Sue Love, Junior Sister in Day Surgery, talks about her work with COVID-19 patients on Twineham Ward.
Can you explain your role and what it usually involves and where you were based?
I am Junior Sister in the Day Surgery Unit at PRH. My day involves caring for patients who have surgery in the unit, most of who are well enough to go home on the same day. I have varying roles including, admissions, post op ward care and discharges. I scrub in for hand trauma, cataract surgery and dermatology. I am also theatre lead for the unit so am responsible for equipment and the theatre team.
How has your role had to change and adapt? Where have you redeployed to?
My role has changed completely. Fairly early on in the response to COVID-19 the Day Surgery Unit began to reduce its lists and then the service was suspended. Some of us were redeployed to Twineham ward at PRH that cares for COVID-19 positive patients. The patients are mainly elderly and very unwell. Some of them have dementia and all of them require levels of personal care far beyond that usually seen in Day Surgery. My day to day work is now very much more an elderly care ward role, as you would expect.
What has been challenging?
The managing of tasks wearing PPE is tiring, and you have to be constantly vigilant about donning and doffing correctly to avoid infection risks to yourself and others. When working in a bay any task that would usually require you to leave, such as getting a piece of equipment or emptying a bed pan, has to be handled by a colleague. Drug charts have to be read out at the entrance to the bay and the nurse working in the bay then administers the drugs. Everything has to be done very differently and can seem twice as hard. Team work in these circumstances is of the utmost importance.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I think Twineham ward has risen well to the COVID-19 challenge. To help with the more labour intensive ways of working their regular team has been supplemented with a variety of staff with different skills. I think the Trust should be very proud of how well the ward has been working under these challenging circumstances! I’m sure the same is true for all our COVID-19 wards.
I am really proud of my two colleagues who joined me on Twineham ward from their regular roles as Day Surgery HCAs. They have really stepped up to the challenge and we have kept each other going with laughs and very expressive eyes behind the masks. The shifts are challenging, the work in PPE is tiring and we all experience a real mix of emotions at times. But through it all the whole of the expanded Twineham team have been supporting each other and has made sure that patients get the care they need.