Practice Development Nurse, Kay, has worked at King’s for 19 years. Amid the pandemic she has been redeployed as a Ward Manager on Davidson Ward, a haematology ward specialising in treating patients with blood disorders, including cancer. Kay told us a little bit about the impact of COVID-19 on working life, and the difference community support has made to staff.
How as COVID-19 changed your work?
At the beginning it was very, very scary. People were very worried, but as the days and weeks went on people calmed down a lot.
We always have the correct PPE, so that’s not a problem. Every day I was checking on my team [redeployed throughout the hospital]. We also have the psychotherapist team coming three times a week to speak to staff about any concerns or worries.
What are your hours/shifts like?
I usually work 9-5pm, Monday to Friday, however with COVID-19 I have been working weekends too - sometimes six or seven days in the row. But we just pull through. We stick together and every little helps.
What stage are you at in the COVID-19 journey?
Usually we take patients from A&E or outpatients, so we are the first ward they are admitted to. In haematology, we have never had more than 10 patients at once. Today we only have four.
Do many of your patients have to go to Critical Care?
We have had a few, but not that many. I know Critical Care is where there have been lots of staff changes. Our senior team have offered to go and work there over the weekends.
What support or donations have you and your team received over the past few months?
The NHS Wellness Boxes with shampoo and other bits were very good. The hand cream was the most useful thing, because with the constant washing your hands need it!
We have had care packages for patients also, which has helped us give them the things they need.
It’s been amazing how people have opened their hearts, and their hands.
Since the ward opened, meals have been delivered, which has been helpful as staff don’t have to worry about what they’re going to eat when they can’t go outside or to the shop to get food. The fact they have food brought to them makes them very happy.
Staff have also had water, sandwiches, and lots of snacks from the hub.
Do you go to the wellbeing hub?
Yes, yes we do go to the hub. It’s been amazing the way people are caring and giving to the NHS, and that they can appreciate the work we are doing.
I usually visit there in the morning. I have been given fresh vegetables, which has been really good as I can make soup. The bags of fruit are great too, as we will peel everything and make fruit salad for the staff on the ward.
It’s good the hub is there 24/7 as in the morning when I come in, I see the night staff who are just finishing have got food to take home with them, so they don’t have to go to the shops. So it has really helped people. It is those little things that make a difference.
11 June 2020