Editorial

COVID-19: when will we return to some sort of normality?

There is a potential end to the pandemic in sight with a vaccine, but tired nurses still face daily uncertainties

There is a potential end to the pandemic in sight with a vaccine, but tired nurses still face daily uncertainties

Winter, with its seasonal respiratory viruses, school holiday staffing, and the effect of long, cold nights, is always a challenging time for childrens nurses.

This year there is the additional pressure of COVID-19 pandemic fatigue experienced by the public, who want a sense of normality to return. This fatigue is also experienced by those working on the front line with children and young people.

There may be sunshine at the end of

There is a potential end to the pandemic in sight with a vaccine, but tired nurses still face daily uncertainties

Tired nurse in mask leaning against a wall.
After months of the pandemic nurses are tired. Picture: Alamy

Winter, with its seasonal respiratory viruses, school holiday staffing, and the effect of long, cold nights, is always a challenging time for children’s nurses.

This year there is the additional pressure of COVID-19 pandemic fatigue experienced by the public, who want a sense of normality to return. This fatigue is also experienced by those working on the front line with children and young people.

There may be sunshine at the end of the long winter, however, with optimism about vaccines for COVID-19. But, in the interim, the pandemic remains with us, and nurses must continue to deliver high-quality care to children and young people, and their families.

As nurses we are tired. We no longer receive weekly applause or thanks, and some families face shielding, job losses, furloughing and potential tax increases to offset the financial burden the pandemic has placed on the NHS.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine be suitable for children and young people?

Children’s nurses want to think positively about future normality, when families and friends can gather in groups of more than six, and when they can take holidays or eat out.

But we must remain concerned about personal protective equipment supplies, the science of the pandemic and safer staffing levels, as well as what we face day by day. All of this affects us as we try to provide the outstanding quality care that children and families need.

The promise of a vaccine gives us something to look forward to, but also raises questions: will it be suitable for children and young people, and where do they factor in the national vaccination programme?

The long-term financial, emotional and organisational effects of lockdowns, tier systems and restrictions on children and young people, and on the healthcare services they need, have yet to be discussed fully.

Lessons have been learned, but as we move out of winter and see a potential end to the pandemic, continuing to learn and evolve will be vital.


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