Changing practice COVID-19 On the Wards Well-being & Self Care

Junior Doctors and Covid-19

As the Covid19 crisis has unfolded there have been many high level discussions and planning sessions within health services. Much of this is still filtering down to junior staff.
C-foam will provide information of importance to junior doctors, including updates about training and accreditation.
Please post any questions you may have.

Expect changes in how hospitals are staffed. Consultants are likely to be present for extended hours. There may be more shift work from senior staff.

Only refer to information and guidelines that are relevant to your facility. There is a lot of conflicting information available on-line.

You may be ‘protected” from the sickest patients. Most major resuscitations and all intubations will be performed by the most experienced operator.

You will be asked to work overtime and shifts of different lengths (8 hours up to 12 hours). If you work overtime it is up to you to do this safely. You must manage your own fatigue. You must remain reliable to work your rostered shifts. There may be a long period where we are required to work under difficult conditions – it is important that the healthcare workforce remains able to respond for a prolonged period of time. Do not allow yourself to be overworked in the initial response, we need to have some reserve.

You probably haven’t done sufficient training in PPE. Most training has involved watching someone else don and take off PPE, or watching videos. Experience during the last SARS outbreak showed that staff who were not adequately training in PPE had a higher chance of being infected. You must always have a buddy or spotter watching you.

DO NOT TAKE CHANCES. Do not take short cuts. If you are young and become infected then, while you may be less likely to die, you still have a reasonable chance of developing a severe infection with hospitalisation.

If you do become infected you may also inadvertantly infect patients, your workmates and your families. You have a wider responsibility to society to ensure you work and live safely, and remain vigilant.

There must be clear communication between junior and senior staff. You should feel able to ask questions and seek clarification from those supervising you. Any concerns should be quickly escalated to your local Medical Education Unit or your Director of Medical Services.

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Richard Whitaker

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