I found the persistent media reports about a viral disease on the rampage in China disconcerting. I hoped it was going to be a fleeting outbreak, gone within a couple of months and long before it reached the UK.
Sadly that wasn’t the case. Within a couple of months people started returning from abroad to be faced with quarantine, schools were shut and by mid-March the whole country went into lockdown. Within such a short space of time we all found ourselves learning to navigate a completely new lifestyle. No one was prepared and everyone had to quickly learn how to do things very differently.
Home working, social distancing, PPE and other rules became the norm. Virtual meetings became the new way to socialise with colleagues, family and friends. There was hardly any life on the streets and everything felt unusually quiet. You had to really look for things to cheer you up. I have fond memories of the ‘thankful Thursdays’, when we would all stand outside our homes at 8:00 pm and clap for our carers. I’m still clapping for them and I plan to join in the biggest applaud yet at 5 pm on Sunday 5 July, the NHS’s 72nd birthday.
Fast forward three months and the rules are gradually being relaxed in response to the reduction in COVID-19 cases. We are starting to see some normality returning to the public arena; families and friends are now able to see each other providing they adhere to the rules. This development has engendered an air of relief and excitement because people have missed each other, but also, understandably, some anxiety. With this relaxation of the rules, those in vulnerable situations who have been shielding now potentially have to deal with extra worries about their safety.
With the COVID-19 situation changing so frequently, it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of things. The RCN is here to support our nursing staff who have continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic. There is a wealth of information on our webpages that has been updated regularly to keep everyone informed. Whatever your circumstances, the RCN is here for you.