For Adam Hayward, Senior Clinical Consultant in Aviva’s UK Health and Protection business, stepping forward to support his local NHS Trust in Southampton was an easy decision. He shared the first part of his experience with us recently – here’s the next chapter of his story.
When the Government’s ‘call to action’ came, I knew I had to volunteer. It’s my professional and ethical duty to do so. It’s about doing the right thing. The NHS trained me, gave me experience and a whole host of qualifications – I couldn’t let those skills go to waste – even if it meant that I can help save just one extra life.
When I left you in my last update, I was about to return to my roots to support the Neurological Intensive Care Unit. This meant that I was in a ‘clean’ area of the hospital treating patients with neurological conditions.
Move forwards a few weeks and theatres and surgery are a distant memory. I’m now permanently working in ICU, treating patients with COVID-19.
Going from an area with familiar processes, to an area I’ve not worked in for over 20 years is challenging to say the least. An unfamiliar environment and technology moving on makes it a stressful time. The last thing I want to be is a burden rather than a help. The overwhelming friendliness of NHS employees and their support and confidence is truly humbling – if not a little scary.
At the beginning of each 12-hour shift, we’re allocated to the department with the greatest need that day. For me, this is either neuro, cardiac, general or paediatric. We’re also categorised depending on experience, skills and knowledge.
We all share a common purpose of wanting to do the very best we can for the sickest of patients while keeping ourselves safe. I am amazed at how the staff carry on as normal in their care despite the ever-changing environment and protocols as we learn new things about this virus and how to treat it.
One of the things that sees us through is humour. In my last update I shared the challenges of PPE. I’ve since discovered another – not being able to hear each other. This problem has been “solved” by having your name, status and time you entered the isolation area written on the front and back of your gown with a marker pen. This quickly turned to nick names and in some cases symbols which I defiantly cannot share!! I sarcastically said Cristiano Ronaldo at the beginning of one shift and subsequently had a large number 7 written on my back along with his name and got called it for the rest of the night. PPE might protect against viruses, but humour possibly protects against something equally invisible.
Stay safe everyone and stay home. Unlike Aviva, where we are always up for a new customer, the NHS would rather they never showed!
Adam Hayward is Senior Clinical Consultant in Aviva’s UK Health and Protection business.