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How to get ready to nurse again after surviving COVID-19

Staff nurse who was seriously ill with coronavirus shares tips for a safe return to work
Millie Magadlela flanked by colleagues on her first day back at work

Staff nurse who was seriously ill with coronavirus shares tips for a safe return to work

A nurse who returned to work after being off for four months with COVID-19 has urged others in a similar position to ensure they are physically and mentally ready.

Millie Magadlela told Nursing Standard nurses returning to work need to be aware they will see patients with COVID-19, even in 'green' non-COVID-19 areas.

Importance of mentally recovering from the experience of COVID-19

The University Hospital of North Tees staff nurse emphasised the importance of mental well-being as well as maintaining physical health if go back to practice after having the virus.

Staff nurse who was seriously ill with coronavirus shares tips for a safe return to work


First day back at work: Millie Magadlela is flanked by colleagues

A nurse who returned to work after being off for four months with COVID-19 has urged others in a similar position to ensure they are physically and mentally ready.

Millie Magadlela told Nursing Standard nurses returning to work need to be aware they will see patients with COVID-19, even in 'green' – non-COVID-19 – areas.

Importance of mentally recovering from the experience of COVID-19

The University Hospital of North Tees staff nurse emphasised the importance of mental well-being as well as maintaining physical health if go back to practice after having the virus.

She said: ‘It’s important when you go home to try and switch off. Don’t think about the COVID. Thinking about it is really just going to cause more anxiety and more stress on you.’

Tips for nurse survivors of COVID-19 about returning to work

Millie Magadlela advises:

  • Take adequate breaks to avoid burnout

  • Take packed meals to work to ensure healthy eating
  • Stay hydrated
  • Reflect on the experience and discuss with team members
  • Undertake a risk assessment to assess where you should work


Millie Magadlela was admitted to
hospital after developing COVID-19

 

Talk about what you have gone through, and seek counselling

Ms Magadlela, a nurse of 39 years, added it is important to talk about the experience of having COVID-19 and to use available counselling services.

She went back to work on a phased return on 5 August but is not yet carrying out clinical duties. 

Despite still experiencing some shortness of breath, which is getting better by the day, she said: ‘Going back to work has helped improve my mental and my physical well-being.

‘I got a warm welcome and it gave me a boost.

‘My colleagues did this amazing job of saving my life… I offer them a huge, huge thank you.’


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