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Covid-19 impacted all health students, but particularly those in their final year of study. Cutting through the uncertainty, however, was determination, agility and self-efficacy – all core creative capabilities.

In this article, Jamie Holden, a final year physiotherapy student at the University of East London, shares his experience of working in NHS Nightingale London and supporting the response to Covid-19.

My name is Jamie Holden, I am a final year physiotherapy student, studying at the University of East London (UEL). I was invited along to help out at the NHS Nightingale London by my academic advisor, Liz Nicholls, around late March time. My role there, along with other volunteers, was to help enrol clinical staff at the hospital and assist them in finding their training areas, as the ExCel London is rather massive! The training areas included activities, such as learning how to: correctly wear and remove PPE; effectively communicate whilst wearing PPE; and manually handle COVID patients, all of which we were encouraged to join in with by the staff. I did this for about a week before being called off onto my final clinical placement at another hospital, which was unfortunately (albeit, understandably) cut short due to the Covid-19 situation.

Not content with sitting idle, I got back in touch with Liz who informed me that the training had moved over to The O2, and again invited me along to help out. This time, my role has been looking at how UEL physiotherapy students could facilitate the onsite faculty team in helping train staff and volunteers in the manual handling Covid-19 patients. The team were delighted to have the additional support and glad to be able to offer such a great learning opportunity.

During my time volunteering, all I can say is that the feelings I had were ones of great pride and admiration. The team coordinating the sites’ day-to-day organisation really hit the ground running and were fantastic at making sure things ran smoothly and on time. The training staff were also just so enthusiastic and accommodating, as were the many volunteers (clinical and non-clinical), who applied in their thousands to help out. Finally, the NHS staff who arrived in their waves, were just so ready and willing, it was truly inspiring to see and be a part of, all of which, really reinforced my belief that choosing a career in healthcare was the best decision I’ve ever made.

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28th May 2020