Dental Nurse, Natasha Lewis, reflects on her first day being redepoloyed to a COVID-19 ward at King's College Hospital, and experience so far.
“It was my first day and I was feeling anxious and could not sleep much the night before. When I arrived on the ward, I met an individual who was in-charge of the redeployment team. He showed me around and told me what was needed and how the department worked. He was a very helpful guy, with a great sense of humour.
"There were 11 bays on the ward with up to four patients in each bay. There was one nurse to two patients, and all the patients were ventilated. I witnessed nurses in the bays working for 11 hours at a time without stopping, giving patients drugs, the machines buzzing, the nurses seeing to one patient and then to the next and then back again to the first patient. The nurses work incredibly hard and I felt amazed by the work that they do.
"Whilst carrying out a task, I saw one patient out of the corner of my eye. It was hard to make out what she was trying to ask. She was off a ventilator and now had a tracheostomy. I worked out that she wanted her hospital boots off. I removed them for her with the nurse’s permission.
"It was difficult with all the tubing and lack of speech, but I found out that she had a 14-year-old son. I noticed that she had a tear in her eye and she said that she was scared."
"I told her that she was safe and she was getting better and the nurses were looking after her. I said to be strong so that she can be back with her son. I asked her if she wanted some cream on her feet and she nodded so I creamed her feet and hands. I was asked to go into another ward for the rest of the night shift so I had to leave the patient, but I rubbed her head and said goodbye to the patient and she blew me a kiss.
"I learnt two days ago that she had left the hospital and was home. Yessss!
"It has been good to meet the army who have been redeployed to help. Every shift I meet lots of different people and everyone works so hard and helps each other. Whilst it’s such a serious and worrying time, it had been great to meet all of these amazing individuals and I have enjoyed every minute.
"I will take many good memories from the experience and understand how serious and tough life can be. It makes me want to take care of myself much more and to keep loving my family and friends. I now know how difficult a 12-hour shift feels, and how amazing nurses work. I have learnt so many new skills and how great it feels working in a team.”
24 February 2021 [Source: King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust]