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I don't think I can go to work anymore

(57 Posts)
bambinis Sun 12-Apr-20 18:39:23

I'm an AHP in a hospital. Currently trying to do my own job which is very difficult to do (we have to move around a lot of wards, PPE and infection issues with that), our service isn't particularly well respected even though we know we make a massive difference to the patients so giving us precious PPE isn't a priority etc. Constant threat of redeployment hanging over us because how important are we anyway? 🤷🏽‍♀️

Everyday at least 5 things change in terms of working, systems, policy, activity and every day we try to get answers, not do the wrong things, try and see the patients and the only message we get from above is 'what work are you doing? They need people to be redeployed / you need to be flexible and work extra or you might be redeployed' etc. Lots of fluffy 'isn't the NHS amazing being so flexible and doing what's needed to get the job done' nonsense but no practical help or support or even answers to basic questions.

Many people have tested positive in my team due to exposure in the hospital. There's at least 3 people crying every day and we're not a big team!

I'm due back tomorrow and I don't know how to do it. I've not really slept all weekend and lay awake with many scenarios and questions running through my head. If I do fall asleep, I have bad dreams related to work. My chest feels heavy and I'm short of breath (it's not covid, my test came back negative yesterday - it's anxiety), I'm on the verge of tears all the time and can't concentrate on anything at home except trawling news and figures for some hope that this will be over soon. I can't focus on my daughters and feel like I'm a leper in the house. I feel like I'm suffocating and I need to get away but I can't run, I'm stuck in mud and drowning. I don't know what to do. My worst nightmare is bursting in to tears at work because I've been told I must lead by example so other people don't get anxious.

I know there is nothing anyone can do but I just needed to get it off my chest I guess.

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LJL1 Sun 12-Apr-20 18:50:02

Bambinis I wish I could say something to make it all better. You're allowed to feel any way you feel. It's a terrible situation and you didn't sign up for this. If you cry at work that makes you human and you won't be the only one to do so by far.

LJL1 Sun 12-Apr-20 18:52:28

Also, I have enormous respect for the job that you are doing. Your patients are lucky to have you.

theendoftheendoftheend Sun 12-Apr-20 18:53:37

You've been given the shitty end of the stick, I'm not suprised you feel like you do, I'd be suprised if you didn't. If ranting here helps do it. And as LJL1 said, crying is not something to fear or admonish yourself about, fuck anyone who says you should.

wowjustwowyes17262 Sun 12-Apr-20 18:56:08

@bambinis look after yourself lovely, you’re no good to your family, friends and patients run down. If you can’t make it in.. don’t go in. It will have such a detrimental impact on your mental health, please take care xxxx

ScrapThatThen Sun 12-Apr-20 19:06:02

You can only do what you can do. If you burst into tears so be it. If you need clarification so be it. If you are redeployed try to accept and do what you can. You won't be the best or the worst, your colleagues are just all muddling through together. No one is judging. Each day might bring horrible moments of stress and loss, and also moments where you feel you have helped or connected with someone. One day normality will return, until then just do what you can.

bambinis Sun 12-Apr-20 19:06:05

Thank you everyone. It means a lot.

I can't just not go much as my head and heart is screaming for me to do that. This is going to be here for months and months and months...I can't just hide at home until it's over and then waltz back into my job again....I can't just give it up either. I actually love it under normal circumstances. I just can't handle this. I'm suffocating.

We've been given the general 'you must look after yourselves' narrative and 'here's the helpline' but on a day to day level there is judgement if people struggle. We're being told that 'everyone is scared but we can't all just run away can we - it's a pandemic don't you know'. I just don't know what to do.

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ChestyNut Sun 12-Apr-20 19:25:00

I feel the same bambinis I think good management support would be really helpful in helping us to cope sad

Its ok to feel like your not ok.
No one has ever been in this situation before and it’s not what we signed up to.
It’s ok to be angry and scared and a bit heartbroken

I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of a panic attack all the time.
I’m trying......
Breathing exercises.
5,4,3,2,1 technique when I feel the panic building.
Reading or gripping dramas to try and escape.
Trying to just focus on the day and no further ahead.
News only from BBC and only once a day
Be selective about which MN posts I read.
Hid 95% of my Facebook.

Sending you a socially distanced elbow bumpflowers

bambinis Sun 12-Apr-20 19:35:23

I think good management support would be really helpful in helping us to cope

Yes - it would make all the difference to have someone in our corner. Our manager is a general therapy manager so not our profession so she doesn't really understand what we do or why it's important. There's a bit of scepticism about if we're really that needed (we know we are!).

All this 'NHS heroes' just makes me feel like I'm failing because I'm not managing to be the hero we're supposed to be 😢😢

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bambinis Sun 12-Apr-20 19:36:15

@ChestyNut thank you for your tips as well. I will put a good drama on tonight definitely!

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FleasAndKeef Sun 12-Apr-20 19:40:32

OP are you on Facebook? There is a fantastic group for health professionals called "tea and empathy" that you can join. People can post for advice anonymously (or not) and be supported by colleagues all over the country. Lots of great advice and support over there xx

Jamclag Sun 12-Apr-20 19:53:00

I agree with what everyone else is saying.

bambinis you have nothing to reproach yourself about. You have been placed in a dangerous situation you could not have anticipated and you are being asked to work in roles you are not trained for. What sort of human being would be able to adjust to that without any wobbles?

I'm so so sorry you feel you have no choice in this situation. I don't think anyone should be on the frontline without proper emotional and practical support and ultimately there is no shame in saying enough is enough when the support system fails.

Rupertpenrysmistress Sun 12-Apr-20 19:58:41

I know what you mean, we are not heroes just doing our job and trying to keep it together.

I feel very much like this, like I am drowning, want to cry, can't sleep. I am terrified of dying (as a nurse this has never worried me before) now it's all I can think about.

I don't know what to say,my plan for self care is stop watching the news, just update myself on my professional bodies guidelines. I am going to start looking after myself online yoga/mindfulness and restart c25k. Also looking at my diet and supplements. Feel like I need to gain some contro.

If you want to offload do it on here. You can private message me if you need to. Can you contact your professional body for help. I am fortunate my manager is fab, she understands my DH has immune problems and I have young kids.

Please be kind to yourself, we are all feeling the same. Take care.

ChestyNut Sun 12-Apr-20 19:58:52

bambinis I don’t feel heroic either and feel a bit like the government have rolled out the “hero” and “war” analogies so that the staff deaths seem more acceptable iyswim?

They are not acceptable at all sad

Samtsirch Sun 12-Apr-20 20:01:47

I completely understand your anxiety, but the anticipation is often worse than the event, the panic is intensified maybe because you know you are going to work tomorrow, but can’t do anything about it right at this moment.In the morning you will probably get up and get on with it, if you know what I mean.
Do your best to go in, but tell your self that you are perfectly able to leave at any time you feel it necessary , people will understand if you are signed off with anxiety/ stress.
I think you will cope but it may help relieve the pressure if you remind your self that you do have the right to leave if things get too much and until you feel better able to manage.
Best of luck and heartfelt wishes to you.

bambinis Sun 12-Apr-20 20:04:48

Thank you everyone. I'm sadly reassured that others feel the same xxx

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whataboutbob Sun 12-Apr-20 20:08:53

Thinking of you all AHPs out there. I’m an AHP but work for a CCG and working from home at the moment 😳. Even so have had the “ phantom symptoms” of tight chest which I’m sure is anxiety. Stay strong but don’t take unnecessary risks if at all possible. I know it’s more easily said than done.

cookingmywaythroughlockdown Sun 12-Apr-20 20:11:45

Are you a dietician by any chance? If so, sympathies, it's a Cinderella specialty alright.

Two things I would say- firstly if you don't have PPE then don't see the patients. It's as simple as that. Nothing to worry over or put yourself in a position where you feel anxious. No PPE, no direct contact.
Secondly you need a one line answer to the work question and you repeat that ad nauseum. So for example 'what are you doing today?' 'I'm seeing my patients to get them as medically optimised as possible so they can go home more quickly'

If you hold on to both of those points it may help a bit with the anxiety. We are all scared. There's no getting round that. It's a shitty, horrible time but it will pass.

maxbabi Sun 12-Apr-20 20:17:31

What cooking said

CostcoUggs Sun 12-Apr-20 20:18:26

**I don’t feel heroic either and feel a bit like the government have rolled out the “hero” and “war” analogies so that the staff deaths seem more acceptable iyswim?

They are not acceptable at all**

YES ChestyNut you have it spot on. It makes me so angry to see the public being taken in by this.

I am an NHS too Bambini and have no advice but please know that you are not alone in feeling this way. I'm am so sick of the daily chopping and changing and making-it-up-as-we-go-alongness of my hospital, all sugarcoated with a patronising "Aren't you all just so wonderful and special and heroic", with some stupid military metaphors thrown in.

One of my close colleagues has just tested positive. He was very ill but is fortunately now on the mend. It's brought it home.

Honestly if you were my colleague (and who knows, you might be!) I would advise you to stay at home if you are feeling as you do. Maybe in a week or so you will feel ready to return when some of the rest of us are finding it too much and can't cope. As you say, we are in it for the long haul and mental health matters.

Also the Covid swab test is only 75% accurate with good technique, so if you think you have symptoms, self-isolate (don't assume it's anxiety).

Hobbitfeet32 Sun 12-Apr-20 20:21:45

I bet you’re a dietitian. I hear you.

Mylittlepony374 Sun 12-Apr-20 20:22:30

Cooking has good advice.
You are in a tough situation and I really feel for you x

whataboutbob Sun 12-Apr-20 20:42:42

I’m thinking dietitian too. And I am one.

Lougle Sun 12-Apr-20 20:53:59

If you are a dietician you are invaluable to these patients. Remember that if the symptom threads on here are anything to go by, many patients you see will have had much reduced food intake for many days before you see them, so your expertise with potential refeeding syndrome will be vital. You do massively valuable work - I used to be an ITU nurse and we relied on the support dieticians gave hugely. flowers

bambinis Sun 12-Apr-20 21:06:41

No, not a dietician. Not far away though. Dysphagia SLT. We can go on and off 5-10 different wards per day each. Quite similar to dieticians.

In terms of refusing to see without PPE, It's a bit more complex than I can write out here (professional body says one thing, PHE another) but if we don't see the patients, we will be seen as dispensable and moved in to a care role. We seem to be the only one advocating for our role iyswim. If I'm going to work anywhere in the hospital, I want to do my job that I know needs doing. Our manager could care less really.

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