Stories from the frontline: Rachel Gittins

Rachel Mae Gittins, a community dental nurse, shares her experience of being redeployed to care for patients with COVID-19

Rachel Gittins

"My redeployment in the second wave of COVID-19 stood out, an experience that will stay with me for some time.

"Being on Lister Ward helped my confidence in my role, by taking me out of my comfort zone. It was a real baptism of fire coming from a little dental clinic in the community to a big COVID-19 ward, which was super busy.

"Every single member of staff really made an effort to get to know me, and offered help and support anytime I needed it.

"From the first day I felt so included in the team. After every single shift, without fail, I was thanked for my help. I can honestly say I’ve never worked with a friendlier, caring, and helpful group of people. Despite the challenging nature of COVID-19 I am so thankful for this experience.

"This experience has taught me that with the right support and guidance, I can do anything I put my mind to. You should always try something before doubting yourself. Also, as clichéd as it sounds, teamwork really does make the dream work.

"I surprised myself that I thrived outside of my comfort zone. All the staff on Lister ward were so kind and supportive, not only towards their patients but also each other. And I met some incredible patients who had been through so much, who made my time working on the ward a joy.

"It has been such an amazing and memorable experience. I’m really sad to be leaving everyone, including the lovely patients! I’ll never forget working through the pandemic on a COVID-19 ward with my lovely new colleagues and friends. They really have made my experience what it was and I’ll be forever grateful for that."