4 Feb, 2022

The Avon medical unit at LRH has been converted to care solely for COVID-19 patients from the Latrobe Valley and across Gippsland.

Nurse Unit Manager, Avon Unit, Latrobe Regional Hospital

I think because we’ve been caring for COVID patients for more than two years, it’s become a routine but a tiring routine.

There’s constant worry for your patients but also worry because a lot of my staff are parents and have partners. Working on a COVID unit and going home to a partner or family or going out in the community brings anxiety. It’s exhausting physically and mentally.

Seeing all the patients on our unit with COVID, it’s a reality check this thing is real and very contagious. Unfortunately, people are dying and it takes an emotional toll on our staff. We’re providing the emotional support to the patient that they can’t get from their family because they are in isolation. We try to allay their fears while being fearful ourselves.

My staff are looking to me for more emotional support and guidance than ever before. Working on a COVID unit is physically demanding, especially in full PPE. Mentally it’s demanding. Emotionally it’s draining. They are all petrified they may be taking COVID home to their loved ones.

No-one has ever been a Nurse Unit Manager of a COVID Unit during a pandemic. It’s not what I signed up for originally. I got the job as a manager of a 32-bed medical unit and now I’m running a 29 bed COVID unit.

The staff here are amazing, adaptable and flexible. The pandemic has fostered some really close relationships.