Posted: 28 April 2020
In this Year of the Nurse Carly Love, Matron at Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge, looks at how the profession is working together to tackle the professional and personal challenges posed by COVID-19.
2020 is the year of the nurse and the midwife which should be a time to celebrate our profession. The focus of this year has now transferred to COVID-19 and the role of the nurse has never been more prominent.
As a nurse, at no time have I ever felt more part of a professional family, a real community, with a huge sense of pride in my chosen career. Teamwork and dedication that comes so naturally to nurses is highlighted even more now.
I have been a nurse for 20 years. Never before in my professional career have I had to deal with so much uncertainty and anxiety and fear from colleagues than I have during this time. As nurses, we excel at looking after others; we need to make sure that we also look after ourselves and our colleagues wherever they are nursing. It is time to reach out as a profession and support our colleagues across the care and health system.
In Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, we have fantastic support structures that were in place prior to the pandemic, such as clinical supervision and Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) debriefing sessions which happen during our shifts. I know I am very fortunate to work in such a forward thinking and supportive environment; recent weeks have highlighted the importance of these support structures and how we access them.
As Matron of the Hospice, through this unprecedented time, I have been supporting my colleagues working in local nursing and residential care homes. Recognition for these colleagues who are doing an amazing job is long overdue and currently is more important than ever. They are dealing with a significant increase in the numbers of deaths of their residents, who we hear many times are part of their wider ‘family’.
This is a cause of significant grief and mourning for care workers who have formed strong and long-term relationships with the people they have cared for, often for many years. On top of everything else, there are staff shortages, meaning that Managers and their colleagues are just not getting the time to stop and recognise the incredible nursing skills and care and support they are providing.
The Hospice is a provider of specialist palliative and end of life care, and my colleagues - who have expertise in having difficult conversations – are sharing skills in dealing with bereavement and grief. It is part of our role to provide the time and a safe space to talk through colleagues’ concerns or worries, we are letting our colleagues know we are listening to them and we are in this together.
We are sharing information on webinars that may help Managers support their staff and our Education Team is creating a Toolkit to provide further support for our nursing and residential care home colleagues. We are asking what they need from us and adapting to provide this where we can.
I think it is really important to take the time to pick up the phone, have a chat with our colleagues and tell them they are brilliant. It is that human touch, the holistic approach - in this instance, one nurse reaching out to another in difficult times - that is at the heart of hospice care.
COVID-19 updates for registered nurses - we have a designated webpage which is updated regularly.
COVID-19 updates for nurse deployment - we're the primary point of contact for employers who need to access deployed registered nurses in social care. Please visit the webpage to find out how to do this.
End of life care support during COVID-19: This resource summarises key points to note from the updated ‘Common core principles’ and includes useful links for further information.