All smiles on the frontline – SESLHD staff stay positive in lockdown 2.0

The current COVID-19 outbreak has significantly impacted the daily lives of all SESLHD staff – from continuously checking the numerous venues of concern in south-eastern Sydney and wearing masks at all times, to caring for COVID-19 positive patients and implementing new visitor policies.
On top of this, staff are juggling the challenges that often come with the winter period, including an increase in presentations to ED – and this year, a baby boom!
The team members at the COVID-19 Testing Clinic at Prince of Wales Hospital have swabbed hundreds of patients a day over the past month, operating for extended hours to meet the increase in demand.
Led by Nurse Unit Manager Sophie Wu, clinic staff have again stepped up to the task, but have a secret weapon to keep spirits high – music!
Megan Young, Ward Clerk, has worked at the clinic since the pandemic first began, and said the top genres on rotation are '80s and '90s classic hits.
“It’s pretty much what you hear on Smooth FM!” Ms Young said. "We choose the music based on what mood we’re in, but it’s always a selection that’s uplifting.
“Not only does background music help us keep our energy levels up, we’ve noticed it has a great impact on the patients – it can be a nice distraction while they’re waiting, and keep their minds at ease if they’re feeling anxious about getting a COVID-19 test.
“When a favourite song comes on, we’ll sometimes even start singing and dancing behind our PPE – the purpose that we’re here for is really serious but, almost 18 months since restrictions were first introduced, it’s important to find ways to enjoy the work we’re doing as part of the COVID-19 response."
Over at the Royal Hospital for Women, staff have been kept on their toes, as the hospital experiences a ‘baby boom’. 
Postnatal midwives have been powering through this exciting, albeit busy, time by embracing an unexpected but very positive outcome that has resulted from NSW Health’s current visitor policy.
Michelle Carati, Acting Clinical Manager of Postnatal Services, Royal Hospital for Women, said whilst it is a special experience when friends and family visit a brand new baby in hospital, many of her patients have embraced the one-on-one time with their little ones.

“Every cloud has a silver lining,” Ms Carati said. “It’s been wonderful to see the beginnings of a new family unit, with parents given the space to bond with their bubs.”

“It’s also encouraging to see our new mums take a breather, and practice some self-care at a time that they would otherwise be entertaining.
“We appreciate it’s difficult for some, however we are here to protect our new arrivals, not only from COVID, but also other viruses during these winter months.

“We are still able to provide all of our education classes, lactation and home visiting services – and our patients tell us they’ve got plenty of presents and food deliveries waiting for them at home from loved ones – so they don’t feel as though they’re missing out.”

Prince of Wales Hospital and Royal Hospital for Women staff say whilst they are looking forward to life returning as normal, they stand by their glass half full outlook – it’s the little things!

Staff outside POWH COVID Clinic