Intensive Caring

27 May 2020

First year journalism student Jack Goodwin reports on the experiences of UCLan physiotherapy lecturer Amy Parkes who’s returned to the NHS frontline to treat Covid-19 patients.

The NHS clap has given us all time to reflect but it’s the right time to end it – that’s the verdict of a Lancashire physiotherapist.

Amy Parkes, a lecturer practitioner in physiotherapy at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) agreed to go back and work in the intensive care unit at Royal Preston Hospital in March as demand increased for staffing when the pandemic was declared.

Around the same time, the ‘Clap for the NHS’ began as people in lockdown took to their doorsteps to show their appreciation of staff caring for the sick.

Amy said she was proud of the Thursday evening spectacle, though at times it could be overwhelming.

She said: “We appreciate the clapping and my children joined us on the doorstep as neighbours acknowledged I was a frontline worker, so it gave my children a chance to be part of it too.

“It’s also given staff a weekly moment to reflect on what we are doing and for us to share our emotions just a little before getting back to work.”

But for Amy, it’s now time for communities to recognise there are now many more people engaged in the road back to ‘normality’.

She said: “We’ve been on that road to safety for a few months now, but others such as shop workers and teachers are about to go along the same path so it’s about them now too.

“We’ll continue to help our patients and our colleagues, and hopefully we can all be safer.”

Amy has continued to balance teaching with working in ICU, and she’s also been producing a weekly podcast, Intensive Caring, in a project with UCLan’s journalism students.

The podcast highlights the important work being done by her NHS colleagues during the current pandemic as she shares  positive experiences of working within a strong team during a national crisis.
Amy said: “Each week we are inviting different guests who are talking about their experiences and it’s a brilliant way to capture the rollercoaster, which is clinical work” 

Life has been a lot busier for the mother-of-two as she juggles treating patients with online lectures for students as well as podcasting. 

"I’ve realised that this whole situation will really influence my future teaching and will hopefully be very beneficial to the students."

She added: “The teamwork in ICU is absolutely incredible and I feel so happy to be part of that and to be able to use the skills and experience I have, to help in some way.”

“It’s really difficult to put my finger on how and why, we have got to the point as a department, that I genuinely now look forward to going to work; I wasn’t at that place two months ago.” 
“On a Monday morning, I’m keen to go in and see what people need. Sometimes it’s giving practical hands-on support and sometimes it’s just listening to the worries of the patients and staff.” 
Amy, who already worked one day at week at the hospital, said she was anxious about taking on more especially with concerns about the safety for medical staff, but is grateful for the support from UCLan.

She said: “ I’ve realised that this whole situation will really influence my future teaching and will hopefully be very beneficial to the students.”
You can hear about Amy’s week at the Royal Preston Hospital, by listening to the Intensive Caring Podcast, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other outlets.

Amy Parkes in PPE
Amy Parkes in PPE