At North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust staff are fighting from all corners in the battle against Coronavirus.
Registered nurses and other healthcare practitioners who have had to step back from the front line due to underlying health conditions are still lending their expertise to support colleagues.
Operating the COVID-19 support line, they are taking calls from staff members to record COVID-19 related absence. If required, a Registered Nurse then follows up the call with an assessment to see if any further support is required. This can be making an appointment for the individual or their family member to be swabbed for the virus. Or they may need signposting to the relevant mental health support.
The team is made up of four Registered Nurses and two Health Care Assistants. They act as an invaluable link between the clinicians on the wards and the Workforce department. They are able to resolve issues that their clinical colleagues raise and then use their contacts to feedback directly.
Michelle Arrowsmith, Registered Nurse explains ‘we are certainly learning on the job – the current situation is unprecedented. We’ve never been here before but we are all united with one common goal. To support our colleagues on the front line.’
Arranging for staff members to be swabbed as soon as possible is crucial. The tests can only take place on days one to four of symptoms. That means people need to be reporting symptoms as soon as they start to experience them. It’s not just a high fever or persistent dry cough. It’s paying attention to lethargy and body aches as well as loss of smell and taste.
Health Care Assistant, Elaine Wilson added ‘when I first got the call from my Ward Matron explaining that I would have to go on to restricted duties. I was disappointed. I wanted to be a part of the fight and I wanted to support my colleagues in any way possible. Then the opportunity came up to help on the COVID-19 support line and I jumped at the chance.
Emilee Simbul, Registered Nurse claimed ‘the staff here are so supportive considering we’ve never worked in this department before. It really is a sense of everyone mucking in and doing their bit. No question is too much, and we’ve even had Easter eggs too!’
Deputy Chief People Officer, Gary Wright said ‘when we realised the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak. We knew we had to act quickly to put a support system in place for staff. There were a number of staff who had to step down operationally due to health reasons that put them at risk in clinical areas. We were able to reach out to some of those staff members. offering them this unique opportunity to support their colleagues. They were all very positive about stepping up. A fantastic initiative that is clearly benefiting all involved.’