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RETURNING TO THE NHS: Amanda bringing frontline care experience back to the classroom

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our teaching staff at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) volunteered to return to work within the NHS at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL). These are their stories:

Come September, Amanda Whateley’s students will be getting the freshest take on NHS experience there is after spending the last few weeks on the frontline in palliative care.

Amanda, Senior Lecturer in Palliative Care, has been nursing for over 30 years prior to joining DMU last year. But when the opportunity came about to return to work to support frontline NHS staff handling COVID-19 patients, she signed up right away.

Amanda W

She is now spending her time split between teaching and supporting on the frontline in palliative care at UHL and Hospice Care for Leicestershire and Rutland (LOROS).

Amanda said: “I have done a bit of everything in the last few weeks. I have worked at UHL as part of the palliative care team, I have worked at the adult hospice in Leicester, LOROS and I have volunteered at Beaumont Leys food bank.

“I am really grateful to DMU for allowing myself and many other members of staff to do this, as a nurse you just want to be able to help when something like this happens. I have been nursing for 30 years.”

Despite having to adapt to a whole new way of nursing practice and facing some tough obstacles daily, Amanda said all the staff have been incredible and everyone has really come together as a team.

“The atmosphere everywhere has been really positive; I think people have adapted really well.

“Staff in UHL hospitals and LOROS have all been really welcoming, friendly and it is a really humbling experience to see how relentlessly people have been working.

“Nursing practices have had to change in order to care for people during this crisis and it’s great to see everyone has been pulling together in such a difficult time.”

She continued: “It has been especially eye-opening in palliative care, we rely on communication and compassion which are so important in this area, it has been challenging.

“The principles of palliative care have not changed but the practice has had to during this crisis and has gone against what people have been trained to deliver.

“Wearing a mask all day when talking to patients and not allowing patients to have visitors when they are sick have been two of the hardest things.”

“The staff have been incredible though; they have just adapted in exceedingly difficult circumstances to deliver the best care they can.

“It has been a real combined effort. The NHS has shown the importance of people working as a team and coming together, from cleaners and porters to doctors, nurses and care staff,”she added.

Amanda said the time spent on the frontline in palliative care has also been beneficial towards her teaching practice.

“The time spent away from the computer has helped with my teaching practice, in the long run it will help me become more credible as a lecturer because I have actually been there on the frontline in palliative care.

“Although times have been uncertain it has been good for my mental health, to get out and do something to help. I tested positive for COVID myself in April, it is really tough for everyone on the frontline.

“I am personally very grateful to DMU for allowing me to do this, even if it has just been doing some paperwork, washing up or sitting and chatting to a patient. I have been appreciated for everything I have done. A very humbling experience.”


Posted on Wednesday 29th July 2020

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