Tackling a fear of technology

COVID-19 has brought a wave of change to the world, our communities and us personally. It has had a huge impact and brought much sadness and despair. In my own household it’s heightened teenage anxiety and changed a soon to be 18-year old’s summer. Of course, relatively speaking this is small stuff, but as we all know in primary care small stuff is still relevant. More everyday stuff must keep going as safely as possible; we still need to see some patients, but other work must be undertaken in other ways.

For me, as a practice nurse in a semi-rural practice it has made me sit up and smell the coffee, so to speak. I’ve been around a while. I don’t have a smartphone or Twitter or Facebook and suddenly the way we work changed. A webcam appeared on my computer. With a little training and a large nudge my first foray was an asthma review with a youngster. Well guess what? It was amazing! Better than the phone as I could see him, and his mum, and it seemed to go well. They responded to my questions and it was a productive review.

Over the last few weeks, it’s been invaluable, and I finally feel I am connecting back with the community and giving again. Supporting and listening whilst also doing my job. I’ve learned to ask better questions to elicit more information, and the way I review patients has improved by revisiting templates in a new way and thinking about the bigger picture. I guess I’m saying I was stuck in a rut and this had made me a bit sloppy… technology has given me a kick up the rear and I’ve engaged again.

As Andrew Booth mentioned in a previous blog, I felt a fraud when the clap for care happened – my stepdaughter was redeployed to a busy inner city COVID ward and was recently very ill herself. What was I doing to warrant a clap?

We are all doing our bit. Whether it’s leaving something on a doorstep for someone living alone or connecting those shielding and lonely with others. Or listening to patients on the amazing phone or seeing them via the webcam and being able to properly reassure people. Nursing is a diverse and wonderful profession and all of us are pieces of the bigger puzzle. We all fit together to make up a very caring community.

As for wobbly moments. The lady who I did a follow up asthma phone call with moved me to tears as she was just so grateful. And Catherine Jenkins singing ‘A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square’ made me blub like a tap….

As a sentimental older nurse, I’ve been so afraid of technology, but it seems for no reason. In fact, there is no stopping me now and nor should it stop you.

Julia Cook


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