- 01 October 2020
- 7 min read
My Experience Of Joining The Covid-19 Temporary Register
Following up a previous blog on returning to nursing during the pandemic, Former Nurse, Thijs Mostert, describes the technical hiccups that have further delayed the process.
Topics covered in this article
This is part two of my blog in which I describe my journey back into the NHS as a temporary member of staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the first part, I described the way I had been approached by various people at the start of the pandemic to see whether I was interested in a return to my previous role and what needed to be done to accomplish this.
The Biggest Recruitment Programme In The History Of The NHS
I’m picking things up again with an email I received from the ‘Bringing back staff – South West team' informing me I was now part of the biggest recruitment programme in the history of the NHS and also that the NHS needed additional capacity so staff could take their well-earned leave and have recovery time, as well as continue to address the future profile of COVID-19.
The email stated there would be a range of ways in which my clinical expertise could provide that: part-time, full-time or on a casual basis, working on-site and remotely.
Just over a week later, I received an email from Torbay Hospital telling me they had been passed my details and confirmation that I was now to progress to the next stage of this process.
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Attached was a form for me to fill in with some personal details and uniform sizes for me to complete.
I was also asked to upload a passport-style photo for my ID card.
I complied to this request the following day.
The week after I got bombarded with overdue notifications from the training website HIVE when I checked this with the training team they were able to tell me to ignore these and stick to the training that will be set up for me.
I received confirmation of these training days shortly after.
Technical Hiccups With Online Training
The first online training day, RGN Clinical induction, was straightforward apart from a later starting time than what I was told and a few technical hiccups during the day with sound issues but that is to be expected for a training that is normally run face-to-face and had to be organised a fairly short notice.
It was an interesting course and it became evident that the NHS had made some technical progressions since the last time I worked in an acute setting 10 years ago.
I missed the personal interaction during this day and in my opinion, more can be done to make the group feel at ease in those training sessions by doing a simple introduction as to who is who and why are different people are undertaking the training.
The second online training day proved to be a bit more of a communication failure.
When I tried to logon to Microsoft Teams in the morning of the day of the training it turned out I had not been sent the link to join.
There was also a confusing message in this email telling me it was to be done at the hospitals training centre.
Was I meant to go in for this after all?
This was at 8:30 in the morning and trying to resolve this I telephoned the number given with the invitation to this training but the only thing I got to hear was a recorded voice telling me the office did not open till 9 am that morning.
The training started at 9 am too.
The only thing I could do was jump in my car and take the 40-minute drive to the Hospital.
On arrival there, I was told the training was only to be done online.
Thankfully the staff at the training centre was very helpful and I was given a login link and I could sign on as a guest in the Hospital Library.
The only downside to this was that I could not use my microphone, but I could still ask questions using the chat function.
Suspending The Temporary Register Before I’d Even Started
In between doing the first and second training day I was very surprised to receive an email.
In this email, the NHS thanked me for volunteering for the Bring Back Staff National Scheme during the COVID-19 outbreak.
But as I was probably aware (???), the temporary COVID nursing register would be suspended in September and after this time I would need to register for a permanent pin if I wished to continue working.
I hadn’t even started yet, nor had I completed my training! In my opinion, the closing down of this register during this pandemic was a bit premature.
Why not complete what I have started so I would be ready when they did need me?
On clarifying this I was told I must have received this email in error.
As it turned out, I was on a different register that wasn’t closing.
Very strange but at least I could continue my journey.
The story takes another surprising turn when I get a phone call from the ‘Hospital Bank’ asking me for my availability.
Understandably I was excited to receive this phone call, but I had to disappoint them because I had not completed all the training.
Face To Face Training With Social Distancing
The face to face training covering the BLS and the Manual handling turned out to be very odd.
As I said the training was to be undertaken at a local hospital.
On arrival I was given a mask, and, in the corridors, I was to have this mask on.
The training room was a large room with chairs spread over two meters apart.
BLS and Manual handling don’t mix well with social distancing.
The two people having to give 6 of us this training had to overcome many challenges in the delivery of these topics, and they did well, using many videos and demonstrations to try and engage us with these topics.
I did leave with a strong feeling that not being able to properly practise these things in a training environment devaluates this training significantly.
I understand that this is the best they could do at the time.
After this, I was drip fed with more information about things I had to do before I could start work.
This included a maths test, uniform fitting and the production of an ID badge, taking another photo.
I guess the photo I had sent originally was not good enough.
So there we are.
I completed all this on the 7th of September and at the time of writing this, the 23rd of September I still have not heard from them.
I have chased them up today. I hope my next blog will be about my experiences on the ward.
Let me know in the comments your thoughts on the returning to Nursing and what I've said about my experience - let's chat there!
Oh, and please Like this article to let me know you enjoyed it - thank you!