Live Better Blog: On the frontline
For our latest blog post, we sat down (virtually) with one of our Free Energy for a Year winners, NHS Midwife Lauren Vella, who details her experiences of being on the frontline during a global pandemic…
A day in the life of an NHS Midwife during COVID-19.
We spoke with Lauren, Midwife in the Delivery Suite at Royal Stoke University Hospital, in early July – although the coronavirus is starting to slow at this point, it remains a very real threat not only to the general public, but especially to health workers.
Lauren begins by telling us that she’d like to give a big shout out to everybody who works at Royal Stoke University Hospital – she’s quick to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of her colleagues!
When asked how the pandemic has affected her everyday working life, Lauren admits that some changes were easier to adjust to than others…
“At the start, everybody was worried because the virus was so unknown, and no body knew what we were getting ourselves into over the course of the next few months.
We’ve had to learn lot of new things in a short amount of time, and change the way we work. For example, we have to wear a lot more personal protective equipment (PPE) while on shift, which can be uncomfortable to work in – especially considering our shifts can last up to 12 and a half hours long. It can get tiring, too, because we’re wearing masks most of the time and you find that you don’t drink as much water throughout the day.
There’s also been changes to the women who are birthing on the ward – they used to be able to have two birth partners, but now they can only have one. They also aren’t allowed any visitors at all on the wards once they’ve given birth, so a lot of the women who have stayed in the wards for a week at a time haven’t been able to see their partner. Likewise, the partner hasn’t been able to see their baby.
I guess you could say that we’re used to it now, but it was quite a big change when it all first started. Lots of people were able to get away from it, in a sense, by either being furloughed or by working from home, but my colleagues and I were just carrying on – we had to!
Throughout all of the changes and added precautions, I’ve never felt I couldn’t do my job properly, but I can’t deny that it was worrying going into the hospital each day and wondering if I was going to catch the virus and bring it home.
As it is, in the maternity ward we’ve done really well, and had hardly any cases. This is mainly because the women who have been in the ward have taken our professional advice seriously, have been careful, and have shielded when they’ve been advised to.
It’s definitely helped that everyone, businesses especially, have been really generous in appreciating the NHS and its staff throughout this time. We’ve had lots of kind gestures and donations – not least the incredibly generous offer of free energy for a whole year to a bunch of hard-working NHS staff, provided by MoneyPlus Energy! To not have to think about paying energy bills throughout all of this is just a massive weight off of my shoulders!
I work on the high-risk unit within the Delivery Suite, which includes women who have been induced, or those who are high-risk for another reason. So when my shift starts I can be walking into anything – somebody who’s in the throws of labour, having a c-section, or in high dependency and needing a bit of extra care.
So, I guess you could say that there is no ‘day in the life’ of a midwife! My day changes so frequently, and I never know what I could be walking in to. It was this way before the pandemic, too, but now this has happened we’ve just got to get used to it. Things are going to be like this for the near future, at least, and as a team we’re quite used to working this way now – the new normal, as they say.
When you’re a midwife working in the middle of a pandemic, you just need to take each day as it comes.”
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