Stories from the frontline: Donna Corey

Donna tells us about her redeployment from dentistry onto Mary Ray and Cotton Wards

Donna Corey

"As the second wave of COVID-19 really began to take a toll on the wards, I volunteered to be redeployed and I have been working on Mary Ray, and now Cotton Ward, for the past three weeks.

"I was a bit apprehensive before my shift, nervous about what I might experience, and worried I might be asked to assist with something out of my comfort zone. Luckily, some of my colleagues were also redeployed and had shared messages on what to expect.

"For the first hour or so I felt a bit in the way, not really knowing what to do or how to help, but this quickly changed. Sister Gail and her nursing team are simply amazing providing support, direction and kindness. I could not have been welcomed into a more supportive team, and have learnt a lot about good communication and strong leadership.

"Working on Cotton Ward has been an emotional challenge at times. I find myself scanning the handover sheets for patient’s names each morning, hoping they have been discharged. To be honest, it can catch you in a way I was not expecting when a patient loses their fight.

"The most challenging aspect is escorting relatives onto the ward to sit with poorly loved ones, and it is impossible to not share their grief.

"But, all the staff on the wards look out for each other and I have been asked ‘how are you doing’ so many times on each shift. It is heart-lifting seeing a patient well enough to go for a walk down the corridor, or see them sitting in their chairs without the need for oxygen and giving me a thumbs up as I walk past.

"It has been a privilege to be accepted into this team and given the opportunity to apply my skills in a different setting from which I am used to.

"I now appreciate how every member of the team from the admin staff and porters to the nurse in charge contributes to the effective running of a ward in the face of uncertainty.

"Thank you Mary Ray and Cotton Wards for having me."