A University College Cork (UCC) student who chose to do her placement in the Covid-19 ICU in Cork University Hospital (CUH) has spoken of her experience.
Third year Children’s and General Nursing student at UCC’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, Marieke Buckley, who was recently awarded a Quercus Academic Scholarship, worked for three months in a Covid-19 ICU during the height of the pandemic.
Speaking of her experience for a video published by UCC, she said she was scared on her first day on the job as she “had no idea what to expect”.
She said that she was fearful that she would get sick and did not know if she was going to be well protected or if staff would be “overwhelmed with a lot of patients that were ill or dying”.
She said, however, that she received “great training” and that most of the staff remained healthy and did not contract the virus.
“We were lucky,” she said.
Conscious of bringing the virus home, Ms Buckley made the decision to live in Cork and isolate away from her family.
“In ICU, it’s your last line of defence. Most of the patients that we had were Covid-19 positive and were ventilated and intubated and from my experience they needed anything from four to six weeks on a ventilator which had huge implications for their health.
“In terms of care, there was every intervention being delivered to try and keep these patients alive,” she said.
Ms Buckley said that she thinks it was “an incredibly frightening experience for the patients” who were isolated from loved ones and fighting the virus on their own without their families by their side.
She reminded people to adhere to current restrictions and said that “it's so difficult to lock yourself away and try and adhere to all these restrictions if you haven’t seen what it can do to patients, especially vulnerable patients”.