Supporting the NHS โ€“ Redeployment Stories

Our staffโ€™s dedication continues even during the pandemic. We are proud to support the NHS especially during the time we are most needed. We are sharing stories of experiences and the lesson learned during this challenging time.

My name is Lourdes Ma Riva. I am a Haematology/Oncology ward Manager at Royal Free London Private Patients Unit.

Iโ€™ve been working for the Royal Free for almost eight years. The pandemic reinforced the importance of support and flexible working network.

It was a formidable challenge for me and my team. Working in ITU requires a different approach and model of care. When we were informed that my team was going to be redeployed, we were overwhelmed and anxious. We attended the ITU up-skill training, after so, I decided to join my team in the ITU redeployment and leave the vaccination clinic โ€“ it was my first redeployment role. I usually work during the day, but I had to start working the night shifts again. Nevertheless, it was rewarding to know that despite being in the heart of whatโ€™s happening, we were making a difference.

The ITU team was brilliant especially in guiding us on how things work in the unit. The ICU matrons were visible, supportive, and approachable throughout our redeployment; they were the main support network.

The redeployment made me reflect on how I uphold the world care values in my daily working life and this practice has given me the opportunity to learn and be more open-minded.

It has also developed a good working relationship with other members of staff outside the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. It was amazing to see everyone had to change their way of working to prioritise the patient and practise safely and effectively.

Lourdes (1)

To all the redeployed NHS staff and volunteers, a huge thank you for all your fantastic support and kindness to ITU Royal Free team, it has been brilliant working with you all. I have been fortunate to work and be part of a fantastic team who have made this redeployment much easier for us.

My name is Oluwafunbi Lilian Ajayi; I am a Junior Sister at Royal Free London Private Patients Unit.

Being redeployed to nurse-intubated patients was a formidable challenge as I only recently started in my new role as a junior sister towards the second wave. So, hearing from my manager that I was about to be redeployed to ICU was both nerve-wracking and exciting. I knew this was going to be a good experience however, I was nervous because I did not know what to expectโ€ฆ I had mixed feelings. Luckily for me, on my first day I was assigned to a very experienced nurse who had been in ICU for seven years. She was a good teacher, and very keen to orientate me into the new environment. My first day reminded me how I felt as a student going into placement โ€“ I was nervous about working in unfamiliar surroundings, being in a new team and in a clinical practice outside my usual practice! I was determined to overcome my fears and gain my confidence as a newly redeployed nurse. I had to quickly get to grips with a whole new set of clinical skills, accurately read and record patientsโ€™ observations, safely taking and process an arterial blood gas as well as interpreting the results and understanding the process of ventilation better.

Lilian (1)

Working in ICU was a very emotional one. I find myself scanning around and asking for patient I had cared for previously, hoping they have been discharged. To be honest, it catches me in a way I was not expecting when a patient loses their fight.

But thanks to my support system: my manager and my nursing team. They are simply amazing providing support, direction and kindness. I could not have been welcomed into a more supportive team and have learnt a lot about good communication and strong leadership.

I reflect on those times now the hospital is returning to some form of normality. I feel fulfilled knowing that Iโ€™ve been able to help during one of the most difficult periods of our time. It was a massive U-turn being in a completely new and different environment. The pandemic has reinforced to me the importance of the support network around the colleagues and patient, and I will truly hold onto this for the rest of my nursing career.

Overall, the clinical experience really does make it all come together, and all of the things that I learnt in the up skilled training make more sense in a clinical setting. Theory gives you the knowledge you need to prepare for those real-life situations, and clinical helps you develop the confidence and technique. I realized that my management of an acutely ill patient has improved. Thanks to all the nurses who have made sure I never felt alone and ensured that I always felt supported. Even when I was not sure about something, I felt reassured by these nurses as they were always there to answer my questions and concerns.

My advice to any nurse or student is to have an open mind towards any new skills or opportunity. You will be helping people and you will be learning and growing at the same time, also bear in mind that there will be ups and downs, but you will get through it.