Head of Nursing Helen Raine reflects on the past year as a manager, colleague and mum. #OneYearOn
22nd March 2021 - 3:34 PM
As we reflect on the past year, members of our team share their experiences since 23 March 2020.
Helen Raine, Haxby Group Head of Nursing, reflects on the last year.
The first UK lockdown from 23 March, was the start of an unimaginable journey for myself as a nurse, a manager, a colleague, a mum and as a person.
Adapting to change
As a nurse, I often ask myself if we were prepared for the challenges COVID-19 was going to throw at us. My answer is – we did our best and that is all we possibly could have done.
As time progressed, the more we learnt about the virus, the more we adapted the way we worked. I’m proud to say that not once did Haxby Group practice close its doors to patients. We immediately looked at innovative approaches to delivering services in a fast-changing environment and we continue to do this now.
Setting up the vaccination service
As a manager I played an instrumental part in the setting up the Primary Care Network (PCN) vaccination service in York, which was the first site to begin vaccination in the City. The COVID vaccination programme is a remarkable achievement country wide and, as I write this blog, more than 23 million people have received their first vaccine.
Walking into work on the day of the first clinic was emotional and felt monumental knowing as a Primary Care Service, from the administration staff to the health care professional administering the vaccines we were saving people’s lives. Patients danced down the corridor to receive their vaccine and staff had tears in their eyes. I also have the upmost admiration for all the volunteers who turn up week after week to support the clinics and the ever growing army of temporary vaccinators including retired GPs and Nurses, to those who work, giving up their free time to ‘help out’ as they modestly put it.
Emotion and resilience
As a colleague I have seen people go through a whole range of emotions. I have watched colleagues worry about spreading the infection, taking it home to their families, worrying about loved ones who they are unable to see and in the initial lockdown just having time to go to the shops to buy everyday groceries and everyday items. What stands out the most is the selflessness, team work and the resilience and determination of staff to continuing providing services to a high standard throughout.
As a mum, I have watched my youngest daughter and her fiancé have their travelling dreams cut short after 8 weeks with a frantic few days of making sure they got back home safely. I have felt helpless when my eldest daughter, also a nurse, tested positive for COVID-19 and became very unwell. Knowing she was only a short journey away, but not being able to see her was against all my instincts as a parent and was one of the hardest times over the past year.
New experiences and learning
As a person, like a lot of others my life and my job was turned upside down with the pandemic but I have tried to focus on the positive and not the negative, although this has not always been easy. I have embraced the concept of Zoom and Microsoft Teams and have learnt a whole new vocabulary along the way, such as ‘can you hear me? You’re on mute! and is that a legacy hand you’ve raised?’
Whilst I have been stunned by the daily statistics on the news each day to the point where I could no longer watch, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity the general public have shown health care workers from the clapping to the gifts the Practice has received. However, everyone who has continued to provide services throughout the pandemic are heroes as no-one signed up to for the risks they have taken in doing so.
Time to reflect
I have also had the time to reflect on what is important and how precious life is. Florence Nightingale stated “Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift – there is nothing small about it.’ The pandemic has taught me this and the one thing I have missed the most is the social contact with family and friends and I look forward to the day when I can hug people again.