I am normally a scrub scout nurse in the operating theatre and I’m very accustomed to wearing full PPE on my shifts, so early on, when the call came for nurses to work on our converted COVID ward, I immediately put my hand up.
It was very hard to sit and watch COVID take over the world, and I truly felt honoured and privileged to be able to use my skills and experience to help sick COVID patients. But I didn’t know what to expect, what I would see or how I could even prepare myself.
The ward, when I arrived, was divided into suspected-COVID and COVID-positive sections. I donned my full PPE with my colleagues and reported to the COVID-positive section where I had been assigned. Most of the patients were from nursing homes and very sick. I cannot imagine how they would have felt and what they thought was going on when we entered the room covered from head to toe in PPE!
Over the next few months, we donned and doffed countless times and nursed in a completely different way to what we had known. This became our new ‘normal’. We saw things that weren’t very pretty, however the one thing I took from this experience was the incredible support from an amazing group of people who all put their hands up to help when the call came.
This was before vaccination—we were putting our own lives on the line. The fear of the unknown and not knowing if we would get COVID ourselves was there every single day. But the support was like no other. I am very grateful to have had this experience even though I’m sure it was awful for all the patients. I hope I made it a little bit better for them.