COVID-19 Ward 7 East nurse, Bunita Sharma, admits she was nervous and anxious when she knew she’d be looking after patients with coronavirus.
“I felt like it was going into a war zone – you have to get yourself dressed appropriately in your PPE and enter the ward,” she said.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, no one has. But this is the time you really need to step out of your comfort zone and do your bit.”
A typical day for Bunita involves arriving at the COVID Ward, dressing in PPE, having her patients assigned to her and then going through a handover with the nurses.
Bunita said it was completely different working on the COVID Ward.
“You have to be so vigilant and to make sure you’re doing everything right to protect you,” she said.
“You have to make sure patients are well too – they’re not allowed visitors or family so you have to reassure them we’re here, we’re in this together and we’re all working together.”
It is often quite challenging work, too.
Some patients had been in hospital with the virus up to 50 days.
“Every patient is different – some of them come from ICU so you have to adapt yourself according to your patient,” Bunita said.
“But to see a patient recover is amazing, you feel immense proudness. It’s a beautiful thing to see.”
Bunita hasn’t felt too concerned about her own health or the need to isolate from her own family, thanks in part to the PPE training she’s received at Austin Health and the policies in place, as well as everyone staying at home and physically distancing.
“Everyone around the hospital and the team, has done an amazing job and put our concerns at ease,” she said.
"Nursing means adapting and I fell so proud that I’m part of an incredible team in 7 East who adapted themselves so well to COVID/SCOVID ward.
"Working together we are overcoming day to day challenges and continue to deliver high quality care to our patients. We’re all doing the right thing and we’re in a good position.”