Working in the NHS
Life's not too bad. I'm in the middle of annual leave, is quite nice. I've had one week off already. And I feel, you know, quite relaxed. I haven't. I don't remember feeling less relaxed for a while.
And I mean, it might be years. I've never had two weeks at home. And because he's a for our two week, annual leave, it's for a family holiday somewhere. So I've never, never spent so much time at home, but it's quite nice. But in general, obviously, we're living in pandemic conditions. And we're in lockdown in inverted commas. And no, we've had to make some adaptations for life. But I think, because of my background, as a nurse, I understand a little bit about how our immune system works. And, you know, how, how viruses are spread, the fact that we're all asked to wear a face problem, and do social distancing - it's not a huge thing for me, it makes perfect sense. And, but saying that, normally, I like going out for walks, it's one of my things is, it's good thinking time, I like visiting different places, you know, going down different footpaths and things like that. And since March, I just had a real thing about going out. And I think it's the fear, because I'm a nurse. And I've actually all come on to this a bit more afterwards. And but I've been redeploys, to help on critical care twice. So I've seen firsthand how sick patients can be with the virus, and I wouldn't want anyone I know, to get it, or anyone I don't know, for that matter. Um, and I think because there's a thing that, you know, the virus might spread through asymptomatic carriers. And there's a fear that I could be one of those. And the thought that I could accidentally, you know, pass the virus on to somebody else, I think is the main thing that stuck with me going out. But I have been to the supermarket a couple of times. So if you need something essential husband's been doing most of the shopping, and I'm just trying to minimise the number of bubbles I come into contact with, because when I'm at work, I'm in contact with, you know, several people, even though nowhere or wearing PPE. And during the social distancing and hand hygiene at work, it's still you know, it's, you know, it's there. So, so how about Tibet is, you know, my head has been a bit paranoid or something, or how much of it has been sensible, either. And so I've made a few notes for this question. So I'm just having a look. And yeah, so are there any pressures or stresses that you're facing? I would say, yes. stresses work. There's a, there's a stress, there's a lot of stresses anyway, where I work, obviously, being a nurse on the frontline. And before, before the pandemic we were working, where there's a shortage of nurses anyway, I mean, actually, in the department where I normally work in theatres, and they've recruited several nurses this year. And but not many of them are particularly experienced.
Yeah, as I said before, I've been redeployed twice to critical care. But personally, my experience has been quite good as a stress because, you know, you know why you're going there. And the work is incredibly hard. I, it's been a real eye opener. And, you know, it's called a critical care unit, but it's also being called intensive care, and the care that these patients need is intense. And some of the regular staff have commented that they've never seen anything like it themselves. And I don't know, how do they manage day to day, right. And so, although I'm really pleased that I'm on I know, leave at the moment, part of me still feels guilty, because I'm not there. They're not supporting me colleagues. And some of my colleagues have had COVID themselves. And so, you know, hearing their stories about it, and you know, how, just like being aware that, you know, many of my colleagues are in the shielding group, or have had covert, too, they're not really able to work in the COVID areas. And, and I am, so that, I suppose I've got a bit of weight on my shoulders that, yeah, I also have a second role. So I'm the freedom to speak up guardian for the hospital. And so it's, it's also trying to help create a culture where staff feel they can speak up about things. And obviously, working on the front line. I've got an idea what kinds of things people may want to speak up about. So it's the not knowing, you know, how many people are going to contact me, and how, and what it's about, and, you know, making sure they've got the support they need. And things have escalated to the right people. And but so far, it's not been too bad. And to be honest, I think the organisation has made things easier anyway. So let's acknowledge that it's recognised. Now, obviously, there's been so many changes with working in the pandemic, know, this, all staff are encouraged by the senior management to speak up. And we've got different channels to report things. So hopefully, they're working. Okay.
So, yeah, so that that's work stuff, really, there is also stress and pressure at home. And I live with my husband and son. And, you know, I've tried to introduce a few changes at home, basically, you know, to, to, to do certain things, like if you've been out somewhere, like if you've been out shopping, or what my son's at college, to come in, just make sure you've you've cleaned your hands and you wipe the door handles down and things like that. But yeah, know, if I've done some shopping or wipe down, whatever is in the bag. Yeah. And where is my family? Don't do that. And we've been okay, so far. So, you know, husband and son are gonna be like, well, being or I don't need to do that. And, you know, at work, now, we're at home, you don't have to, you don't have to do all those things that I'm not but it's a it's the principle. Yeah, that I'm finding that quite stressful being, being having the discussion, not arguments, because he will argue, but there's, there's, we've had a difference of opinion, about a few things. And it's just as he can feel there's a bit of tension. And also, there's more and more stuff on social media that's starting to really get on my nerves. I'm being polite, be polite at the moment. And so I can't help read it. And I've sort of I'm kind of interested in meeting it because I think I should know what sounds sort of like, yeah, no reasons.
But there is more and more stuff about conspiracy theorists, and that they all say that they're not conspiracy theorists. They'll say that. Most people who are following the government guidelines are naive. And we don't see the bigger picture. We don't see that there's a grand plan for world domination. And, and that the COVID is a cover up and an excuse. And that just really, really makes me angry because I'm thinking how insulting to the thousands of families or millions across the world, you know, who might have lost somebody to COVID? or been affected or been ill from it themselves? And, and I just think we never heard this level of conspiracy theory and talk about what do they call it the new New World Order awesome thing. The great reset, I made a note, and didn't really hear too much about that Intel. And COVID was headline news everywhere. And, and I, I just, I'm struggling to understand what it is that they want, what what are they trying to achieve? by their posts? And I think they, they seem to have an answer for everything. And they won't, they don't seem interested in listening to healthcare professionals, and other points of view. And they're quite sophisticated in in how they argue things. So I, I have been getting quite a bit of information from a contact of mine of an ex colleague, and he keeps sending me this stuff. And I've had to ask him to stop sending it to me, because I I've just I've haven't got the energy to just try and tie in. Put things from a different point of view.
ut there are there are some positives as well, it's not all, it's not all completely negative. So I think things have helped a lot have been being able to keep connected with family and friends. I mean, as you as you know, I'm a bit of a fan of social media, especially Twitter anyway, it's how we connected in the first place. But that's I've got no intention of stopping doing that. Because it's been able, it's helped me keep connected with people. And I believe it's helped my resilience. And I don't know how I would be if I didn't have that support network. I mean, I've got a good support network at work, but it's not the same. And so, and that's been really good. And so I'm just having a look at my notes, then. Yeah, so I mean, this thing on Twitter, and there's a hashtag early risers club, and it's basically a group of people who every morning and just greet each other, missing each other a nice day might post, like, some kind of inspirational quotes or has some kind of message and it's usually related to kindness. And it's meant to be like a safe. I think we have created a safe place with people. And it's, it's, you know, something nice to read on, on Twitter, every morning. But it's, I mean, it's called a club, but I don't, it's not really a club because it's on Twitter, and anyone can join in if they want to. It's just if they start putting stuff that's kind of against our ethic of kindness and things like that, then there have been a few people who've been blocked. They've used the platform for their own agenda, which isn't, isn't a message that we want to be given out.
And there's a core group of people that, I mean, they've also been doing it regularly and they were doing it for a while before me. And as it happens, many people I didn't didn't realise until those then it regularly are working for the NHS or, but or in some kind of caring type of role, then a couple of people from patient experience or parent experience, ease that To try and help bring bring about good changes in health and social care system. But it's just the fact that we're all people, we're all people. And we've got the same kind of, if kind of views on things and want to use Twitter in a positive way, and send ripples of kindness across twitterverse. But also, I mean, I really like, I really like my bed. And it annoys me, wake it up in them in the morning is quite annoying sometimes. But if I put that on Twitter, it, it could be bad, but it isn't. It's I I like, you know, when you're asleep, you kind of you free and it's nice, and it's warm and comfy. So when the alarm clock goes this annoying, waking up, but knowing that early visors club is there, and you know, within minutes, you know, smiling and feel really happy. And that is I think that's got more meaning this year. And friendships have grown from early risers club as well. And we've had a few apps or meetups in the past. And so we've really missed them this year. And people live. Well, yeah, mostly in the UK. And so unfortunately, it's been a bit difficult for some people, people to join the meetup. But no, there's usually a good probably five or six of us that the ones I've been to. And, and we've, we've just all got on really well. We've had a really nice day, you know, quite often go quite often meeting York, I would say. And because it's never one of the main early wises club people's places she lives. And yeah, so we've, we've met there before, we've usually gone from one cafe, where we've had a drink and a bite to eat, and then what's a bit and then go to another one. And it's just had a really nice time. So I'm looking forward to those again. Yeah. And what else? And yeah, other positive news, I think hearing just then this last week about two vaccines that, you know, might be, might be good to go in the coming months in the spring. So I think that that's good news on the horizon. And, I mean, obviously, we don't know how long it will take, you know, for it to be effective as well, where we don't have to worry too much about social distancing and stuff anymore. I'm guessing it will probably be well into next year. Um, but, you know, we need vaccines. And so I'm taking the positive from that.
I suppose one thing talking about changes. My hair is quite different than usual. So when, before the first time, I was redeployed to intensive care, I've normally got quite longer, really thick curly hair and I knew But I would have to wear a theatre cap as part of our PP, and one doesn't cover my hair. And I thought it would just be easier and more practical to have it cut short, which I always had as a child anyway. And this husband, he prefers it longer. But I just said, tough, you know, I'm doing this for practical reasons for work for as long as an 80. And I normally have it coloured as well. But because we went for so many weeks without being able to have a haircut, all my colleagues now know, it's really quite grey. And I just thought, Well, you know, it seems a bit of money, not not, so I wouldn't try and cover up this off, because I think I would just make a mess. And so I've just let the colour out. But I'm having a shorter style, and it was great. It looks great. And the sharpness of it, no nice, I always had that your air. And just for some reason, I've grown a bit, but that's really nice. Yeah.
And it is a lot more practical, comfortable to work in, I can easily get a cap, one cap covers my hair quite well. And with that, yeah, that's probably the biggest change, I thought I've put on a lot of weight, because I haven't been exercising as much as I should do. And when I weighed myself the other day and haven't, and I'm not so buying because I've been eating a lot more cake and biscuits than is good for me. So, you know, maybe that's the kind of, you know, if comfort eating, then I think, Oh, I was gonna say as well, I'm, like back support work, because personally, I found it, I found it really good. And I think probably having a, I took an attitude, I'm not gonna lie, I was really scared about going to critical care in March, well, actually was April. Because I knew what we were, why we were going. But also, when I was a student nurse in the 1990s, we had a placement on intensive care, and it was only six weeks. Six weeks wasn't long enough for me to get over. Oh, there's so many machines, it's a very scary place. And you know, you're looking after the sickest patients. I mean, obviously, as a student, I was never, never responsible for the two and I was always had supervision. But even so it's knowing that if, you know, if I was a qualified nurse, you know, you'd be caring for one patient with all these needs. And, you know, it wouldn't, wouldn't take much of a mistake, but could be a life threatening one for that patient. So that kind of thing. And never left that thought. So when I went there in March, even though I'm an experienced nurse, it's is really out of my comfort zone. And, you know, my most of my experience has been moved a case patients and short stay surgery patients. And yes, in recovering i have i've noticed patients who would go to high dependency unit or or somewhere, but they're only with you for about an hour. And also if there's anything at all, we just call an exit fest. If there's anything that we think that's not quite right, let's get them to have a look. Where is the role of intensive care nurses? No, very different. However, I thought, we're in a pandemic, I've been selected to go I'm going to try and make the most of it. And also take any opportunities to learn. Because I enjoy learning. And that's one of the things I've been frustrated about, where I usually work that that hasn't been prioritised as much as I'd like it to be. And so I've personally found the regular staff really, really supportive. And you know, and I thought I'm going to try and learn one thing, every shift and then I know that I'm going to be more of a help than a hindrance after a while because If they say, Can you do this? My answer is going to be yes. You know, where is it the beginning? It's like, Oh, I'm not sure. But you know, I'm willing to learn, I'll do my best. And, you know, it didn't feel like it took too long before I could say I can do that. And, you know, so I think that's quite nice. And know, the facts, I've been asked to go back again, I'm taking it as a, as a positive thing as well. I mean, I sort of volunteered as well. And because I knew that, when we finished back in the summer, that was basically, you know, if, if we do get another surge of patients again, then, you know, we'll be we'll be asking you to come back, because we know that you've, you've got some experience. And because it took a lot for them. I mean, we did get some training before we went out, you know, a day and half a day for this area and half a day for some practical things. But it's, that takes, I believe, about five years for somebody to to become an intensive care nurse with every female to learn. So it is a lot of responsibility for them.
And then we've got quite a proactive HR director. And they produce a leaflet called looking after you, which is basically a guide for stuff for the pandemic and it had links to departments or people in the organisation who have a support role. And unning, encouraged staff to use it if they needed to, but it also had some links to people like the headspace app, and karma and a couple of other things. In Personally, I have not, not really access that much as I did I have done a couple of times would have not, it's not something that I use regularly. But I still thought I'm glad that the organization's acknowledging that staff might not feel okay. And that support is there and you shouldn't feel bad if you need it. And it's also good for me, in my role as a female to speak up Guardian, because I say it is related to health and well being and if any staff, you know, came to me or I've thought somebody was in distress, I've got a chance of saying have you, you know, you might find these people supportive or you know, be able to give them some support, even if it's just signposting them to something or someone.
Note: This nurse hasn't seen their parents all year and this is partly down to them being very careful due to their job.