A growing number of former NHS staff are returning to the fold to support their colleagues in caring for patients during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Ex-colleagues – some who have retired or changed career – have decided to take on both paid and volunteer roles in clinical areas at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, playing an important part in the local response to the virus.
All those returning to join this growing ‘NHS army’ – with 96 nursing and medical professionals now back at the trust alone – have been given a full induction and training to help them hit the ground running.
Among them is Amanda Radford, who has come out of retirement to support the trust as a senior sister and nurse educator, working in critical care.
The 58-year-old – who lives in Shefford, Bedfordshire – is back working at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital, and here explains why she decided to return less than three years after retiring.
Question: Why did you want to return to the NHS?
Amanda: Although I was on NHS Professionals [an organisation which supplies temporary staff to the NHS] and did occasional resuscitation training sessions, at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak I understood the implications this would have on critical care – my specialist area – so I wanted to help in a more permanent capacity. Some of my old colleagues had asked if I would like to come back to assist, so I did!
Q: Is there anything unusual/exciting/surprising that’s happened to you since you came back?
A: It was amazing how quickly years’ worth of critical care knowledge came back to me. I have been teaching redeployed staff about critical care, helping to ease their concerns. I have had positive feedback from these sessions and from the sessions on A-E [head to toe] examination skills I have carried out with doctors who are returning to the frontline.
Q: Tell us a bit about your NHS career before retirement
A: Prior to retiring in June 2017, I worked in the NHS for 37 years – 36 of those in different critical care units including St Mary’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where I completed a university paediatric intensive care course, and Bristol Royal Infirmary – where I undertook my adult critical care course spending time in general, cardiothoracic, neurological and renal critical unit areas.
For 27 years of my career, up until my retirement, I was working in Lister Hospital’s critical care unit in various roles – as a sister, senior sister, and a clinical nurse educator. During this time I also completed a BSc honours degree in critical care.
Q: And what were you doing before you came back?
A: I kept myself busy by going to my local Bannatyne gym and I was learning Italian at the Hitchin Language Centre. I was also travelling, visiting cities in Italy and other parts of Europe.
Q: What would your message be to those in your field who are considering a return to the NHS?
A: Once a nurse, always a nurse. It’s your chance to care for those who need us.
Have you worked for the trust previously as an allied health professional, clinical support worker, health care assistant, registered nurse or midwife, or an administrator in a clinical setting?
If so, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust wants to hear from you. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options with us, including flexible hours to suit you.