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Reflections of impact of Covid-19 on nurses; 2nd wave

We are weary

We know more about ‘the virus’, how it spreads, what it can do to the body and how to treat it,

that knowledge gives us hope, but we are exhausted.

We have seen and continue to see death, debilitation and despair. Its been a year now, wrapped up in PPE, unable to be heard through masks and visors.

We wait for better days, but we are weary.

Covid in a hospital has become the norm but how can this be normal?

No visitors, very sick patients, no staff, not allowed to leave the ward, food brought to you – that is not a novelty anymore.

We care for our patients with the same compassion, attention, professionalism and care, but we are tired.

We have seen what we shouldn’t have to see, heard what no-one wants to hear but we are still here,

we keep going, the vaccine is happening, but the change is slow, we know things will get better but for now, there is no let up, no release, no pause – it is constant.

I wonder of the patients I’ve nursed, are they still alive, did they pull through?

I didn’t have to think like that once but Covid is not like any other disease, changes are quick and deterioration even quicker. I know of many nurses that have had Covid – me included, even mild symptoms are not really that, it drags on, draining you, a 12 hour shift is even more relentless than usual.

In our PPE we can only see each other’s eyes and expression is done through them, we have become experts at communicating with eyes wide, narrowed, lowered, frowned, smiling.

There is still a connection, a comradery but the connection is Covid-19, what we have been and are going through and that binds us, no words are needed, we know….

It feels patients are sicker, the virus spreads quicker and lockdowns are longer,

We know, we feel, we hope, we care and we long for better days as we are battered, but still we stand. 

What helps, what can help us?

Kindness, sound too simple? From the top to the bottom and the bottom up, kindness to each other and to the self is more important than ever before. We are all together in this; whether Bank, Agency or substantive, HCA, nurse or NA – kindness is infective and effective. With resilience low and pressures greater, kindness and self care become eroded and need  to be magnified.

Validation; ‘Clap for Carers’ was wave 1, was important and had its day, we need to still feel we matter, that we do make a difference by whoever/whenever.

Clinical supervision, shift de-briefs, well-being checks and resources, positive staff connections need to be frequent and their importance heightened. Nurses are the most important resource in the NHS and we need to feel that, especially now,

as we are weary……

Denisse Levermore

Bank Registered General Nurse

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