Swapping wedding bells for hospital bleepers to help the NHS

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Lydia and her fiance

Year 5 Student Doctor Lydia Hawker swapped a wedding dress for scrubs last month as she postponed getting married and started volunteering on the front line of the NHS. 

Lydia had planned an Easter Wedding and Croatian honeymoon this April, but instead she spent her time volunteering at Arrowe Park Hospital. Lydia isn't disheartened though as she says she has loved every minute of the experience. 

She told us:   

“The first day we started in our new roles on the wards, I was nervous and felt this sudden added responsibility compared to life as a student doctor. Luckily, I had completed my ward shadow before the volunteering began which has been invaluable for my confidence and experience working on a ward.

Overall, volunteering does feel a lot like my ward shadow, with that extra responsibility.

There have been difficult and stressful days, but generally, feeling like a proper member of the team and being fully involved in the management of my patients has been so rewarding.

The most nerve-wracking experience so far was when a patient called me over complaining of central crushing chest pain. My initial thought was to find a doctor to review the patient, when I realised that this part of my role now and actually, I should be reviewing the patient myself first.

I took it back to the basic principles we are taught at the School of Medicine, ordered investigations and formulated a plan before presenting to a senior on the ward. That day made me realise quite how far I have come since I first started four years ago."

Lydia has found it inspiring to work alongside other NHS professionals during this challenging time: "There is a definite camaraderie on the wards and amongst the other students volunteering.  We were instantly welcomed and repeatedly thanked for joining the hospital at this time. I am so grateful for the support I have received on the wards as I know there will always be someone to ask for help from if I need it."

"This role has obviously been a huge change for us as student doctors, but everyone in the NHS has had to cope with massive changes, from staffing sickness levels to working outside specialty and regular protocol changes. Despite this, all staff remain upbeat, supportive and caring, to both other staff and patients." 

Lydia and her fiancé have rebooked their wedding for January 2021, where they are hoping to celebrate safely with family and friends, and are planning to honeymoon in Reykjavik.