Hannah writes, “I gained a BSc in Adult Nursing as recently as July 2019, registered and started working in October 2019 as a Staff Nurse on an Acute Admissions Unit in East London. Acute Admissions is a short stay ward that admits patients directly from A&E and provides medical care for acutely unwell patients who, once stable, are either discharged or transferred to another ward. From a nurse’s point of view this means no two days are ever the same.
I imagine that anybody’s first year of doing a new job is a shock but there was no way that we could have predicted the changes to nursing procedures and all our lifestyles that have happened since the beginning of this pandemic. The ward started to admit patients for testing for COVID19 in January, and between the beginning of March and the end of April the ward was only for COVID patients, so for that period we were mostly working in full PPE.
It was a steep learning curve: changing protocols for barrier nursing in bays, learning about best practice for treating COVID19 symptoms, removing visiting for patients (unless the patients were end-of-life), getting used to wearing full PPE for patients on high levels of oxygen and also finding a way to not fog up my glasses when I breathed.
Nursing care is very personal, and it has been difficult to see patients be separated in these circumstances from their loved ones while they are in hospital. We try to maintain those contacts and the hospital now has mobile phones to enable families to keep in touch. On our ward just this week we managed to celebrate a birthday of a patient currently in isolation and we were able to FaceTime their family so that they could see each other.
During this difficult time I have noticed how the camaraderie between all hospital staff has strengthened. We have all been touched by the generosity of individuals and communities in providing food and snacks and other help to NHS staff.”