A Junior Doctor's Perspective -- Part 1

I am a junior doctor working on a COVID-19 ward: I was redeployed at the start of the month. None of us received any real training before being redeployed and my current role means that I am sent to whichever ward needs extra staff each day. This can be quite unsettling because as a junior doctor in training you are usually allocated to a specific ward where you spend the majority of your shifts.

Despite this, I feel that, at the moment, the hospital is well prepared and I feel well supported by my senior colleagues. I am impressed by the way that our trust and indeed, the NHS as a whole, has come together to reshape its infrastructure to accommodate this health crisis. I am struck by the sense of optimism and positivity of the majority of my colleagues despite the fact that this is undoubtedly the most challenging part of our careers to date. Most of us are now working in new teams that are constantly evolving with doctors and nurses coming in from different specialities. Surgical consultants are supporting nurses and health care assistants are in intensive care. Consultants who have been working in specialities such as dermatology and rheumatology, where they usually spend most of their time working in outpatient clinics, have been redeployed to medical wards. Some of them have not practised clinical medicine like this in more than thirty years and yet, in a very short amount of time, they have been forced to retrieve long-forgotten nuggets of general medical knowledge -- or even, perhaps, to acquire it. Some of them are having to do this whilst also trying to keep their own department afloat, making sure that their patients, who are no longer going to be seen in their clinics, have been given the advice that they need in the interim to manage their conditions safely. There are fears about what will follow in the aftermath of this pandemic, about the cancers that will not have been detected, and how these will lead to deaths that could have been avoided, as well as the concerns about the people who are having strokes and heart attacks now but are too afraid to present to hospital.

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