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GUEST BLOG: Charlie is a nurse on a ward reopened to respond to the overload of the pandemic. She has been moved to a more critical ward with patients needing ventilation. These are her shift notes.
Sorry I’ve not written for a few weeks. I have been unwell myself but also I am finding it all very hard to deal with this time round for some reason.
A couple of weeks ago I suddenly became really sad and cross all at once. I had no motivation to come to work and couldn’t get work out of my mind. I was dreading every shift and couldn’t sleep.
It's sort of fine when I am there and the staff are fab. We even have a laugh, even though the workload is still high. Anyway, back to it all now. I am working to sort my head out.
The good news is that my ward is now “clean” so Covid negative. All patient have been positive though. Most of them are stepdowns from intensive care so still quite ill but hopefully slowly getting better. But at least we don’t have to wear full PPE anymore – just scrubs and masks unless having direct patient contact, then it's aprons etc. People are still dying.
I know I've said it before but I really don't know how my permanent colleagues on the ward are able to function. It is so emotional and relentless. Most if not all are struggling mentally. It's now 12 months of very high pressure stuff. We chat and it really doesn't take much scraping at the surface to get their real feelings out.
Yesterday, I looked after a young woman yesterday who was admitted with Covid in December. She was in intensive care in an induced coma.
She was pregnant when she came in. The baby was delivered by C-section at end of December. Yesterday, she saw her baby for the first time. What a head screw!
More than half the patients on the ward now are high maintenance - meaning they have tracheostomies and all sorts of other tubes and drains. I think the hospital are trying to close intensive care beds as quickly as possible so they send them to us. Parts of the ward are like a mini intensive care unit and we had to have a couple of intensive care nurses on as not enough of our own staff were trained to look after them.
I started the shift looking after three bed-bound people and ended the shift looking after six. The other three were not bed-bound thankfully. I must say, it is so much better being out of PPE. Nicer for the patients too as they can more or less recognise us behind the masks.
I am being a bit of a moaner I know - sorry - the 'pay rise' has sent me over the top! What a bunch of complete expletives.
You can also read about Charlie's experience during the first wave in Spring 2020. All names have been changed.
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