With the outbreak of Covid-19 I returned to my local hospital as a ‘special’ nurse. Back to nursing! For anyone who reads my blog you will know that, after a lot of soul and purse searching, I decided to leave nursing in March 2018 – instead I would use my Safety qualification for my professional jobs.
That was until Covid-19 struck.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) desperate for nurses – opened it’s registration doors for anyone who retired in the past three years to come in and help and heigh ho – I could not resist the urge. Filling in numerous forms, making declarations and undergoing enough security checks for an SAS combatant. I arrived back into the nursing fold, with a comforting sigh of contentment, under the aegis of the ‘Temporary Covid Register‘ of returning nurses.
Track and Trace
My first foray back into nursing was with the Track and Trace system (now called Test and Trace) – having to learn tons of stuff about contact tracing, learning scripts and signing off on huge bundles of learning. I was a Tier 2 track and tracer (these are people who are qualified and have to contact those who had positive swab test results).
In the beginning take up was slow and many of those in the Tier Two had been furloughed from other work so competition was fierce to grab any shifts. As I wasn’t desperate for shifts – I did a few and let it simmer away in the background, keeping up to date with the learning ready to step in when things heated up (which I hoped didn’t).
What I really wanted though was to help out in a clinical sense, although the thought of working in ICU frightened me to death, especially when I realised really sick people with Covid were nursed in the prone position. How the hell does that work? I digress.
I’d also put my name down for any nursing jobs in my local area to be called on to use any of my skills and after a wait of 2 months I was contacted by the local hospital and, to cut a long story very short, started as an occupational health nurse again in the place where once I had been ‘in charge.’ A minion.
And I love it.
Occupational Health Nursing
My job for the past few months (working full time) is to work on a helpdesk. It’s a halfway house between HR and OH. I am usually the Clinician of the Day giving out Covid Swab results and advice about isolating etc, the go between for the two specialities. The idea was developed so there is quicker communications between the two specialities. A great idea and it works really well. We have managed to get over the issues of confidentiality and both sides have benefited from closer working – seeing us work and us seeing them work has really helped, especially in times of crisis or when we are all moved by an individual’s circumstance or stories from the wards.
Next week I am reverting to part-time hours. The past four months have been frantic. I know I am not dressing up in all the personal protective clothing or dealing with the really sick but there is a lot of anxiety out there and specialists who know what they are talking about are in high demand. Just now we are in the middle of the flu season vaccinations, recruitment of doctors and nurses plus the threat of a second lockdown – so I am still needed. I know that.
Yesterday, I received final confirmation that I have completed all the necessary paperwork, learning and practice hours to reenter the NMC register as a ‘proper’ nurse again. My specialist community public health status remains and I am looking forward to what the next three years brings.
Who knows I might even revalidate for the next three years after that!🧾
Are you allowed to nurse with a zimmer frame?