09 Nov 2021
In part two of Being a health practitioner during a pandemic, Taking care host Tash Miles speaks one-on-one with two health practitioners about their work and life during the pandemic.
Dr Gavin Wayne is paediatric basic trainee from Victoria who balances working fulltime while studying.
When COVID-19 arrived in Victoria, Dr Wayne had a year’s internship under his belt and was working on a rural rotation. Moving back to the city, he was confronted by the hardships of practising in a pandemic setting, such as working in personal protective equipment.
‘A big part of paediatrics is your ability to connect with a child,’ Dr Wayne says. ‘And when half of your face is covered, with every interaction you have with them it is a lot more difficult to put them at ease. It’s hard to build trust, it’s hard to make connection, it’s hard to make inferences.’
Dr Wayne explains how, as a doctor working in a busy hospital, you always feel that you are a high-risk individual. This has been challenging: ‘It’s the idea that if I do get infected, what is the impact in terms of my colleagues and my workplace, in terms of me not being able to work and not being furloughed as well.’
Registered nurse Ralph Teodoro is also based in Victoria, after moving from the United Arab Emirates. He has spent most of his short career working on the ‘front lines of COVID’ in residential aged-care facilities. He sums the work up as ‘hectic, extraordinary, vicious and fulfilling.’
‘When I prepare myself for a day mentally, I go through what I need to do, and what I may or may not experience, just so I’m mentally prepared,’ Mr Teodoro said.
Both Dr Wayne and Ralph talk about the effect COVID has had on the families of those suffering from the virus, and how sometimes health practitioners have to step in as surrogate family members and support persons.
‘It’s very taxing for one to be put in the shoes of a family member, to act in a family member’s capacity because they’re not allowed to visit and see their loved ones at a time when they’re at their most vulnerable,’ Ralph adds.
Listen to the full episode now. You can also catch up on the first episode in the series here.
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