"My experience of working in the Critical Care Unit during the pandemic is one which I won’t easily forget. King’s has seen some of the highest levels of COVID-19 patients in the country, and when the hospital asked for help during the first wave in 2020, I volunteered."

Rachael Healy has been redeployed from the Orthodontic Department to CCU

"The learning curve was steep as COVID-19 was so new, but there was a real team atmosphere in the CCU and I learnt so much from my colleagues around me.


"On my first shift on the CCU, I was asked to help wash and roll a patient. I was anxious but I was determined to help. I also remember a patient with several health problems who had unfortunately caught COVID-19. It was so painful to see her look so unwell. 


"One morning, when I went to the patient, she wasn’t there. I hoped that she might have gone to another ward, but sadly a nurse later told me she had passed away in the night. This was one of the most difficult moments for me. Even though the patients are sedated and intubated, you build up a relationship with them, and losing any patient really hurts.


"It was equally as emotional to see patients recover and to see how any form of contact from their loved ones helped them heal. I witnessed video calls between patients and their loved ones; it was heart-warming to see the positive effects it had on the patients.


"I was also lucky enough to help escort a patient outside so he could see his mum and wife. His reaction was priceless; the look on his face when he saw his family made me want to cry, and I enjoyed watching him as the air brushed his face, I could tell he hadn’t experienced that in such a long time. It was those little things that seem so important for his health and recovery.


"Even though the pandemic was challenging for everyone, the CCU team still managed to make things positive. Despite all the challenges, whenever I felt that I was out of my comfort-zone I started to imagine if this was one of my family members, and how would I treat them, and then it just got easier.


"When the number of patients coming into the CCU started to go down after the first wave, I was told that I could go back to my role in the Orthodontic Department. I was looking forward to seeing all the team members I missed but was also disappointed to be leaving. Through redeployment, I learnt so much and I made some amazing friends for life."