My name is Allison McIntryre and I am Ward Manager for The Haldon.
My day starts at around 7am where I contact my three lovely children who have all now had to move away and stay with their Nanny during this pandemic. I then check my emails to see if anything has changed overnight with the patients, staff or the ward in general. I no longer use public transport to get to work and have been lucky enough to secure transport with other members of the team.
When I arrive at work I now have to change into my uniform and before I can physically get on to the ward, I take and record my temperature, wash my hands and put on a face mask. I then check-in with the staff on shift and the patient representative to see how everyone is and if there are any issues I need to be aware of.
I no longer have an office as this is being used as an extra patient bedroom allowing us to provide an isolation area and maintain safety. I am therefore hot-desking between spaces on and off the ward.
My day is spilt between my operational management duties and responsibilities through digital calls and meetings, and completing and compiling reports for silver and gold command. I remain involved in patient care and treatment planning and wider service planning. I also continue to ensure that we have enough staffing resources and PPE for the team. I keep the team up to date with the ongoing changes, provide staff training as these changes happen, provide clinical and managerial supervision and support and generally provide reassurance to the whole team. While I do try and be present and available on the ward as much as possible, some days this can be really difficult to achieve.
The coronavirus pandemic has been challenging and as a result, the patient’s experience of treatment has changed. No home leave is permitted and no visitors are allowed on the ward which can be very difficult for patients. Assessment and therapy sessions are now conducted via digital platforms rather than face to face and everything on the ward has significantly changed. I’ve been adapting and making the necessary changes to the ward and explaining these changes to the team and patient group. Providing guidance sheets has been really helpful in this process.
Through these challenging times I have been practicing and maintaining patience and remembering to breathe. Staying calm and level headed and being as positive a role model as possible has been really important, as has maintaining patient and staff resilience by seeking and offering support when needed. I’ve been sure to show empathy and understanding and have been signposting to the support services available whenever they are required.
My mantra during the pandemic is: ‘Working and supporting each other as Together Everyone Achieves More.’ (TEAM). I’ve also been acknowledging and understanding that everything in the world is now really very different, that we are all working differently and at times it’s not going to be easy. It will take time to adjust but that’s ok, we are all doing our very best!