The Brazette

Advice from an Ex-Practice Nurse

29 July 2020

SANDRA SMITH

Ex Practice Nurse and Pharmaceutical Representative

Sandra trained as an RGN in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in North Wales, later specialising in Women’s Health at Queen Charlottes and Chelsea Hospital and working on gynae/oncology ward at UCH before moving back to North Wales to become a practice nurse. Sandra is currently working for GSK as a Respiratory Therapy Representative.

My name is Sandra and I currently work for GSK as a Respiratory Therapy Representative. Working for GSK, my role normally would be out seeing nurses and GPs in primary care face to face in their surgeries, but as the pandemic hit we had to stop this as the primary care staff needed to change their ways of working to adhere to new covid guidelines to keep their staff and patients protected. Our local health board put a volunteer programme in place and I took up a role in a local surgery as an assistant to the practice nurse whose responsibility was to look after the respiratory patients, I helped with accessing PPE for the practice staff  for use at their fever hub,  we reviewed guidelines on how to manage respiratory patients to ensure they could continue to be monitored safely, I helped to set up protocols on how to manage this vulnerable group of patients that were shielding and as a result  we drew up a prioritised list of patients to contact to ensure they were well, had their medications, understood impact of shielding and knew how to access support if needed, and if at high risk were referred to the clinicians for a remote consultation as a first step.

 

How have GP surgeries adapted to ensure that they can care for the community safely?

GP Surgeries had to adapt almost overnight as the pandemic hit and, although their doors were closed to the normal open access flow of patients, they continued to be available for their patients in a very new way of working. The practice nurses and the GPs stepped up their phone triage system and set up phone and video appointments to continue with their consultations. The NHS and public health services supported primary care with guidelines, to enable them to set up new ways of working efficiently from the surgery sites and support those working from home using video links etc. They are continually doing risk assessments on how they will be seeing patients whether that’s virtually or face to face, depending on their local covid guidelines and advice from their health boards.

 

Have you got any advice for anyone who is reluctant or worried about contacting their surgery?

Please be reassured that surgeries are open for all your healthcare needs but be aware it will not currently be in the way you are used to. The practice staff are working hard to ensure it is safe for you to be seen if this is necessary. Do continue to contact your surgery if you have a concern about your health, don’t delay because of the current situation. You will be assessed sensitively by your nurse or doctor and they will advise you on how best to conduct your appointment. Check out your surgery websites – they should be updated with step by step instructions on how to book a virtual appointment and their phone lines are still open where your call will be triaged to the most appropriate healthcare professional that can help you.

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