Hospitals across the north of England are seeing a significant increase in the number of patients being admitted with Covid.
Nadine McStein is ward manager on a respiratory ward at Whiston Hospital in Knowsley, Merseyside – an area where admissions could reach the same level as at the peak of the pandemic within 10 days.
She describes the challenges for staff during the first wave – and now.
‘The anxiety has come back’
“We were the first Covid ward in the trust. It was very new – very frightening. We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know what we were going to face day-to-day.
“We were having to work a lot with staff morale and keep everyone motivated, because it is a very stressful time in work, and out of work.
“It was about trying to keep people reassured and make sure they were comfortable about coming in to work and having to face the daily challenges.”
Nadine recalls those weeks as being a “very unnerving, stressful time”.
“It was a case of us having to come in and take each day as it comes. But it was very frightening, and there was a lot of staff anxiety based around that which made the job harder as well.”
Now, staff are tired, she says.
“We took the few months where it did wind down to reflect back and it was only then we realised how exhausting it was.
“At the time we worked off adrenaline and we worked off the pressures that we had to deal with. In a way, we’ve put our feelings to the back of our minds from the last wave, because it was so stressful.
“And now that we’ve got this second wave, the anxiety has come back within the staff and within the trust.”
Nadine says she wants everyone to believe the risks from coronavirus are “serious and real”.
“There’s a lot being portrayed on social media at the minute but it is very much a reality for us, and for our patients who are being admitted.
“You need to follow the guidance that’s been put out to us and make sure you’re following that and you’ll keep everyone safe,” she explains.