"I normally work as part of the Continence Clinical Specialist Nurses team at the PRUH, providing assessment and management of patients with complex continence needs such as spinal injury cases. More recently, I have been redeployed to intensive care at the PRUH. My new role involves looking after patients with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit (ICU).
"I worked in a medical-surgical unit in the Philippines and have a background in critical care nursing. Nevertheless, working again in ICU was quite daunting for me. I knew I was going to be on the frontline of this pandemic, but it had been several years since I last worked in ICU. I was initially anxious, wondering if I still knew how to look after patients in critical care. However, my anxieties disappeared on my first day, as everyone I worked with were so extremely helpful and supportive, always ready to lend a helping hand. I do not even have to ask sometimes as there is often someone checking if I require any assistance. I am profoundly grateful and feel privileged to be able to work alongside remarkable people, from the junior doctors and consultants, to technicians, anaesthetists, supplies runners, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists, matrons, all the other nurses who have been redeployed to ICU like myself, and most of all the ICU staff at the PRUH who are so dedicated and passionate in what they do.
"I was quite surprised as to how much core knowledge and skills I had retained as a critical care nurse. Having said this, it has not been an easy journey. It was tough seeing so many critically ill patients, especially in a state of deterioration, or worse when they are dying. I tried not to be emotional during this time, although there were moments where I could not help feel that way. It was especially hard to see someone saying goodbye to a dying relative over a video call, because they could not come to the hospital, or learning that the patient that I was looking after had a spouse who just died the day before. They were some of the most difficult moments.
"Albert Einstein once said, "In the midst of every crisis lies a great opportunity". Working in Covid-19 ICU at the PRUH has certainly been an insightful journey for me. Yes, there are tough times, but it has been an extraordinary experience too. For not only I am able to help care for these patients, but I also had the great opportunity meeting the wonderfully diverse and amazing staff at PRUH, King’s and Orpington Hospital.
"I have been social distancing with my partner since I started working in ICU. We stay in the same house, but we have separate rooms. My partner has been unable to have his son stay with us over for several weeks because of the risks around my job, even before the lockdown started."