On the Frontline with Ria, Registered Nurse

In this series, we speak with friends and family on the frontline to hear about their experiences of the pandemic; the impact it’s had, the challenges they’ve faced and their hopes for the future.

Having recently just become a new mum myself, the challenges and demands of having a small child that depends on you is tough, let alone having to come home after a 12 hour shift in ITU caring for patients who are critically ill. I can’t imagine having to muster up the energy and keeping a smile on your face when you are so physically and emotionally drained.

This was the experience of my cousin Ria and as a nurse who normally works in day surgery, is now having to deal with the significant backlog in surgeries as the NHS tries to deal with the widespread impact.

What is your role? 

I am a Sister (Registered Nurse) in day surgery theatres.

What has your experience of COVID been?

As Covid-19 cases escalated in our hospital we had to stop all elective surgery and close our operating theatres. Only leaving 3 emergency theatres open.

This impacted on my day-to-day work, as I was redeployed to ITU to support their team struggling with the number of patients who were critically ill.

Unfortunately, most day case surgeries were put on hold, however our cancer patients were able to be operated on in our local private hospital.

How has COVID affected you (physically but also emotionally)?

This pandemic has been stressful and worrying for everyone. I felt supported in my job role and learnt lots of new skills, whilst caring for the sickest patients I’ve ever seen.

It was both emotionally and physically draining as our working days became longer and this also included night shifts.

What has been your biggest challenge during the pandemic? Why?

The biggest challenge was during the first initial phase of lockdown, work was very demanding and balancing that with home life was difficult. I think what made it harder was not seeing my immediate family and friends for support.

What are your hopes for the future?

That good hand hygiene and cleaning regimes remain! That the vaccine is effective and that we don’t reduce restrictions too quickly. And, that people remember how hard lockdown is and appreciate the little things in life.