Nick is a paramedic and Teaching Fellow at Oxford Brookes University
I have worked in healthcare since I joined the ambulance service in February 2013 and had several roles until becoming a Paramedic in January 2017. Since then I've worked clinically within the ambulance service, hospitals, event and film medicine as well as working with an ambulance service research team. For the last year, I’ve been part of the teaching team on the Paramedic Science program at Oxford Brookes University.
Work at the moment is unusual, face to face teaching has been suspended and due to COVID-19 so have practical placements. I am now adjusting to a new way of working and have missed my colleagues. A number of our students are supporting the NHS during the pandemic alongside their studies and we're working hard to continue to support them while maintaining some continuity of their education throughout the pandemic and beyond.
A lot of my work at the university is practically focused which has temporarily been suspended but this has given me some availability to work clinically and I have since been working in several locations. I was transferring COVID-19 patients between hospital wards in early March; this was a real eye-opener for me because I've not previously been involved in a pandemic or had to treat patients using this level of PPE. This caused a lot of anxiety and some fear the first time I had to 'suit up'.
Since then I've seen the incredible strain the healthcare service has been under due to COVID-19 and the enormous challenges that we've all had to overcome such as guidelines being updated as new evidence emerges and the ongoing debates about personal protective equipment.
I'm very used to the ambulance service being busy with back to back shifts but we've noticed it's been unusually quiet the last couple of weeks and I've only been seeing one or two patients per shift. While this drop in pressure is welcome, I want to encourage people who need our help to call for help, the last thing we want is people who are unwell not to phone and suffer as a result.
It's been a really difficult time for me personally and professionally, fortunately, I have a great group of people supporting me which has helped to keep me going. My advice for any healthcare professional now is don't be afraid to talk to someone. There are also plenty of helpful wellbeing rescources available from the NHS and a number of charities as well as the HCPC and the College of Paramedics.
- In your words