During August, we are telling the stories of occupational health nurses who have come to the aid of the hard-pressed NHS during the coronavirus crisis. This week we hear from trainee OH advisor Lucy Beech.
I am a trainee occupational health advisor studying at The University of the West of Scotland. Before the lockdown began I gave birth to my son on 12 March and then continued my maternity leave blissfully unaware of what impact Covid-19 was going to have on the world.
However, as I saw the devastating effects of this disease unravelling I felt that, as a nurse, it was my duty to do something to help.
I was, naturally, concerned about working in hospitals, as I was recovering from a caesarean section and was worried how my newborn would cope if I transmitted the virus to him. I then saw the adverts reaching out for nurses with public health qualifications to become clinical contact caseworkers as part of the government’s “Test and Trace” programme.
As this is a home-based role, working for Public Health England, I felt I could safely contribute so applied straight away and offered to do this as an unpaid volunteer.
It’s only a small help to such a huge crisis but I feel proud to be helping in my own little way
The training has been extensive, and rightly so, but there have been many barriers to overcome related to IT issues and login errors. However everything eventually came together and I have been completing two shifts per week.
It’s only a small help to such a huge crisis but I feel proud to be helping in my own little way. I will be ending my maternity leave earlier than planned to help with the complications that are expected for employees’ mental and physical health who are returning to work.