"A little understanding and a human touch, is a powerful force” | #TeamBartsHealth blogs

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"A little understanding and a human touch, is a powerful force”

Alex is a foundation year doctor, who is based at the Royal London Hospital. He is working alongside all of our amazing frontline staff, to help fight Covid-19. We caught up with Alex, to find out more about why he decided to become a doctor and what it has been like working during a global pandemic.

Alex said: “I am proud to have trained at St Barts and the London medical school, right on the doorstep of the Royal London Hospital. I spent five years training at Barts Health and across East London, so it is fantastic to be able to work here as a foundation doctor. Before I went into medicine, I graduated with a degree in natural sciences and was wondering what to do next. I have always been interested in biology and I wanted a career where I could work closely with people, whilst doing something positive. My brother and I are the only doctors in our family. Choosing medicine was one of my greatest decisions and I haven’t looked back!”.

Alex is part of an emergency Covid-19 rota, which staffs one of the medical ‘pods’ covering wards 10E, 10F, and 11C. He says: “I was lucky enough to have joined the very welcoming gastroenterology and endocrine teams. Previously, I had worked for four months with the community learning disability service at Mile End Hospital, so this has been a big change”.

The first year working as a doctor can be very daunting, especially with so much uncertainty around the current pandemic. Alex said: “It can be really difficult moving teams and specialities, as we rotate every four months and medical school will never fully prepare you for this type of virus. However, on the flip side, I have been able to learn from such a wide range of expertise and I have always found everyone on the wards extremely supportive and understanding. I’ve experienced first-hand the great culture of teaching and learning within medicine and this has helped me develop in my first year as a doctor”.

Alex gave us some insight, into what it has been like fighting Covid-19 on the frontline, he said: “It has been a challenge adapting to all the changes that Covid-19 has brought. There are of course new rotas and unfamiliar wards for us to manage as staff. But most importantly, I have seen how incredibly difficult it can be for our patients who are not allowed the usual comfort of visitors, even at the end of life. Despite this, I have seen a lot of optimism and people recovering against the odds.  As a doctor, it has been a fascinating time. I have seen our collective knowledge of Covid-19 evolve so rapidly. Which has in turn, guided ongoing improvements in care, week by week”.

We asked Alex to share, what experience he will take away from working during a pandemic, he said: “I’ve personally learnt so much from the various medical teams, that I’ve been fortunate enough to work with. I have felt very well supported day to day and continually reassured by good staffing levels and senior support always on hand”.

Alex kindly shared a final quote: “I’ve seen that even a small amount of compassion, either between colleagues or towards patients, can go a long way. We are all people with our own worries and anxieties, so a little understanding and a human touch, is a powerful force”.

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