The New Front Line: How Covid-19 Has Changed the World of Nursing

in Health & Well-being

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way the world operates and there have been many industries and institutions that have had to quickly adapt. From travel to the construction sector, things are being run differently as we try to tackle Covid-19.

One industry that’s had to rapidly evolve is healthcare. As the nation went into lockdown, there was a substantial recruitment drive for nurses to tackle the influx of patients. This meant that specialists had to rapidly upskill in a different area and switch their offering to provide support on the front line of this unprecedented health crisis.

So, what happened next? Here’s a look at the impact of the pandemic on nursing.

Changing roles

There was a sudden overhaul and redeployment of nurses across the UK as the command came in from Boris Johnson to stay at home. While some nurses who had left the profession in the last few years were asked to come out of retirement to care for patients, students were asked to help out by taking paid placements in clinic.

For those who were already working in the industry, they found that they were part of a major reshuffle; a huge operation that shifted nursing staff into new roles.

Among the nurses who had to move into one of these new roles was Janine. Having spent 20 years of her 32-year career working in cosmetic surgery, the registered general nurse (RGN) based at Transform Hospital Group was asked to take up a temporary role. She joined the rest of the nursing team on the ward at the hospital group’s Burcot Hall Hospital.

The hospital had suspended its private healthcare and teamed up with the NHS to provide care for patients. As an RGN, she joined the ward team: “I dusted down my nurse’s uniform and went back to my roots.” she said. “I saw this as a chance to help at a time of crisis, and as an opportunity to keep developing professionally.”

A new kind of nursing

The impact of the coronavirus has been unprecedented. With the official number of deaths in the UK reaching over 41,000 by early June, there has been a huge challenge for nursing staff, and the efforts of all medical teams has been vital.

For redeployed nursing staff like Janine, this has been a hugely impactful time: “It’s been very humbling to be back on a ward and help those nurse colleagues who are doing a different kind of nursing to what I’ve been used to,” she said. “I’ve known many people in the team for a long time, and the sisters and nurses have been superb, welcoming colleagues like me who want to help with our NHS patients in a practical way.”

What next?

As the country slowly takes the steps out of lockdown, the re-jigged setup is still in place for nurses like Janine and it set to be like this for a while: “I’ll keep doing this for the time being to help my colleagues and our NHS patients,” said Janine.

By pulling together and being flexible, nurses have been able to keep themselves and their patients safe. Medical staff will continue to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic. But it’s by being adaptable that patients are able to get the care they need.

Image Credits: iMattSmart

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