Ever wondered what a day in the life of a nurse looks like? The long hours and always tending to those in need. We all can appreciate just how hard-working nurses are, but in light of this pandemic, it’s safe to say we truly have a newfound respect for the incredible work nurses do.
Being a therapeutic skincare brand developed with nurses, we immediately understood the effect relentless hand washing was having on nurses during the pandemic. For every Nursem product sold, we give a month’s worth of free hand cream to nurses and midwives – this is the Nursem Promise, which, since the outbreak of COVID-19, has never been more important.
Pan Macmillan have recently released a book written by an A&E advanced clinical practitioner, Louise Curtis. Titled A Nurse’s Story the story follows the life of a nurse in a busy A&E department during the COVID-19 crisis, shining a light on the compassion and dedication of hospital staff through such challenging times. Read an insight into a day in the life of a nurse during COVID-19, as told by Louise Curtis:
It’s 07:30 and I’m in handover hearing about how the night shift has gone, what the wait to be seen is and how many isolation units we have open in A&E. All three are open. It’s the peak of the pandemic. The consultant in charge is reading through the list of staff on shift allocating each person to an area of A&E: resus, majors or minors. He gets to my name and for the 5th shift in a row, I’m down to work in the Covid isolation unit.
I hurry to the unit knowing full well how long it will take me to get all my PPE on and how desperate the night shift will be to get home to their beds.
My first patient doesn’t seem to be a typical Covid patient. He’s fallen over in the garden and has broken his left hip. Despite being well and denying he has any of the typical coronavirus symptoms, he spiked a temperature of 38.8˚C with the ambulance crew and was requiring eight litres of oxygen. That’s worrying. He seems a little confused when I speak with him but has no evidence of a head injury. I call his wife at home who tells me he has not been himself for the last three days. While on the phone, his chest xray pops up on my computer and it’s obvious he is another victim of the virus. His blood results are all pointing towards Covid too. I tell her about the need to self-isolate and check she’ll be ok. While I have to care for the patient in front of me, I have a duty to make sure his elderly wife will be safe at home.
There’s no time to stop. As soon as one patient leaves, the next has filled their spot. A doctor from intensive care has rushed down to whisk a patient away who is in respiratory failure and severely unwell. She’s 30 years old. I don’t know if she’ll make it.
Before I know it, the 2pm shift has arrived and I’ve been sweating in PPE for over six hours. I feel light-headed and in desperate need of a drink. I go for a break, just long enough to eat and gulp down my bottle of water, before I’m called back in. I’m asked to see a young girl who feels short of breath. I suspect she has a blood clot on her lung. She’s too unwell to go home but is terrified of coming into hospital. She doesn’t want to catch the virus and has a husband at home who is shielding. She’s crying. I do my best to comfort her. Showing empathy is almost impossible when my face is half covered by a mask and face shield.
I look at the clock on the wall and realise I’ve worked 45 minutes longer than my shift and am exhausted. I need to get home and rest before coming back and doing it all over again tomorrow.
All patients mentioned are an amalgamation of typical A&E presentations during the coronavirus crisis
Despite the hardships and challenges nurses have faced over the past few months, their compassion and determination never fails to shine through. We always have, and always will support our amazing NHS heroes through the Nursem Promise, and we will be forever grateful for their efforts in caring for us before, during and beyond the pandemic.