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Key worker tales from the frontline. Debbie’s story.

There are thousands of key workers who are currently providing vital services to the nation as we navigate Covid-19.

Search supports many of these sectors and is on a daily basis interacting with those nurses, care workers, delivery drivers, customer service advisors, who are playing a critical role in ensuring everyone else’s needs are put before their own. 

We are dedicated to providing recognition to those key workers, and, with their agreement, also sharing their real-life experiences.

Debbie Tinnion is one such colleague. She has documented her first encounter with Covid-19 and the compassion experienced in the ensuing days, captured in an open letter she has penned to her colleagues.

To all of my amazing Search colleagues,

I’m writing this because of the circumstances we are all currently facing and the impact it is having on our work.

On Saturday morning I went on a day shift at a home with confirmed Coronavirus cases. I didn’t know this to be the case when I went in.

I panicked, heart pounding in my chest for a minute.

I contacted Search ‘on call’ in something of a flap! What do I do? It was entirely my choice and they said “it’s up to you”.

So I went, got into my uniform and started my shift.

There were six swabbed and confirmed cases on the opposite side of the unit that were being managed by a nursing assistant.

We were fortunate as there was a lot of personal protective equipment. We wore aprons, surgical masks and gloves at all times. And when in the isolation corridor we also wore full face visors and were diligent to change gloves and aprons as we moved between each resident, then changing masks when we left the corridor.

As the day went on three of the residents on my side of the unit developed symptoms. I rang 111, with all administered antibiotics, just in case it wasn't coronavirus.

The poorly residents were managed as anyone who is pyrexial (suffering from a fever) is. The care team barrier nursed everyone. However, it was actually easier to manage because everyone was isolated in their own room. No one wandering around.

That weekend I also worked Sunday and Monday. And after three days, the original six cases I’d embarked on were beginning to improve.

How did I find the experience? I loved it! I really am so glad that I was there. I feel totally empowered. I had to show respect for the gravity of the virus, it would be idiotic not too.

But I’m not scared of caring for the people who are infected. It is my job and my duty to care for them.  Those residents were alone, no family or visitors allowed, and they have all seen the news.

When I finished my shift last night there were two more suspected cases.

Keen to know how those residents were, I rang and checked. I’m pleased to report all doing well.

I’m going back there this week. I am compelled to see these people recover. And if they don’t, I’ll be there because their loved ones can't.

In 10 days there will not be a single care setting without Covid-19 positive cases. Not one. We are starting to see this play out in news reports.

We have to help these people. Because that’s our job, Nursing those who need us.


Do you have a key worker story to share?

We will be sharing more stories from within the Search family and capturing the experiences that Covid-19 is presenting our key workers with.

If you have a story to share or a co-worker you would like to nominate for making a real difference, visit our contact form and let us know!

You may also be interested in:

The impact of Coronavirus on Nurses

What Nurses need to know about Coronavirus

The impact of Coronavirus on Social Workers

Could you make a difference as a keyworker? Check out our jobs with immediate starts now or get in touch.