'It's a little bit scary' - Nurses re-deployed to Covid front line

Norfolk & Norwich Hospital Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Norfolk & Norwich Hospital staff Mikayla Warren and Megan Childs are among NNUH staff being redeployed to help in other areas during this wave of the pandemic. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/Mikayla Warren/Megan Childs

Redeployed hospital staff are volunteering for friends, colleagues and patients, as they take on roles at the sharp end of the Covid crisis.

Children's nurses Mikayla Warren and Megan Childs are among a growing number of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital staff stepping up to work in different areas, with both taking shifts in the high dependency unit on Gissing Ward.

Data from NHS England shows up to 501 staff were absent with virus-related sickness or through self-isolation in the week ending January 6, compared to a maximum of 999 in the week ending April 6 last year. 

The NNUH is treating more than 300 coronavirus patients and is at 90pc capacity, with numbers continuing to rise. Staff have spoken out in recent weeks about the pressure staff face.

Critical care nurse Lauren Jaques said in a video diary she did not know what she would do without the additional support as the critical care unit had become the busiest she had ever seen it.

Megan Childs, a nurse on the Children’s Assessment Unit (CAU), moved her normal shifts and booked bank shifts when the unit was short staffed.

Megan Childs, is a nurse on the Children’s Assessment Unit (CAU), at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Megan Childs, is a nurse on the Children’s Assessment Unit (CAU), at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. - Credit: NNUH

She said: “I’ve friends and colleagues in this trust and others who’ve had their departments closed to be redeployed to critical care and had family and friends who’ve contracted Covid, so I'm volunteering for them, to do my bit in the pandemic and support and help wherever possible.

“If there’s one thing I've learnt from this experience, it’s how quick we are to support each other and how even doing a quick set of observations for a team member can help ease their day just that little bit."

She added: “I was really nervous when originally asked to move, but I felt supported throughout the entire shift, and know this will continue throughout any future moves or bank shifts."

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On Friday, the hospital's medical director said 30 military personnel were being brought in to help clinical staff.

Mikayla Warren, a children's nurse on Buxton Ward, has helped colleagues on the Gissing Ward, a high dependency unit.

Mikayla Warren, a children's nurse on Buxton Ward, has helped colleagues on the Gissing Ward, a high dependency unit. - Credit: NNUH

Miss Warren, a children's nurse on Buxton Ward, said: “I did it to demonstrate commitment to the wider NHS team and prove that no matter where you work, we can all work within our competence to support patients, their families and fellow staff during challenging times."

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