February 19, 2021, by Guest Blogger

What is it like to work on the frontline? – Part 2

As lockdown continues and young people are blamed for ignoring the rules, University of Nottingham students share their stories of working on Covid-19 wards.

In the second of a two-part series 2nd year nursing students Jessie and Abbie talk through their emotional experiences and make an impassioned plea to encourage everyone to play their part, keep consciences clear and follow the rules.

Jessie Swain

Working through the second wave

Jessie Swain - A UoN Covid frontline workerDue to the pandemic our first year placement was cancelled so I started my first ever placement as the second wave hit Nottingham. My placement area was infectious diseases so there were a few Covid-19 cases on my ward.
A few weeks in I had to isolate due to a test and trace notification and by the time my isolation had ended many more staff had tested positive and the ward was eventually closed. I was redeployed to different wards which was challenging but it gave me an insight into a number of different specialities and a taste of what my future could be.

Seeing young people with Covid-19

The youngest person I worked with was a patient of a similar age to me who had overcome Covid-19 amongst other challenges, whilst in hospital.

There wasn’t a ward that I went on that didn’t have Covid-19 positive patients and that was challenging. The constant handwashing and wearing of full PPE was a physical and emotional battle. I was fortunate enough to not be directly involved with a patient that had passed away from Covid-19 however I know many of my peers have. It was still emotional knowing that somewhere, somebody else on the ward had passed from this horrible disease. There were times that I questioned and doubted myself but being supported by such an amazing team on placement really helped.

Please help us all get back to normal

Bending the rules and creating ‘bubbles’ when there’s no real justification saddens me. It saddens me that there are so many people that continue with normal when those of us working through the pandemic are worried about going home to bed at night wondering if and when we’re going to bring Covid-19 home to our families.

Please just stay at home, follow the rules, wear a mask and get your vaccine when it’s your turn. The sooner we do all these things the sooner life can begin to return to normal.

Abbie Quarton

Caring for the most vulnerable

Abbie Quarton - A UoN Covid frontline workerI have been caring for Covid-19 patients ranging from 30 to 96-years-old. It was incredibly scary, especially as early on there were issues with availability of PPE and mixed messages about what we should be using.

As Covid-19 continued to spread we became a breakout ward and this made me even more cautious. The majority of our patients were elderly and had existing health issues which made them very vulnerable. They were scared about what was going to happen to them and I had to focus on ensuring they were updated about their health and care and that they felt reassured and safe. It was extremely emotional for everyone involved. Patients were struggling to come to terms with not seeing their family and found it quite hard to hear what staff was saying due to the masks and visors.
A plea to play your part

When I see people breaking the rules or claiming Covid-19 is not real it upsets me. They do not realise the struggle and heartache that patients, families, and staff go through everyday fighting the battle with this virus. It is tough but the thing that keeps up spirits on the wards is the positive atmosphere that staff provide.

Seeing first-hand how fast Covid-19 spreads, and how dangerous it is, shows that people should listen and follow the rules. People are doing a brilliant job and just need to continue helping prevent the spread. Remember that you are not alone during this tough time and we all just need to keep persevering.

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