Welcome to our new 'Caring for Key Workers' blog series. Each week, we'll be sharing real-life insights and experiences from behind the front line by interviewing a variety of key workers. From NHS staff and volunteers to supermarket staff and delivery drivers, learn more about the challenges faced on a daily basis as well as expert tips on how to look after our mental wellbeing during this uncertain time.
Here, we speak with Pamela Aitken: a Medical Secretary based at the University Crosshouse Ayrshire in Kilmarnock. With a faced-paced role and constantly changing environment, discover more about Pamela's role as well as her advice on how to stay positive in the current climate.
It is such a worrying time for all of us, but we have a great team of people all supporting each other through this uncertain time.
Can you tell us more about what your role involves?
My role is a Medical Secretary to an Orthopaedic Surgeon. I am responsible for arranging elective in-patient admissions and transcription of patient’s medical notes. I also deal with enquiries from patients, General Practitioners, physiotherapists and many others. My role involves a vast range of duties to support the consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon.
What are you finding most challenging in your line of work at the moment?
The most challenging part of my role at the moment is working within a busy health care setting and having worries about my own health as well as the health and wellbeing of my colleagues. It is such a worrying time for all of us, but we have a great team of people all supporting each other through this uncertain time.
How are you feeling during this difficult time?
I have had such mixed emotions. In the beginning, one minute I would feel okay and very positive and the next, very anxious and worried. I have great sadness at not being able to see my family currently but I know it’s for the best. In the first couple of weeks since the COVID-19 outbreak, I decided to come off of social media as there is so much false news on there and I needed a break from it. Now, I am feeling a lot better and much more positive. I now feel like I have got used to the situation and it’s just part of life currently.
What are you doing to remain positive in the current climate?
Not spending much time on social media or reading the news. Sometimes it is overpowering and I think it’s important not to focus too much on it. I have two dogs and a horse who always make me smile and spending time with them helps to keep me positive. I have been trying to lift the spirits of others by doing random acts of kindness where possible.
How do you prefer to unwind after the end of a long day?
A long soak in the bath. A walk with my dogs. Listening to music. Spending time with my horse. Sitting down to catch up on the soaps. I’m a bit of a soap addict, especially River City, which I have also been an extra in many times!
What three items help you to unwind in the evening?
Bubble bath, fluffy socks and a cosy blanket for watching TV.