Queen’s Nurse Nina Tidey talks about her experience of Test and Trace during the Covid-19 pandemic
I first heard of the Test and Trace clinical contact tracer role and Covid-19 clinical advisor role via the return to NHS scheme. My normal role is as a prescribing nurse practitioner in out-of-hours and I also run my own aesthetics business.
I have been on maternity leave for the last few years and now I have a one year old and two year old! I was due to return from maternity leave just as the pandemic started, but my partner is very high risk so I took unpaid leave to stay at home.
I could not work remotely in my usual role but I wanted to see how I could help in other ways. I wanted to do my part as a nurse and felt these new roles were making a significant difference, enabling us to fight the spread of the virus.
I completed the NHS Professionals/Public Health England training remotely via videos and read lots of scenarios and policies/SOPS (standard operating procedures). I completed numerous training modules for the 111 service, including understanding the IT system, polices/SOP and learning about the available services to refer people on to.
Test and Trace
For Test and Trace, my role involves contacting Covid-positive patients and finding out who they have been in contact with. Others will then contact those people to advise them to self-isolate. I give practical advice on how to self-isolate and stay safe. I also need to assess people who feel unwell and have symptoms to report, whom I can then signpost further.
111 Covid-19 Clinical Advisor
Within my 111 role, I contact potentially positive patients and confirmed positive patients who have contacted the 111 service for help. I assess people over the phone and make a clinical decision if they can self-care or need further assessment, including calling an ambulance if necessary. This has been challenging as I’m unable to see people face to face. It has been a steep learning curve and I very much enjoy applying my skills in a different way. I find this role very rewarding.
I have found both of these roles have given me greater insight and additional skills in delivering the best care to patients at this time.
Overall the process of registration and deployment has been easy, but I expected to have a few teething problems, as with any new project. I am impressed at the speed these new services have been set up: I have set up new services on a very small scale compared to Test and Trace/Covid 111 that have taken a significant amount of time!
I am enjoying having new like-minded colleagues and undertaking new challenges. I would really like to continue this work, as I feel it is really making a difference in a time I never thought I would see in my nursing career.
I am part of a lovely support group for 111 and have enjoyed speaking to nurses in similar situations to myself, returning from retirement and being redeployed from general practice. We are all providing great support to each other.
For Test and Trace we also have a dedicated Queen’s Nurse support group. This has been very much needed in terms of support and general colleague discussions. I am so happy to have connected with such inspirational Queen’s Nurses and we all hope one day to meet each other! I am a very proud Queen’s Nurse.
Nina Tidey QN