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Working in a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic

Cole talks about how things have changed in the hospital and how COVID-19 is making everything harder


Written by Cole Scahill and posted in opinion


This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact editor@spunout.ie.


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I am a key worker. They tell me I'm important and I'm putting my life on the line every day. I am a medic in the Navy. I've spent the last year learning and training to become the best medic I can be. I was doing that before this pandemic, and I will continue to do so afterwards.

Working in a hospital

I've worked in a hospital, I've seen the worst you can imagine. From broken bones to last breathes. But I've never experienced what is happening now. I've never felt scared about walking down a corridor or needing to put a mask on before speaking to a patient. Never second guessed touching a BP machine or thermometer until now.

Every day I have to travel to work on a ferry. It takes five minutes and a long time ago I wouldn't have thought anything about it. Now though I notice the staff coming into close contact to scan tickets, they even started asking where we all work to decide if we're allowed on. I notice how everyone sits as far away from each other as they can, some more scared than others. I wonder where they work. Do they wonder where I work? How would they feel if they knew what I was doing.

Trying to support patients

I've donned the full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit. I’ve gone into rooms and scrubbed them down. Checked patients’ temperatures through the door. I've had to make sure not to touch anything that's been possibly contaminated and tried to answer questions patients have asked.

When I treat my regular patients, the ones that aren't even sick I still have to wear full PPE. I have to assure them it's just a precaution. I double, triple wash my hands more often now the skin has started to peel off me. I panic every time I cough or sneeze now. Before COVID-19 I just accepted I was probably getting a cold from a patient.

Focusing on the positives

Each day is different, some are harder than others. Sometimes I'm scared, other times I'm angry. It's frustrating especially living in the UK. Before all this I was meant to go home for Easter leave and see my family. Now I have to hope and pray every day that they'll be okay. I find not reading the news has helped me stayed positive. I have to think about getting to fly home and see my family. Getting to celebrate my medic graduation properly, not just a phone call to tell me I would get my certificates in the post. Seeing my girlfriend and going to museums and concerts with her again.

Playing our part

Every single person will deal with this pandemic differently. Some of us alone, others with a full household. We might be worrying about other people or hoping we can escape from the people we are stuck with. But we are all in this together and can all play our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). All we can do in this fight is to stay home (if you can) and stay safe.

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Published April 14th2020
Last updated Octo­ber 22nd2020
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