I joined the NMC's Covid-19 temporary register because I wanted to contribute to the national vaccination effort. However, I was initially nervous and questioned whether I had a place in nursing still as I had been off the register for a few years due to my career and family. During lockdown, I have also been home schooling my two children so I was unsure how it would work.
I soon got past the nerves and following my training and initial deployment at the vaccination hub, my spark for nursing returned and I remembered why I love it. The temporary register re-opened the door for me and I quickly realised that no matter what role I had, I was helping. You don't just need to be in the Nightingale hospitals or on hospital wards to make a difference.
Working in the vaccination hub is incredibly humbling and powerful. The people I have met and their personal stories have really stood out to me and at times have caught me off guard. I thought I was well versed in the emotional side of the pandemic as I have wider family who have been shielding and who have been impacted by Covid-19, but some of the people and memories will stay with me forever.
I feel privileged to be with people as they take their first steps outside again
A moment that stands out to me was during a shift when a woman came to the hub in a fabulous gold and silver coat - she really stood out. When she took off the coat she was dressed as a zebra. To see what this moment - being vaccinated - meant to someone and to be part of the experience was really powerful.
On the same day I vaccinated a woman who had recently given birth. She was very nervous and wasn't completely comfortable about being outside and also having the vaccination. I drew on my experience working in clinical trials and explained the data behind the vaccine which helped calm her nerves. But most importantly, I listened to her. Moments like these reminded me that I was right to return.
As I look back on that day, I realise the personal journey that I have been on and I am so grateful for the experience. When I joined the temporary register I was worried about being a burden and didn't realise just how much I could contribute to people's lives.
It gives me great pride to know that I have played my part and that people will remember the interactions we shared as they took huge steps back to living as normally as possible. Importantly, I realise that if we have lots of people giving a little bit of their time and skills, then we can help get everyone vaccinated.
I know I have the skills that can help people and that are relevant
Despite my initial hesitance to let people know I was on the temporary register, I have been humbled by the response of the people that I have met and to hear their stories. Many people have been incredibly positive about it when I have told them and I am now proud to tell people that I am on the temporary register.
My experiences at the hub have really brought home that at the heart of nursing, it is about the people. By the end of the shift it was quite emotional to have taken such a big step. I had not really left the house and my two children for almost a year and to step into a clinical environment with people feeling a range of emotions, it really was powerful. But the overwhelming feeling for me was my pride, I felt like a nurse again.
This time will definitely stay with me and I am surprised at how flexible it has been. I have helped to train people vaccinate and have loved feeling part of a team again. It has definitely given me the confidence to consider joining the register permanently in the future if my personal circumstances allow it.