• 13 July 2020
  • 5 min read

My Experience Of Returning To Nursing During The Coronavirus Pandemic

  • Thijs Mostert
    Mental Health Nurse
    • Mat Martin
    • Matt Farrah
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Penelope Self
    • Richard Gill
  • 1
  • 1284
"I had been following the developments in Asia since the end of last year and occasionally asked myself if I could do something to help should the virus make its way over here."

Former Nurse, Thijs Mostert, gives his account of joining the The Covid-19 Temporary Register and the overt bureaucracy that led to being offered a position, nearly 3 months into the crisis.

Topics covered in this article

Introduction

Joining The Covid-19 Temporary Register

The Nightingale Hospitals Were The Priority

After Nearly 3 Months, I’d Finally Been Offered A Position

Introduction

My name is Thijs Mostert.

I want to share my experiences as a nurse who has left the profession and has been approached by the NHS to help in these times of crisis.

This is the first article of a two-part series.

In March the world slowly started to realise that the Coronavirus was something we could not ignore.

As an ex nurse I had been following the developments in Asia since the end of last year and occasionally asked myself if I could do something to help should the virus make its way over here.

By now it had reached Italy.

This question was answered by an email I received in my inbox on the 20th of March.

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It was from the NMC explaining they had been asked to create a Covid-19 temporary register for use when the emergency legislation was passed by parliament and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care had advised them that there was a state of emergency.

Joining The Covid-19 Temporary Register

For this they were asking all nurses and midwifes that left the profession within the last 3 years if they were happy to ‘come and help out'.

All registration requirements had been waived if you were joining the Covid-19 temporary register.

This meant you didn’t need to have practised for a minimum number of hours in the last three years and you didn’t need to pay a registration fee.

Naturally you would need to comply with the NMC Code and to work within the scope of your practice.

They also stated they will rely on all applicants to declare that they are of good health and character, which may be confirmed by any prospective employer.

Amazing how rules can be bent in a time of crisis.

I did not have to think long to answer this email.

I wanted to do something.

At the same time, I was worried, we knew even less about the virus then as we know now.

How dangerous is this virus if you have a lot of exposure?

What sort of jobs will I be asked to do?

Would there be enough PPE available?

In my previous job I had been responsible for ordering nursing supplies and remembered that this process was far from streamlined back then.

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Only a week later the temporary register came into force and I was asked to complete a return to work survey so that my skills could be matched to where they were most needed.

They also explained that I would come off the register if the Secretary of State decided the emergency no longer exists, I changed my mind, or the NMC Registrar decided to remove me from this register.

The Nightingale Hospitals Were The Priority

A few weeks after the initial email from the NMC, I received a phone call from Capita.

The government had decided to outsource this recruitment task to them and what followed was a telephone conversation that left me with more questions than answers.

It struck me that I was speaking to someone who clearly knew nothing about nursing and wasn’t even able to tell me if I even got paid to do this work.

I got the impression they were mainly interested in recruiting nurses for the Nightingale hospitals that were popping up all over the country.

I wanted to work but only locally since I did not feel I could leave my family amid this time of adapting and reorganising our lives.

On the 4th of April I received another email with numerous attachments I had to fill out and return followed by an email from someone from ‘the knowledge pool’ asking for more info.

I answered all this and in the following weeks I received an occasional email with the progress of my application.

From what I had seen in the news it looked like the South West of England, where I live, had a relatively small number of cases so the fact I was still waiting made sense.

After Nearly 3 Months, I’d Finally Been Offered A Position

On Monday the 15th of June I received a phone call from Torbay Hospital.

The person was able to tell me they had been passed my details by Capita and were enquiring if I was still interested.

If so they would pass my details onto the coordinator in Torbay to sort out the training requirements (face-to-face and online) for me to start working.

A week later I got the email telling me what I was required to complete to enable me to start work.

As a design student the email made the hairs on my back stand up.

I’ve learned a thing or two about the use of typography and how text can be inviting to read… This email was a monster.

Did I mention there is a need for design in healthcare?

But looking on the bright side, I knew what to do and would soon be able to really help out.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on joining the temporary register 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!

About the author

  • Thijs Mostert
    Mental Health Nurse

In 2017 I gave up nursing after 15 years of working in various healthcare settings in Holland (where I did my training) and in the UK. A mini midlife crisis made me realise I wanted to do something else. I had always missed being able to explore my creative side in the nursing profession and decided to do a master’s in design. My aim is to combine the two disciplines and explore the areas where design and healthcare meet.

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About the author

  • Thijs Mostert
    Mental Health Nurse

In 2017 I gave up nursing after 15 years of working in various healthcare settings in Holland (where I did my training) and in the UK. A mini midlife crisis made me realise I wanted to do something else. I had always missed being able to explore my creative side in the nursing profession and decided to do a master’s in design. My aim is to combine the two disciplines and explore the areas where design and healthcare meet.

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    • Penelope Self 3 months ago
      Penelope Self
    • Penelope Self
      3 months ago

      It may have taken a while for you to get sorted but I contacted my Hospital where I had worked ... read more