Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

I’ve been putting off writing this one again. I feel like there’s pressure (I do know it’s only in my head) to be upbeat and put on a brave face and ideally not disgrace critical care nurses and my profession as a whole. I’m gonna stick with the not disgracing my profession, but for the rest, I’m just going to shoot for honesty. I closed the doors of the Covid ITU on the anniversary of the first lockdown. But for us it isn’t over. We got precisely no respite. The non-covid ITU was filling up and is now overflowing, and…


Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

I haven’t checked in for a while and I feel like I should. But I don’t know what to say. The worst is happening. Everything I feared is coming to pass.

Right now my 12 bedded ITU is currently caring for 31 people. We have transferred around 10 others out to other ITU’s just to give us more space. We are sending them all over the country. Anywhere there is a free bed.

We are cramming people in to our existing areas like sardines. Because we don’t have enough nurses to open a new area. A new area means you…


Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

I'm starting to feel like a harbinger of doom. Everytime I say 'I'm scared that...' it happens. The only thing that hasn't happened yet is people fainting in their PPE, thank goodness. But late presentation of very sick people, check. Relaxed too far and got a nice second wave, check. And now we're on for wave three. I live in the south east, which looks to be heading into exponential growth right now. So we have just received the news that we are entering Tier 4. Which was not a thing until yesterday. We now have tier 1 - medium…


Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

I’d like to talk about Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) Orders. It’s a delicate subject and, believe it or not, I’ve not always been famed for my tact, so I’m a bit scared to approach this one. But I figure if it’s not the easiest topic for me to talk about, it must be a lot worse for people who’ve never contemplated the subject before. I am aware that I see a lot more death than most, particularly in the last year. It’s unusual for most people to see a dead person these days, for me it’s probably well into…


Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Just because it isn't illegal to meet your family at Christmas doesn't make it a good idea.

Covid is really contagious. Much more so than flu. So let's assume if you are in prolonged close contact and one of you has it, it will spread. The question becomes could you have it and not know? How certain are you? Let's not forget you could have it and be totally asymptomatic. Would you stake your life on it? Would you stake your families lives?

Because that's what it comes down to. Short term gain and long term loss. Maybe not for…


Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

The second peak has officially begun. In the space of a week the number of patients admitted to our Covid ITU more than doubled. At the time I write this we are into double figures and looking at spilling into our thirdCovid bay. We’re back in our converted emergency department (ITU2), which is split into four bays and the main ITU is nearly full. It has been mentioned that we might open the final bay in ITU2 as a non-Covid area because its more separate from the others and it keeps us operating two distinct units. Managing multiple satellite areas…


Photo by Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash

Title kinda says it all really. We knew it was going to happen, the question was always not if but when, and more importantly, how badly? I’ll be honest, it looks bad. I’m struggling to interpret the numbers compared to Mar/Apr, what with the increase in testing. I’m inclined to listen to the experts personally, and their warnings for weeks now have been pretty dire. I’m afraid for the people who won’t present to the hospital. We saw a lot of them after the last peak and they were all so sick. And the people whose treatment has been delayed…


Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

We don’t have any Covid patients in ITU right now. But we’ve been seeing the impact of lockdown on people who have other health conditions. There have been a lot more out of hospital cardiac arrests. This means that your heart goes into a rhythm which doesn’t produce an effective heart beat — at this point you are dead. The people we see in ITU have been successfully resuscitated, but sadly having not had a cardiac output for a while there is a risk that a brain injury could have been sustained due to a lack of oxygen. The survival…


Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

It’s been quiet lately. (To all of my colleagues: I’ve done it. I’ve said the q-word, sorry in advance) This is both good and bad. It’s good because with fewer people in, life is easier at work and we’re getting a very much needed break. We are also catching up on stuff that was left by the wayside when we were manic. Getting ducks in a row for if it gets bad again.

But where are the patients?! If you ignore Covid for a moment, there is always a steady trickle into ITU. Heart attacks, head injuries, major surgeries, severe…


Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

We’ve relocated to the old A+E department so that if a second peak comes we’ve got a better area for Covid patients. It comes with some downsides, the area we’re in at the moment is seriously lacking in storage so everything is on various trollies. It’s not the biggest space and then fill it with patients and all the equipment that goes along with them, plus a bunch of extra trollies… there isn’t space to swing a cat. Geographically, ITU and the old A+E (now affectionately known as ITU2) are literally opposite end of the hospital. This is a bit…

Kat Hargraves

Critical Care Nurse, Masters Student, Really not a morning person.

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