Theodora Dyakova
Company : Homerton University Hospital / Newham University Hospital

Theodora Dyakova

Medical Student Volunteer / Covid Healthcare Support Worker
Satori Aqua 4-way FS team - competed in A category, 2015 nationals / PUPS 2019 bigway informal record holder / Working towards FF2 and wingsuiting

Theodora is currently working in the Covid wards at Homerton University Hospital and A&E at Newham University Hospital, her role was designed specifically for medical students with clinical experience to help doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants deliver patient care.

Theodora adds "The role itself is very fluid, with duties ranging across clerking patients, blood taking, IV lines setup, feeding and washing patients, monitoring vital signs, updating families, moving patients across wards, picking up medication from the inpatient pharmacy, restocking PPE, checking your colleagues have put on their PPE correctly or even preparing bodies to be given back to families.

For me, the biggest impact of COVID is how it has turned completely around the human aspects of healthcare. It has been incredible to watch how hospital teams have adapted and dealt with challenges, from not knowing whether you will see your colleagues again after the end of today’s shift;  to learning your way on how to manage a new disease; to alleviating suffering for patients who can’t have their close ones physically there at their bedside.

Re-learning how to do everything with PPE and the extra time/ complications involved. No training could help prepare for how difficult it can be to talk clearly through a mask or recognise your team buddies (especially when you deal with a cardiac arrest) and how stressful it might feel for a patient not to see your full face – even though eye contact can still show care and holding a patient’s hand through three layers of gloves and the hazmat suit would mean a lot. Even when updating families on the phone (and patients on whether their families had called) would often didn’t feel good enough and very upsetting at times. 

For me to get involved means I am an extra pair of helping hands and able to give back to the system and people that have invested and continue to invest in my training and education. It is something that keeps me motivated to get up in the morning during lockdown. At a time of staff shortage across the board as healthcare workers had to self-isolate, simply being one extra body with a bit of practical skills and clinical knowledge there has made a difference!

My admiration goes to everybody working on and supporting the frontline! Special kudos to the professionals who have kept going, stayed positive and were always there to help and chat despite having to make so many difficult decisions such as discussing lowering intensive care support for a patient given low likelihood of survival and delivering the news to the family; living away from their families to keep their loved ones safe and accepting they can’t be there for them; or simply dealing with survivor guilt as you return to work after recovering from COVID whilst your colleague is fighting for their life and deteriorating on ITU.

Everybody is having their own personal battles and demons but that hasn’t stopped anybody from being there for others whenever you may need support, talking through a difficult experience or another human who cares and is happy to simply be there with and for you."

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