COVID-19 diaries with Rameeta Bharma: Lock Down as an FD

Next in the COVID-19 series is Rameeta Bhamra...

Rameeta, a Dental Foundation Dentist

March. What a month. How things changed. I'm Rameeta and I'm currently working as an FD. Going into work at the beginning of March, things were relatively normal. DCT SJT and MJDF Part 1 exam preparation were under way, talks of fundraising for the practice 5km Colour Run, bickering over whether chocolate digestives trump rich tea biscuits was a daily occurrence, oh and there was the odd mention of 'Coronavirus' in conversation. 

The number of new cases slowly increased, with hourly updates thanks to my nurse and although the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic many thought and to a degree (I think) took comfort in assuming that Coronavirus only affected vulnerable groups; those who have underlying health conditions and the elderly. Surprisingly, many patients also considered it to be scaremongering bu the media. So just like the rest of the UK, it was business as usual for the dental world. 

How. Things. Changed. And fast. My diary became emptier as patients started cancelling appointments. Like many FDs, I had finally started to get to grips with working in general practice when guidance from NHS England and the Deanery was released, which meant drills down regarding Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs) and within a few days my full diary of patients quickly disappeared as the practice closed it doors until further notice. The MJDF part 1 exam along with SJTs and many other exams were postponed. 

So since mid March I've been off work and I volunteered to be redeployed into hospital and assist with NHS 111 triaging as have many FDs and dental teams; but I am yet to hear back. The last 7 weeks however, have entailed numerous and unnecessary trips to the kitchen, triaging patients over the phone, case write ups, keeping on top of my DFT portfolio and A LOT of CPD. 

I decided to move back home after spending a month alone in lock down. Big mistake, as those trips to the kitchen have become even more numerous and unnecessary and have also involved a lot of baking (yes, I did make banana bread, twice). As well as this, I've used this time to reflect and think about future goals, spending time with family and also for some much needed R+R (maybe a bit too much); but honestly, I'm ready to go back to work. When? My guess is as good as yours. I'm sure we can appreciate the challenges presented by the dental field and the nature of our jobs in explaining the uncertainty as to how dentistry will move forward after this lock down period and as to why resumption of normal dental services and clinical practice doesn't seem to be anywhere in the near future. 

Stay safe!

Do you want to write a COVID-19 diary? Please get in touch! Whether you're a dental student, foundation dentist, dental core trainee, associate, dental nurse, therapist I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

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