Submitted by Sharon
Deputy Director of Infection Prevention
December 2019 – we heard rumblings of a faraway disease………we’re fine, it’s thousands of miles away!
January 2020 – the rumblings became little storms that we now had to prepare for. I’ve never sprinted from meeting to meeting before, with very little time to eat/digest food! I sat in board rooms with people I didn’t know well but within a matter of days it’s like we were never distant colleagues. Everyone had a voice and was respected for their knowledge and problem solving approaches. The number of times red/green pathways were discussed was phenomenal and soon it was realised ‘this’ was a moving feast.
February 2020 – Western Hospitals Sussex like to be first at most things but just once…….just once why did we have to be first?! A COVID-19 positive case at Worthing, and all prior to any real published guidance. Instinct took over, safe working practices kicked in (maybe a little over the top) and we all stayed late to take COVID tests from staff contacts. I’d never taken a COVID test before, this was new to all. Staff turned to the infection prevention team as the experts; however, within days everyone became infection control specialists and this I found interesting (I still do).
March 2020 – March 2021 – was the biggest challenge of my career. As a leader I was focused and strong, when at home I would be supported by my husband and children. I’ve cried, I’ve celebrated, I’ve lost weight, I’ve gained weight. I’ve been pulled in every direction possible and nothing, not even an MSc in Infection control and years of experience in the specialist field, could prepare one for a pandemic and the curve balls it delivers on its path. The emotion, the distress, the workload we all carried was unmeasurable. However I look back at this last 15months with celebration for my colleagues, consolidation and unity of working with staff and a burning passion for how important infection prevention is to all.
You’ve hit the nail on the head Sharon. You and your team have been utterly incredible in the way you have navigated this minefield, never complaining, always taking on more work.