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Chief Nurse's Blog

Chief Nurse's Blog

Date of release: 2 March 2021

Latest News: Ann-Marie Cannaby Blog

Over the last 12 months or so, many changes have been made within the Trust in response to COVID-19.  One of the key changes I would like to reflect on is the 800 staff who have been redeployed within the Trust since March – and in particular a redeployed member of staff who had a very positive experience.

This member of staff has preferred to withhold his name but is happy for me to share his story.  He initially worked at New Cross Hospital in bowel screening and was later redeployed to Ward C26 a COVID-19-positive ward, due to the need for more support there.  He has since left the Trust but was described by colleagues as ‘incredible’ as his can-do attitude left a lasting impression on those he worked with. Here is his account.

“The year 2020, as strange as it was, was also a year of great personal and professional growth. At the beginning of 2020 I had started a new job as a Specialist Nurse with the Bowel Cancer Screening Team. In March 2020, as the pandemic began to affect elective services, my team was asked to pause screening. The whole team was concerned, not only for our own safety and our families, but also for our patients. We also knew our colleagues in other departments needed our help too.

I had already decided I wanted to be on a ward, helping where I was needed most. Although happy to assist, I felt out of my comfort zone as I hadn’t worked on a ward for many years. When I found out I was being redeployed to Respiratory Medicine, I introduced myself to the team. I was greeted warmly which instantly made me feel better. On my first day there, I didn’t know what to expect, but I tried to make myself useful. I started observing various nursing tasks, such as drug rounds with the other nurses, and during my second week, I felt comfortable enough to manage a small group of patients.

It wasn’t long before the ward became an area dedicated to patients requiring non-invasive ventilation. Looking after such patients was something I hadn’t experienced before. With the support of the ward manager and the team, I completed my competencies for non-invasive ventilation, then for the care of chest drains and eventually for taking arterial blood gas samples.

I was so grateful for the team’s support in my development and by their immeasurable capacity to support each another. These attributes were so important during the move to C26. Even grabbing a piece of equipment was complicated – the surroundings were unfamiliar and the fact there was an aerosol generating procedure (AGP) area as well as a non-AGP area meant someone had to put on personal protective equipment just to fetch some items. The team’s ingenuity and ability to adapt stood out immensely.

My time with the Respiratory Medicine Team was overwhelmingly positive, despite some of the most challenging shifts of my career. There were many days when I cared for so many desperately sick patients, but I never felt alone. There was always someone ready to help. I am honoured to have been part of such a fantastic team, domestic staff, therapists, doctors and nursing staff alike.”

I hope you enjoyed this staff member’s account and can take something from it. Maybe it’s stirred memories for you or brought back feelings – positive or negative – of your time as a redeployed member of the workforce. 

For me, it is another positive example of how teamwork is at the heart of what we do at RWT and how we adapt to challenging situations within those teams.

Take care,

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham