During 2020 many LKS staff across the North rapidly mobilised into a variety of roles across their organisations to support the response to the Covid-19 Pandemic. In the second of 2 articles, 9 of these staff reflect upon their experiences and share their advice for anyone considering redeployment.
What would be your advice to someone about to be redeployed?
Responses to this question reflected the wide-ranging mixture of both positive and negative experiences, emotions, and outcomes of redeployment during a pandemic, drawn together however with the almost unanimous message that the experience is eminently worthwhile and to just “Go for it!”
A positive opportunity
Many of the positive experiences given in response to the earlier question “What was the best thing?” are echoed here, including a great opportunity for learning, developing transferrable skills, networking, working alongside “amazing people”, gaining a much wider understanding of the organisation and greater insight into the experiences and needs of clinical staff. Replicated too was the positive feeling that came with “contributing towards the pandemic in a more direct way.” In addition is the sense of this being an unprecedented opportunity to try something new, and step outside your comfort zone, whilst still having the security of your usual role to return to.
Practical advice - Be proactive, assertive and look after yourself
Practical advice centred around being proactive, not being “afraid to ask if you aren’t sure” about anything, to “find out as much as you can about the role you are being deployed to in advance,” to check that you have “the physical attributes to do the role” and to ensure you “get adequate training.” This was underpinned by the need for assertiveness, to put “boundaries” in place and to speak up if training isn’t forthcoming and “know who the go to person is” if you encounter a problem. There was also the reminder to “look after yourself as well.”
“Be prepared for it to be scary and difficult but enjoy the process … it’s worth it.”
Staff expressed consensus that redeployment was challenging both mentally and emotionally. One third of those interviewed described the experience as “scary”, 2/9 as “stressful” and 1 as feeling “like you have no control.” However there was much reassurance around this. Several respondents described the support that people would receive from the teams with which they were redeployed, asserting that “everyone is in the same boat” and that “colleagues will be understanding and supportive” and “will really value your support.” Others normalised the feelings of worry around work in an unfamiliar role, with 1 stating that
“it’s normal to feel disoriented and out of place at the start, expect to feel “I don’t know what I’m doing“ because you’re doing a new job…in circumstances where nothing is known and everything has changed… so it’s ok to feel anything that you feel at that point.”
Another stated “be prepared for it to be scary and difficult but enjoy the process …it is rewarding and the people you meet and things you learn, it’s worth it.”
This is echoed by another interviewee’s assertion that “you can do it and you are adaptable; you’ve already adapted to different things around COVID-19, you’re still here …you will adapt and find joy in it and probably get a great deal of pleasure out of it.”
“Go for it”
Throughout the 9 interview questions, covering the highs, lows, challenges and rewards of redeployment during a pandemic, LKS staff have shown candour, adaptability and courage and expressed an overwhelming sense of positivity, resilience and grit. Indeed the general consensus of most staff has on balance been to just “go for it!” “Give it a go!” “Just do it!” and to “make the most of it.” “I would say go with an open mind”, “look at it as an opportunity rather than a penalty” and “you’re going to get a lot out of it.”
Health Education England
Knowledge & Evidence Service Manager
Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
NHS LKS Development Manager
Health Education England