As well as working fulltime as a practice nurse in a private general health clinic, I am a social butterfly. When the lockdowns set in, I have lots of questions. How will I keep my active life going outside of work? What about my lifestyle, my finances and my future? It feels like my world is falling like autumn leaves, becoming cold and freezing like a Melbourne winter.
Then I start to think, reflect and pray. I feel lucky that I haven’t been stood down and our clinic will remain open. But that won’t be enough for me. I am agitated. What else can I do after work if I can’t go any further than five kilometres from my home? I will have to apply for another job to keep me busy. Otherwise, my days will be very long and boring: wake up, eat, work, home, sleep.
I open my laptop and start searching for jobs. I want to help companies that are understaffed as well as earn some extra income. I apply for plenty of jobs but don’t get them. Then, out of the blue, I receive an email from a company wanting to hire me as a nurse and as a support worker in disability.
I give it a go. At first, I accept only one client for some after-hours work. I enjoy it, so I accept a couple more. I work hand in hand with the company’s case managers to plan the clients’ care and ensure we maintain their health through the COVID-19 pandemic. Training and meetings are held online. I receive email after email. PPE stocks are delivered to my home and to my clients.
I work with vigilance, taking great care not to get infected or infect others with this deadly virus. I extend my knowledge and skills and I grow—learning each day more about being a disability support worker.
At the start of the pandemic, I thought only about the impact on my life. But in my new role, I see that some of the people around me are permanently locked down in their homes because of their disability and do not get to enjoy as much of life as I do. I am reminded to be grateful for the life I have and to appreciate every little thing.