I am a first year DPhil student in the Population Health Department, and previously completed medical school and my junior doctor training in Australia. At the moment I am trying to focus my efforts on helping combat the COVID-19 pandemic, by working locum shifts in the Acute General Medicine Unit in the Oxford Trust Hospitals. I will hopefully soon be joining the Acute General Medicine Support rota, which has been set up to provide additional pairs of hands on the wards and cover for illness during this unprecedented time. While at the hospital over the past few weeks I have also had the opportunity to be involved in a small way in the early stages of setting up a COVID-19 treatment trial, which has been a really interesting process to see from the beginning.
What has really struck me from being present in the hospitals over the past few weeks is how supportive the NHS staff are of each other – there is this incredible sense of coming together to take this pandemic on, while doing so in a pragmatic, kind and compassionate way. There is a huge, ongoing effort to provide support and training to people like me who are returning to work or are new to the department, and I’ve had multiple members of healthcare staff check in to how I am finding the process, and one registrar in particular (whom I did a single shift with) reach out and tell me she is there to debrief at any time.
It is truly remarkable that in a time that is dark in many respects, what shines through more than anything is kindness, encouragement and meaningful support – the roots of which lie in the homes of millions of people in the UK, and extend their branches into the corridors of the NHS hospitals.
Dr Elizabeth (Beth) Hamilton (2018, DPhil Population Health)
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Published: 21 April 2020