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COVID-19 and Me: Jade Callaway

Released on - 30/06/2020

COVID-19 and Me: Jade Callaway

COVID-19 and Me: Jade Callaway

My name is Jade Callaway and I’m in my first year as an ODP student at University of Bolton. I’d like to share some of my experiences as a student ODP during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

During the last three months it has been a scary, surreal time.

At the start of the pandemic, staff meetings became a daily routine to keep the theatre team updated on the Covid situation. I remember at one of the early meetings, reality hit. The theatre manager informed the team that things had escalated quicker than they’d expected. 

Colleagues were crying because they hadn’t been able to see their children. 

At the time a wall was being built in the theatre recovery room to accommodate the overflow of critical ill patients. We were told that elective procedures were to be stopped, only acute and trauma cases would be going ahead. Obstetric patients may need to be diverted to another Trust as the hospital I work at would not be able to accommodate the load of work. 

Anxiety came over me and at this point I cried. I feared for my family. The thought of working in an environment around patients who were critically ill & passing away from this silent but deadly virus absolutely petrified me. Especially the thought of potentially taking the virus home to my family. 

However, we were all in this together. Theatres is like one big family. Teams from different departments came together & worked in collaboration providing support for each other. ICU staff provided guidance & support to those who worked in theatres. 

I have worked in the operating department for 6 years & I am currently in my first year as a student ODP. During my time in the department, I have often heard registered practitioners state 'every day is a school day'. However, I never really believed this until being in practice during the pandemic. Now I know that this is absolutely the truth! Registered practitioners with numerous years of experience have had to work beyond their scope of practice, providing specialised care for critically ill patients. 

Some days colleagues cry & some days we laugh, which keeps us going. 

The most surreal part of working with level 3 critically ill patients for me was witnessing patients intubated, yet being able to open their eyes & respond to questions by using their hands. Whilst working in the hot ICU area one day, I waved at a patient, thinking to myself how daunting we must look wearing full PPE & a respirator. The patient waved back at me, this is one thing I will never forget. 

Although this time has been a very challenging time & on occasions I’ve even asked myself why I want to be an ODP, I remember the difference I have made to the patients who have recovered. I may not be a qualified ODP yet, but I participated with working with Covid-19 positive patients & assisted with their personal cares. When you hear a patient being clapped out of the hospital because they have recovered from a virus nobody knows much about and you know you have provided care for that patient it makes you realise why you do the job you do. 

It’s an amazing feeling knowing you have helped make a difference.

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