COVID-19 Pandemic During My First Year of Anaesthesia

By Ahmed Rasheed, SHO

As a junior doctor it is always important to see how dynamic changes occur in the speciality you are training in and how your own department responds to these changes. Watching a global catastrophic event unfold and observing your department develop new strategies of care is a tremendously valuable and important learning experience.

The training the anaesthetic department provided to both its own trainees as well as for non-anaesthetic caregivers in the short amount of time available was no trivial achievement. It required an extensive amount of co-ordination from consultants, senior registrars and nurses. It has been imperative to observe this as a trainee and to learn from it. The department had to create, implement, modify and re-implement protocols for all aspects of our daily work life at a rapid pace, and was very successful in doing so.

Additionally, the challenges of not having large trust-based systems to help establish guidelines were also met. CUH’s response to COVID-19 was quick and transition for the most part quite smooth. However, having an overarching trust that could provide structured guidelines to be incorporated by the hospital was, perhaps, missed. Having trust standards to base your own department’s protocols on could potentially have the benefit of easier implementation. It may also circumvent the issue of high turnover rates of protocols, which can leave caregivers confused as to which version of the protocol is the latest and the ‘most correct’.

I am extremely fortunate to be part of a speciality that is progressive and at the forefront of change during these unprecedented times. The technical as well as non-technical edification provided by my bosses during this unique phase of my training is something I will reflect on throughout the course of my career.

Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine