Caring for Key Workers | Norman Galbraith

Every Thursday at 8PM we step outside our homes to applaud and thank our key workers for the incredible work they do during this difficult time. But what are things really like for everyone working on the front line? This week, we interview Doctor Norman Galbraith to discover more about his role in the current situation along with his advice on how to remain positive during uncertain times.  

It’s important to be positive for others – patients as well as other staff. There is a feeling of comradery between everyone I work with which definitely helps.

Can you tell us more about what your role involves?

I am a registrar in general surgery. This involves specialising in problems of the abdomen - assessing and treating patients with conditions that may require an operation to make them better. Examples of conditions include appendicitis, gall bladder problems and different types of cancer. As a registrar, I’m involved in performing some operations and training to help others towards becoming a consultant surgeon.

What are you finding most challenging in your line of work at the moment?

People are understandably staying away from hospitals because of the Coronavirus. But lots of serious conditions other than Coronavirus are still happening. This means patients wait until the conditions are advanced before seeing a doctor, and are very sick as a result. The other issue is that relatives can’t visit patients in the hospital. So for people that are suffering and nearing the end stages of their life, they are alone and it becomes harder for relatives to say goodbye. That has been hard for everyone.

How are you feeling during this difficult time?

I feel grateful that I am lucky to still be employed and have an income, which many other people don’t. There has been a reasonable amount of staff becoming sick due to Coronavirus, so you do feel exposed and at risk, and you don’t really know if you will be one of the unlucky ones.

What are you doing to remain positive in the current climate?

It’s important to be positive for others – patients as well as other staff. There is a feeling of comradery between everyone I work with which definitely helps.

How do you prefer to unwind after the end of a long day?

Facetime or a Zoom call with my friends and family helps with unwinding, as well as going out for a run or cycle to clear my mind. 

What three items are essential in your daily unwind routine?

Running, TV and some hot chocolate! 

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