At 8PM every Thursday, we step outside of our homes to applaud and thank our key workers for the incredible work they are doing. From NHS staff to volunteers and supermarket staff to delivery drivers, it's never been more important to take a moment to share our gratitude to those helping to support us during this difficult time.
But, what are things like for those working on the front line at the moment? How are our key workers coping with the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis? Here, we reveal insights from behind the front line in our new 'Caring for Key Workers' blog series. Each week, we'll interview a different key worker, creating a space for them to share their real-life experiences and insights, along with advice on how to remain positive in the current climate.
This week, we speak to Laura Robertson, Emergency Medical Registrar at the University Hospital Lewisham in London, to discover more about her role working on the front line and how to unwind during this uncertain time.
Can you tell us more about what your role involves?
I work in A&E, where we work as a team to treat patients across the whole spectrum from 0 to 100. I’m a senior doctor so my role often involves supervising juniors and managing the flow of patients through the department. I often work in the resuscitation area where we treat the sickest patients.
What are you finding most challenging in your line of work at the moment?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the hardest thing is seeing patients who are very unwell and may not survive, but not having their families around them. We have to break a lot of bad news over the telephone which is very difficult.
How are you feeling during this difficult time?
I’m feeling quite good. In some ways, the working environment has become easier in that overall there are fewer patients coming into A&E, so the usual pressures of an overcrowded department have eased. I’m also grateful that I can still go out to work during this time when so many others are stuck working from home or furloughed.
What are you doing to remain positive in the current climate?
I am doing a lot of exercise and speaking regularly with colleagues which definitely helps to process the challenges at work. I’ve also done a lot of virtual quizzes with friends and family.
How do you prefer to unwind after the end of a long day?
I like to go for a run if the weather is good, or have a large gin and tonic! Lighting a candle when I get home helps to create a cosy atmosphere too.
What three items help you to unwind in the evenings?
My Kindle, a glass of wine and my yoga mat.