Nursing through a Pandemic
Registered Nurse, Sam Dale has worked at Alice House throughout the entire Covid-19 pandemic. This is her story...
“The pandemic massively affected work at the Hospice. We had to work in a situation no-one knew anything about and both the staff and patients were scared.
It was hard; normally during a difficult time we can comfort each other and our patients with cuddles and a smile, this was no longer possible because of the virus and the PPE we now had to wear.
Being a Key Worker was hard, but it gave me something to focus on and meant I had huge support around me daily, rather than being at home on my own worrying. But home life was difficult, my daughter had to go and live with her grandma for 3 months so I could keep her and my family safe while I worked.
It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do; my colleagues and patients became my family and we all supported each other through the first lockdown.
Not only could I not see my daughter, patients couldn’t see their families and this was just as difficult. We did everything we could to make it easier on everyone, we regularly passed on messages and gifts and would comfort them as much as we could, reassuring everyone that their loved ones were safe.
We would hold iPads so they could FaceTime; both patients and families struggled but they were very understanding and appreciative that their loved one was in a safe place.
Alice House received amazing support from our local community and we were so grateful; it kept us going in so many ways. It was lovely to know people were thinking about us and wanted to help and it kept our spirits up. It made us feel like we were all a team and along with the whole community, were in it together. All the food gifts kept us fed and watered while we worked our long shifts and struggled to get shopping. Although it is their fault our uniforms are too tight!
The pandemic is still affecting us in the Hospice, I struggle the most with the lack of affection. We are a small unit and pride ourselves on the care we give and it feels really out of character not to give our patients and families a cuddle or a smile. Wearing PPE feels so impersonal, like we have a barrier between us.
The situation has taught us all important lessons, I have learnt that I work within an amazing team who go above and beyond for each other and our patients.