If I can survive being a surgical matron in a pandemic, I can do anything…

Submitted by Ruth
Surgical Matron, Southlands

As the Matron at Southlands, I was responsible for both the day surgery team and the Ophthalmic team; both teams had very different experiences of the pandemic.

One day in mid-March 2020, I had a phone call to ask me to send equipment from Southlands to main theatres at Worthing, as we got ready for the first wave. I remember loading up the van and looking at all the equipment wondering when we would see it again at Southlands. Little did we know that it would be a full year before services resumed for us.

The day surgery nursing team were sent to theatres and ITU at Worthing to support the teams there. Over the next few months the team amazed me with their resilience and team spirit.

I was so proud of each and every one of them because not only had they moved hospitals they had gone from being day surgery nurses to critical care nurses!! We had many tears and at some time each and every one of them has needed support either from myself or each other.

The other half of my role as Ophthalmic Matron was very different as this service continued to run all be it at a reduced capacity.

We introduced social distancing to all our clinic areas and increased cleaning of all areas. Ophthalmology is a huge speciality with vast numbers of patients visiting every week, so it was important that they felt safe as missed appointments could result in the loss of their eyesight.

Both these areas have worked so hard throughout the pandemic to care for the patients to the highest standard in an ever-changing world, always putting the patient first.

During this time, I was seconded into this role on an eight-month contract, so it was all very new to me. By the end of 2020, I applied and was successful for the permanent position.

I feel if I can survive being a surgical matron in a pandemic, I can do anything!!

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