In the second of our Living With Covid-19 series, where we learn how fellow health workers are adapting and coping with the ongoing pandemic, we hear from Julie Parry, based in the United Kingdom. Julie is a practice nurse who is currently enrolled in our University of Warwick, Postgraduate Diploma in Diabetes Care. Here she describes how the pandemic has affected her life as a mother and daughter and her life as a nurse practicing during the pandemic.
When Covid-19 struck the UK and lockdown was enforced, I was on sick leave following surgery. For 2 weeks it was quite enjoyable to be in a family bubble, helping my almost 6-year old daughter with schoolwork, playing in the sunshine and walking the dog. However, the guilt at my friends and colleagues facing the challenges of general practice made me keen to get back and ‘do my bit’.
On resuming work there was a whole new way of working to get to grips with, tele-consults, reducing face to face contact for as many patients as possible and of course the endless PPE changes! Soon my hands were red raw with dermatitis from the soap, needing prescription cream to reduce the pain and inflammation, a spot outbreak from wearing a face mask all day and the pressures of being one of only 3 nurses on the team who could still ‘safely’ see patients face to face. I have had to put the anxiety of viral loading and risk of contaminating my family in a locked box at the back of my brain to keep helping those patients that need to be seen.
Even now, when I come home from work, I cannot kiss or hug any of my family until my uniform is in a hot wash and I have showered! All of this whilst trying to support my 2 stepdaughters (17 and 15 years old) who have come to stay after falling out with their mum, helping Eva with her school work and ensuring my husband remembers to take the meat out of the freezer for dinner and sticks to the shopping list!! On top of all that I am online, studying for a diploma in diabetes management. Eva had her 6th birthday in lockdown, instead of the surprise trip to Disneyland Paris that we had planned, and I haven’t been able to hug my parents for weeks now. I drop off food and supplies on the doorstep and talk to them from the end of their drive. I know my Dad is struggling as my Mum has dementia which is significantly deteriorating through the restrictions of lockdown.
The multiple daily emails regarding the ongoing management of the pandemic is exhausting and constantly changing advice makes it hard to keep up, but through it all, new ways of working are emerging. Patients and the public are realising what the NHS and other key workers do for them and I remain positive that much good can come from this. The NHS has proven why it is the best health service in the world, upscaling care and treatment to meet an unprecedented challenge.
From all of this, I truly believe that the world faces a positive future if we as humans can learn the lessons Mother Nature has taught us during this time- that we can work flexibly and from different locations, that we can heal our environment through reduced pollution and ultimately we are all one human race and when we need each other we are there, and that is something the world desperately needs in the 21st century.
Mrs Julie Elizabeth Parry
General Practice Nurse
West Kirby, Wirral.
University of Warwick Postgraduate Diploma in Diabetes Care student year 2020-2021.