Submitted by Sam
Medical Education Manager, PGME
During the first wave it was a shock to the system, lots of ‘quick to react’ working as none of us had any idea of the impact Covid was going to have across the organisation.
The teamwork was phenomenal: from those on the front line on wards, A&E and ITU to those of us ‘behind the scenes’.
During the second wave, we had insight to know that this would be worse. But we were prepared – as prepared as we could be. We had better systems in place and again I worked with other teams such as the executives and the rota teams to ensure that cover was where it was needed.
We knew the impact the first surge had on our trainees, so we tried hard to protect their health and well-being as well as their education. We learned lessons from the first surge, and it worked well. It gave me a much wider view of the organisation and how the hospital worked. Working with the executive and rota teams is something that I am truly grateful for. We were a great team.
I am so proud of the organisation I work for, and for the way we worked to pull together any resources. Consultants stepped out of their comfort zones to help and support areas they were not specialised in, some stepping down into senior house officer roles. Trainees worked as HCAs to support gaps on the wards. There was a general sense of people pulling together. No hierarchy, just the sense of wanting to help in any way we could.
However, for me, personally, i felt so helpless seeing how many unwell patients were being admitted on a daily basis, along with how staff were also affected. I felt particularly helpless when seeing calls come out via our WhatsApp group for urgent cover needed in ITU and the wards, just any cover.
I remember on a Saturday morning after receiving one of these messages feeling so tearful at the visualisation of what my colleagues must have been going through and not being able to support them. This was a truly low moment in the reality of this cruel and unforgiving virus for me. I know on reflection that as a non-clinical person that I was doing ‘my bit’ for the cause, but the sheer overwhelming sense of helplessness is something that I will never forget.
On reflection, none of us were ‘just’ a cleaner, porter, administrator, managers, nurse, doctor etc.. We were a team of people supporting in any way that we could, just ‘doing our bit’.
Sums the situation up perfectly, particularly for us ‘non-clinical’ staff! A truly challenging two years, an experience never to be forgotten.