Nurse switches from neurosurgery to Covid-19 front line

A nurse who normally works with recuperating neurosurgery patients has talked about what it is like caring for people with coronavirus.

Olivia Brock, 28, from Surrey Quays, is one of thousands of NHS staff who have been redeployed to Covid-19 wards.

Australian-born Olivia usually works on King’s College Hospital’s Murray Falconer Ward as a staff nurse, caring for people who have had brain operations.

In March 2020, she was one of many King’s staff who willingly accepted the challenge of joining the front line on King’s College’s Hospital’s Covid-19 wards.

Olivia Brock

She said: “I love working on a busy ward. Sitting still really doesn’t come naturally to me. And the wonderful thing about neurology is that there’s always something new to learn.

“Both my parents are nurses. My mum is a urology specialist and my dad was a ward manager, so I was brought up in a nursing household.

“My little sister is also studying her nursing degree now, so it runs in my family, I guess.

“I’ve always been conscious of following a career path that is in the care sector and I felt it came very naturally.

“Starting work on a Covid-19 ward was a huge step into the unknown, but I didn’t want to let anyone down.

“The first few weeks were a real challenge. We all had to get used to working in our new teams, as well as managing our own anxieties and concerns.

“One of the real stand-out moments of my experience so far has been seeing my colleagues and team-mates step up to the challenge and flourish.

“It’s been a real privilege to work alongside NHS colleagues who retired 15 years ago, and yet rolled up their sleeves to help King’s care for people with Covid-19.

“Despite working in the middle of an unprecedented health pandemic, I’ve made some life-long friendships with my new team.

“I am so proud and humbled to be working within such an inspirational team.

“The constant support and camaraderie of my fellow staff makes an incredible difference in this difficult period. It’s more important now than ever that we take care of each other.

“We don’t know when we will be out of the other side of this, but knowing that I will be surrounded by these wonderful people makes a day on the ward that much easier. They truly are heroes.”

Olivia first worked in Melbourne, then moved to the UK with her British partner and started work at KCH in 2017.

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