1 December 2020
We’ve all experienced lockdown during 2020 but our staff in 7 East also had to endure 227 days working behind closed doors in Austin’s COVID ward.
The doors were reopened two weeks ago and Nurse Unit Manager, Rosemary Interlandi, said the seven and a half months stint has brought her team closer together.
“We were all very scared to begin with. It was the fear of the unknown as we were all getting our heads around COVID and the new processes,” Rosemary said.
“But I don’t think the bond we built during COVID will ever be broken.
“I’m just so very proud of all the staff. Their resilience and the fact that kept showing up every day even though they were scared, showed how committed and professional they are in caring for our community. We were determined to beat this disease.
"We’ve become one big COVID family with everyone doing whatever was needed for the patients,” she said.
While it has been a year of challenges, some special things have stood out.
“One of the highlights of the year was having a 94 year old lady be the very first person to be discharged from 7 East after coming to us with COVID,” Rosemary said.
“That happened all the way back in April and it was an amazing thing to see her wheeled out and able to go home to her family.
“The support we received from the community was also incredible. It was almost overwhelming and it meant so much to know we were being supported in this way.
“People contacted us from all over Victoria and the support we received made our scary time bearable,” she said.
Rosemary said that while the ward is getting back to business as usual their COVID role is not over.
“We still have six beds in the ward for patients suspected of having COVID which means some staff are still wearing PPE and going through the same thorough cleaning processes because it’s so important to maintain our standards,” she said.
“We hope that there is not another COVID wave but if there is we will be ready to convert back to the dedicated COVID ward and do it all again!
“Ward 7E want to say a big thank you to the community for all of their support. We have appreciated all the gifts, cards and words of wisdom that have made coming to work just that little bit easier.
“We just want all of those who supported us to know they put a smile on our faces, even though you might not have been able to see it behind our masks!” Rosemary said.