COVID-19: The Highs and Lows of the NHS Healthcare Worker

NHS staff have been consistently labelled ‘essential staff’ during the COVID-19 crisis.

Recent reports of workers with bruised faces from wearing of PPE for long periods, to exponentially increased risk of COVID-19 infection.

Juxtaposed to this, there have been videos posted of NHS workers dancing on wards, messages of support left outside hospitals and posted on Twitter from members of the public, to staff being greeted in supermarkets with applause.

This is a brief charting of the NHS worker in times of COVID-19.

The lows

NHS workers have been pictured bruised from prolonged wearing of PPE.

The masks are crucial in protecting the wearer from viral infection but can cause discomfort, bruising and pain when worn for long periods.

With frontline staff not able to take breaks due to the influx of patients, the toll of long shifts is starting to show.

Natalie Silvey, a registrar in London uploaded a picture of herself looking exhausted and red faced, bruised from prolonged mask-wearing.

The doctor had written “This is the face of someone who just spent 9 hours in personal protective equipment moving critically ill COVID-19 patients around London.”

“I feel broken – and we are only at the start. I am begging people, please please do social distancing and self-isolation.”

You can view Natalie’s Twitter account here: @silv24

It was reported in the Camden New Journal that NHS staff were being mugged for their ID in order for the perpetrator to pose as a health worker in supermarkets.

The Camden New Journal reported that a doctor had said ‘the rumours are most certainly true’ and that health workers are being ‘advised to remove their badges.’

According to the Camden New Journal, Met Police have not had any official reports of muggings but ‘have contacted hospitals asking for information.’

“One co-worker also got mugged for her NHS badge that comes with grocery shopping privileges.”

Another Twitter commenter said “when I read about news about NHS staff being subjected to hate crimes, racial abuse and even eviction from their homes because their work makes them ‘carriers’ of the virus, it makes it hard to love the job that I do.”

The highs

#clapforourcarers has been trending on Twitter to show appreciation for doctors, nurses, GPs and carers.

NHS workers have also been applauded on entering supermarkets by staff in mornings.

Other shows of gratitude include flowers and cards being left outside hospitals as well as gifts, including food being sent to hospitals for staff.

As reported by the BBC, Basildon Hospital staff have been videoed dancing on ward to an Olly Murs track.

The video has gone viral on social media and shows a team spirit even in times of crisis.

Trending under #ThankYouNHS on Twitter, members of the public are showing their gratitude and sharing others appreciation.

The Wembley Arch has been lit and the electronic banner underneath reading ‘Thank You NHS’.

Similarly, the London Underground has left a whiteboard with messages of thanks for NHS staff upon entering.