An experience from the frontline at King’s College Hospital

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Staff at King’s College Hospital have been kind enough to share their experience.

The impact of COVID-19 is far-reaching and despite its continuous challenges, team King’s is adapting and responding incredibly. They have been sharing a range of staff stories from across King’s and highlighting how various individuals, teams and services are managing this complex and evolving situation. We have shared one of these here. This is an interview with Sarah Dheansa, Modern Matron on Guthrie Wing

Sarah Dheansa. Acting Head of Nursing for Neurosciences
Sarah Dheansa. Acting Head of Nursing for Neurosciences

Hi Sarah, can you tell us a bit about your role?

I am the Acting Head of Nursing for Neurosciences which covers neurosurgery, neurology and also neuro rehabilitation which is based in Orpington. That role has changed recently as I have been asked to help support our COVID response.

What have been some of the recent changes that have occurred on Guthrie?

Our COVID response resulted in me being asked to assist Sarah Hull, Matron for Guthrie, in setting up the first COVID positive designated general ward area on Guthrie. As the current situation has progressed I have been involved in rolling out our COVID response for all of Neurosciences, supporting all MDT members through this challenging time.

How have the team adapted during these challenging circumstances?

The fast changing situation meant that we needed to set up a process and protocols for managing potential COVID patients rapidly. Although staff were apprehensive and concerned about the difficulties of managing patients in full PPE they also understood the impact on patients who were very often scared and sometimes unwell. It was clearly a new experience for all of us and the first few shifts made all of us realise how isolating and tiring it can be to nurse someone in full PPE while trying to be as safe as possible. However, we were allocated some amazing team players who, despite never having worked together, put in the hours, the effort and hard work to make it work. Their sense of camaraderie and focus on doing the right thing for their patients and their colleagues made the first few (very long) days a symbol of what is good about Kings and the NHS in general. Our new Guthrie COVID family made the work flow manageable and effective while always giving each other a smile or a laugh to support each other. This aspect of team working; always being there for each other made what was a challenging time more positive than I could have imagined.

Are you able to share how the team are staying hopeful and positive?

The team have used humour, banter, kindness and a desire to make sure everyone is safe to get through this challenging time. What’s important to understand is that our team is clinical and non-clinical with everyone understanding that they need each to be effective. They all recognise that they are valued and important and ensure they share that with each other.

What’s the one message you would say to the wider organisation during this period?

As with any difficult situation, preparation and learning from others is key to success. Charles Polkey Ward had the advantage of utilising all we had learnt from the Guthrie set up meaning it is able to maintain its high standards of care. It is so important to work as a team, looking after each other, and recognising when a colleague is struggling.

The current situation is very stressful for us all and it is important to reduce the hysteria around COVID by focussing on good process/protocols which all staff follow. The situation seems to change every day so we all need to be flexible because what we do today may be different from what we do the next day. The most important thing though is that whatever we do, we do it well for our patients.

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