A glimpse into the working NHS…
So, a nurse, a medical secretary, a junior doctor, and a complaints manager walk into an NHS building every day to work during the pandemic. This is not the start of a rubbish pub joke, but a reality for one of the biggest employers in the world.
We have interviewed NHS staff to give us their take on working during these “unprecedented times”. All staff mentioned here have wished to remain anonymous for the purpose of this article. Our aim is to shine a light on those who cover various departments to give us their take on what they have been going through.
Adult Nurse on a Vascular ward
Q. What has been your biggest achievement since qualifying as a Nurse?
A. After being told I wasn’t smart enough from a young age, I’ve proven my haters wrong and graduated with a 1st Class degree in Adult Nursing.
Q. What would be your advice, as an NHS professional to those struggling to cope with the lockdowns? How are you coping personally?
A. On a personal level, my mental health has suffered as I have not been able to see my family or friends who would comfort me. Nevertheless, these are hard and trying times for everybody, but we are all in this together and there will be light at the end of the tunnel if we all stick together, as we all want the same outcome.
Q. What advice would you give to prospective NHS recruits who are looking to train as a nurse, doctor, paramedic, or any other job in the NHS?
A. Working for the NHS is not easy, but the rewards you reap are worth the hard graft. There is no comparable feeling knowing that you have helped somebody feel better and even, helping save their life. The NHS is struggling for staff so if you’re thinking about working for them, research your options and apply now! It will ease the pressure on existing staff not only now, but in the long run.
Complaints Manager for Head Office
Q. In your 40 year career working for the NHS, have you ever seen anything like this?
A. No – even when I was doing my nursing, I worked through the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 80s, but I have never seen anything as vast as this. I will be honest and say that the Covid-19 pandemic has actually scared me.
Q. How did you find going back onto the wards during the 2020 wave?
A. I realised how much I missed being on the wards and interacting with patients, but I would be too old to go back now in my former role, both in age and method. Plus we are never short of work in our office, as we were swamped with complaints all the time, regardless of the pandemic.
Q. Back to your office job – what would you suggest to those who are complaining about certain treatments being sidelined to accommodate the Covid-19 sufferers?
A. To keep it brief, if it has affected your treatment personally, put it in writing and submit it to your relevant PALS department.
Newly Qualified F1 Junior Doctor
Q. What a year to graduate in Medicine. How are you finding it?
A. Well, I didn’t anticipate having to put 5 years of training into this kind of practice. I am always fearful, like all newly qualified nurses and junior doctors, of making a terrible mistake. I feel some days like I don’t know anything, but we all have to start somewhere. Although it is scary now, we will all get used to it and it will be easier in the future.
Q. What advice would you give to those who are calling the pandemic a hoax? Do you have any further advice, generally speaking?
A. Well, I would say to those in denial that although it commonly affects the elderly, I’ve cared for hospitalised students with the virus – it can affect us all. My advice, generally speaking, would be to maintain the social distancing guidelines and wear some sort of face covering when you can, something will always be better than nothing.
Medical Secretary for a Gynaecology department
Q. When you were re-deployed to the Nightingale hospital to the family liaison, how did you find adjusting to the change?
A. I loved it, all the staff who were redeployed to the Nightingale were lovely, especially the clinical staff. Having said that, I’ve always enjoyed helping people at their most vulnerable, whether it be physically or mentally.
Q. Given the recent data about NHS workers suffering with PTSD, has working during the pandemic affected your mental health?
A. Working through the pandemic has SAVED my mental health from taking a negative turn. I couldn’t imagine sitting at home on furlough – I’d be climbing up the walls, and I am so lucky that I’m one of the few people who hasn’t lost their job.
Q. You are currently studying for a counselling qualification alongside your day job. What expert advice would you give to those who are struggling to cope with lockdowns?
A. Well, I am personally fearful that it will be a while until I can next see my family. What I have done, and recommend you do, is; make a routine and stick to it keep active, maintain regular contact with your loved ones and finally, try and reduce how much news you watch/ listen to.
Hopefully, after reading this, you will have gained a glimpse of life inside a working NHS setting. We also hope that you have taken away some great advice from them too.