Nenagh Hospital resumes normal services after five months battling Covid-19
AFTER five tumultuous months helping to battle the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, staff at Nenagh Hospital are gradually resuming endoscopy, surgical day services, pre-operative assessment, outpatient clinics and other services that were pared back in anticipation of the COVID-19 surge.
The hospital’s perioperative and theatre staff have also been returning to their Tipperary in recent weeks, after several anxious months on the critical care frontline at University Hospital Limerick.
It has been a transformative time for all staff across the hospital’s departments.
Catering, hygiene and support staff have undergone thorough training in putting on and taking off the personal protective equipment (PPE) that now figures significantly in their duties.
Healthcare staff who were reassigned to medical inpatient ward duties had to train in documentation, medication management and other core tasks specific to their roles with teams that were unfamiliar to them.
“I think this will make us a better hospital going forward,” said Cathrina Ryan, director of nursing at Nenagh Hospital. “We all have stood in one another’s shoes. There is a greater understanding of and appreciation for what everyone does. There is a new level of rapport and understanding between staff in all parts of the hospital, and it positions us more effectively to face any challenge.”
Noreen Hough, the hospital’s assistant director of nursing, agreed that their effort had been absolutely enormous, and that it was probably only now they were beginning to appreciate what they have been through since March.
This sense of a gradual realisation of the enormity of the local Covid-19 response is in evidence across the hospital.
Registrar in medicine Dr Tauseef Mohyuddin, who has been in his post at Nenagh for the past three years, said that he was initially self-conscious about frontline staff being referred to as heroes.
“Initially, I wondered about those terms. To be honest, I felt a little like a bystander as we did not know much about the virus, and we were not able to help people as much as we would have liked,” he said.
However, as their confidence grew, he began to realise that they were all trying to help each other to help sick people as much as possible. “It is such a unique and honourable time to be a medic,” he said.
Anne Starr, catering officer at Nenagh Hospital for the past 23 years, applauded her team for responding to infection prevention and control measures that were on a scale beyond anything they may have imagined.
“There were three main challenges: helping staff to cope with feelings of uncertainty and fear, staff with possible symptoms having to self-isolate, get tested and wait for results, and managing social distancing within the department and canteen," she said.