Name of health worker: Atuhura Joselyn
Hoima Regional Referral Hospital
Limited Personal Protective equipment straining the Nurse-patient relationship
My experience working in the COVID19 Treatment Unit (CTU) was a great opportunity for me, but terrifying and challenging as well.
I had never been part of a pandemic management team before therefore, rotating in the COVID-19 Treatment Unit (CTU) gave me an opportunity to learn the practical skills, and confidence needed. This yielded great results with patients recovering and no deaths were registered for that period. The emphasis for infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures became a part of me and helped to improve more of my IPC technics. In so doing, I have managed to maintain and use these technics even in other units, outside of the CTU.
Whereas working in the CTU was advantageous, there was this fear of contracting the virus from the patients given that they were stubborn and reckless coupled with the harsh working environment. We could go the entire 12 hours shift without food amidst the heavy workload, with no risk allowance but we still had to care for the patients. Until now, we are still patiently waiting for the Ministry of Health to act upon our risk allowance. The long working hours for the limited staff affected their overall attitude towards extending quality care to the COVID19 patients. You would find that instead of 3 nurses being on duty, it is one which sometimes created demotivation, arrogance and irresponsibility.
Additionally, there were inadequate protective gears, for example, one staff member would don to review or give food to the COVID19 patients. This limited staff’s direct access to the COVID19 patients and their needs from being attended to appropriately straining the nurse-patient relationship and consequently leading to poor management of patients with chronic illnesses.
Most of the above challenges have remained persistent and we humbly request the government to give priority to the health sector because it deals with saving lives and still needs more funding. Without good health, all other things in life are not important.
Nevertheless, I can confidently say that “if another pandemic hits, I will be able to handle it.”