“I had just started working in Critical Care was the pandemic began, so it was a huge learning curve for me. I had experience from working in A&E, but this is a whole new specialty, and it was like going back to school again. I hadn’t built those relationships with my colleagues at that point, but after what we have been through, we are so strong as a team.
“I have learnt so much from this experience. There have been times when it has been terrifying. Our patients were so poorly and in those early months we didn’t know what we were fighting but doing everything in our power to keep them alive. It was relentless. We lost so many and even lost friends. I have lost two people I know from Covid and when that happened it was hard to cope with.
“One of the many proud moments for me were when our patients started to get better and when we can discharge them. Some of the patients had been on ventilators for over 30 days and I remember lining up along the corridor, in full PPE, and cheering and clapping as one of our patients was wheeled out of the ward, because they were recovering and could go to another ward. It was such a momentous event. We got one. That was what we all needed to keep going.
“Many of the patients on Critical Care cannot speak, so you don’t really know anything about your patient. You rely heavily on relatives telling you about them, so that you know who they are, so I am so glad we now have families back in to visit our patients. It gives the patients that boost and puts their mind at rest that they know the bills have been paid and the dog has been taken for a walk.
“I am fortunate that I have amazing family, friends and partner who are there for me, but if I can take anything from this it is that you need to give time for yourself. As healthcare workers we spend much of our time looking after others, we often forget to drink enough or eat enough or just check we are ok.”