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COVID-19 and Me: Carly Belfield

Released on - 14/07/2020

COVID-19 and Me: Carly Belfield

COVID-19 and Me: Carly Belfield

My name is Carly Belfield. I was just finishing my third year at uni when the pandemic struck. I qualified as a registered ODP in May.

The pandemic has given me experiences I never expected and there’s a lot I’ll take away from it. It’s taught me that you need to keep going, make the most of being supernummary and think about what you can learn from it. 

I was fortunate that my uni teaching had been completed when the pandemic struck. 

Remote learning definitely has its challenges but there are good bits about it too. I was able to go through things in my own time, using the resources available, instead of whizzing through them in class. 

You get out what you put in, the more effort you put in, in your own time, without being spoon fed by the tutors, the more you’ll understand in a way that’s clear to you. Knowing that I was on the final stretch and that each piece of work I handed in got me closer to qualifying really helped to keep me motivated. 

 I had weekly meeting on Teams with the whole class and all the tutors were available during workings hours so I always felt able to get in touch with them and ask questions. 

As I was in my third year when Covid struck, I was able to continue with my placement which was in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Unlike some of the other students in my cohort, I was able to stay in theatre the whole time because they still had lists running for elective caesarean sections. The gynaecology lists were moved to the closest private trust though. My mentor was really supportive, she made sure I got in theatre as much as was possible and I could  WhatsApp her whenever I needed support or had any concerns about my placement or my uni assignments. 

Being on placement was an eerie place. Nobody knew what to expect or where we’d be working from day to day. We had to adapt to the ever-changing Trust policies and Health England Guidelines regarding PPE and patient testing.  

People donated a variety of supplies to thank us for our hard work, this was overwhelming and we became extremely appreciative of the support from local charities and the public.

Because of Covid-19, I received some extra training on placement on proning patients, donning and doffing, and I had an intubation scenario with a Covid-19 positive patient. I also was part of the proning team one evening shift, this team were specifically called out to turn those in ICU that were confirmed covid-19 patients.

I felt like a small fish in a big pond, it was my first experience in ICU and I was unfamiliar with the staff and surroundings. The team were amazing though, informing me of the environment and what to expect. The proning training I received from the fantastic doctors working across ICU and theatres ensured I knew what I was doing. The atmosphere was daunting, being aware of the world outside and the worry everyone was dealing with to prevent contracting the virus with potentially fatal results, dealing with it first-hand and witnessing the critical state of those unfortunate enough to be in ICU. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic has shown me how the NHS can work together, that we’re one big team.

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