Student news - Kelly ODP

High-Risk in self-isolation: GCU student shares experience of being at home during the pandemic

Tue, 12 May 2020 16:19:00 BST
Kelly (pictured left) was told to self-isolate within two weeks into UK lockdown
Kelly (pictured left) was told to self-isolate within two weeks into UK lockdown

A GCU Masters student and NHS worker has been self-isolating at home after being identified as “high risk”.

Masters of Science and Health student Kelly Porteous has been working for the NHS as an Operating Department Practitioner. However, after working two weeks into the UK lockdown, Kelly was identified as being “high risk” and was asked not to come into work.

Since adjusting to life in self-isolation, Kelly has decided to share her thoughts and experience of what it’s been like to be at home during the pandemic. She said:” I’ve been a student doing placement within the NHS for 3 years and I’ve now been qualified and worked in the NHS for 3 years this July. The NHS becomes your second family in a way.

The guilt I felt for the first month of me being home was overwhelming. I do a job, like many NHS workers caring for patients and I think because I work in the emergency operating theatres, there was that guilt that I was leaving the department and patients short staffed. I felt awful that I couldn’t be there to chip in with the workload and spread the load.

During those 3/4 weeks, I had my dissertation due imminently. I was juggling guilt, my mental health deteriorating and then trying to get my dissertation finished on time and to a half decent standard.

After those that, things started to get better. A group chat I had with my close friends from work changed purpose to a positivity and support chat. The five of us would message each morning saying how we’re doing and offered each other support and now we’re even closer now than before.

Mental health is so important during this time and COVID-19 will kill more than just those infected so it became a purpose for me to make sure I was there for my friends, even though I couldn’t see them. I’d say I’ve learned that although I’m physically isolated, I’m not socially isolated and I can support others too.”

Kelly has been finding ways to keep herself occupied during the self-isolation period. She added: “Since completing my dissertation, I’ve started decorating my bedroom on a budget to freshen it up and it got me doing some hard work that I was excited for.

I’ve also been working out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from home. Since I’m in the high-risk category, I can’t leave home to exercise so finding home work-outs was key for me and I’m actually enjoying it.

My advice to everyone would be to:

Seek help through friends and family.

Revisit a hobby you love.

Do small projects.

Exercise when you can.

Stay safe and positive. “


By Rachael McAlonan


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