Well what a day in GP land. I thought it would be good (mentally) for me to have a bit of a brain fart and write about how my job as a practice nurse is changing rapidly in light of covid-19. I will try and briefly update when I can to give you an insight of primary care at this trying time.
I have been watching the events unfold with trepidation wondering what lay in store for myself and my colleagues. We're a good team, we're strong and we rally around each other so I haven't been concerned about our team work one bit. It came as no surprise when last night I was informed that all face to face appointments were to be cancelled and only urgent and patients that can't be delayed were to be seen in surgery. The Gp's also triaging calls to determine the needs of other patients. Face to face appointments for nurses and HCA's (health care assistant) includes things like urgent bloods, wound care, ECG's, baby immunisations, depo contraceptives and 12 weekly injections which shouldn't be delayed. Telephone triage and long term condition reviews (i.e diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular, hypertension etc) were also to be carried out by phone, but we tend to do this anyway so not too much in the way of change in that sense.
|Just a pretty scenic picture to cheer things up!
Most of mine and the healthcare assistants face to face appointments had already been cancelled by my practice lead. On starting work I had a brief catch up with my collegues to see how we were all feeling, generally all good. The girls on reception were already in PPE (personal protective equipment) to field the incoming calls and greet patients on a one to one basis that were able to be seen in the surgery. My other collegue, who is an amazing secretary, was ready and waiting to meet the patients by the doors to direct them to the other nurse that was seeing patients face to face at this point. My job was to cancel the rest of my clinics for the rest of the week other than urgent appointments and to work on my diabetic (QoF - quality of frameworks - google it, I'm not going into it haha) patients to try and achieve any missing markers. My afternoon consisted of a 'virtual clinic' to which I phone and complete LTC (long term condition) reviews, this was a pre existing clinic so a busy but not a bad afternoon.
It felt strange today. There was no hustle and bustle in the waiting room, less chatter and lots of questions been asked, we were all in good spirits but a little bit uneasy. None of us know what the next few days have in store, we are receiving changing advice daily depending on the advice from PHE (public health england) and the WHO (world health organisation). I will greatly miss seeing patients for the moment and from the people I spoke to today that were over the age of 60 there is certainly an element of unrest and anxiety from them, I spent much time reassuring them that if they have any concerns they must ring us and they will be seen by a Dr or ANP (advance nurse practitioner) as required. One of the GP partners bought us all pizza to boost the morale, what a nice touch and it did help as we were able to scoff some food and have a quick chat over lunch.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. It's is a changing situation and I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. What this space for an update and wish us in primary care luck, we have never been up against something like this, it's going to challenge and test us beyond belief.