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Former Wyke science A level student, Erin McCabe is currently in the second year of her Medicine degree at the Hull York Medical School (HYMS). During the summer, Erin took the bold step to enlist at an intensive care unit (ICU) at St Mary’s Hospital, London. Over two months, Erin stayed at a local hotel, whilst supporting the work of the hospital intensive care staff, an experience that was published in the “International Journal of Medical Students”. Here is an extract from her article.

“At most medical schools, I would be in ‘pre-clinical’ years, meaning there would be limited opportunities to encounter patients until later in the course.

At HYMS, thankfully, has frequent clinical exposure from the third course week,  so I had met patients in both primary and secondary care. Although this was a helpful experience, it did not prepare me for my new role in a COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

I managed to successfully get a job in one of the largest healthcare trusts in England and made the difficult decision to move and live in a hotel for two months, far from my home in the north.

I expected a sharp learning curve and had heard of the difficulties faced by healthcare professionals. My family did not quite understand why I was going and they were worried for my safety. I was quite nervous, but I had decided that it was the right thing for me to do.

My job was ‘Bedside Buddy’, a new role created to help support the ICU staff during the pandemic. It involved working one to one with patients, helping with both personal and medical care. This included tasks such as washing and helping to roll patients, stocking the bed spaces, and running arterial blood gases.

One of the most poignant lessons I have taken and want to share about this is the importance of every member of the healthcare team. We always discuss this in medical school, but it is a very different experience being part of the team as a Healthcare Assistant/Bedside Buddy. Everyone is vital in a healthcare, pandemic or not.”

In her second year of medical school, Erin got involved with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, assisting fall patients. To read more about Erin’s experiences, follow her on Twitter @erinvmccabe