Stories from the frontline: Katelyn Hewson

Katelyn is a ward manager who swapped wards to care for patients with COVID-19

Katelyn Hewson

“I have been a ward manager for a little over a year now for an elective surgical ward for general surgery. I am currently responsible for a different ward with my team caring for patients with COVID-19.”

Katelyn shares some differences she found between the second and the first wave. ”I definitely feel like there is more support for my team with regards to education and also physical support on the ward. We had a number of lovely nurses and admins join us last time in the first wave, and this time we have had a lot more people from across the Trust join our team on a semi-permanent basis. There has also been greater support and presence on the ward by all the multi-disciplinary teams.

“Reflecting on the previous year, I think the learning experiences over the last year are enumerable. The team and I have been through so much. However, if I had to stick to a few they would be: use your voice, try not to complain, and find a compromise or a solution to a problem. There have been so many issues that have been solved over the last year simply by asking everyone I met about what they thought the solution was. Eventually, someone has the answer you are looking for."

Katelyn shares a special memory from the pandemic that will stay with her, “There was a patient that was with us for a long time. When they came to us initially, they were unwell, had a tracheostomy to help them with their breathing, were confused and combative, but so weak that they couldn’t do much of anything. The memory that sticks out to me is the picture in my mind of them then, compared to the day we sent them home.

“The transformation of that patient is something that I don’t think I will forget. I have so many memories like that about the patients that we thought we might not have been able to do enough for, the ones that we thought may not make it, that their lives would be affected for the rest of their lives by this virus, eventually walking out the door."

Katelyn tells us what she’s most proud of, “My team are hands down the thing that I am proudest of, both personally and for King’s as a whole. This includes every member that has joined us during both waves. They have all been courageous, capable, and amazing people.

“Some of them might not quite see what we have achieved during both waves, and this includes the pressures they have taken from other areas, the way they have upskilled, and also the way they have supported each other throughout. In my opinion, it has been nothing short of astounding, and every day I am proud to call them my team.

"Superheroes doesn’t even begin to cover it.”