Hello, I’m Catherine and I joined SSNMH as a Social Prescriber at the beginning of April right in the middle of lockdown, starting a new job is exciting but can be a bit nerve racking too.  I’m part of a new team of 5 social prescribers working across East Staffordshire, all starting in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic.  Our role is very different at the moment than it was intended.  Rather than being out in the community, GP surgeries and patients homes, we are home based and communicating mainly by telephone.  I really miss face to face interaction, but I believe that I’ve developed better questioning and listening skills as you can’t rely on body language and non-verbal clues to understand what a patient is trying to tell you when you can’t see them!  I have to say despite the Covid 19 pandemic I’m thoroughly enjoying my new role and have found real job satisfaction in helping to signpost people to practical help as well as provide emotional support for those who are struggling.

I thought that I might find it difficult working from home as I like variety, but I’ve treated the study/snug as my office, and used the time I would be travelling to work to keep fit through running.  I’m training for a marathon running for Dementia UK in September 2020.   I find if I go for a run in the morning before work then my legs are tired so I don’t mind sitting still all day!  I do my hair, makeup and dress as if I am at work and the use of a ‘to do’ list helps me to stay focused and gives me a sense of achievement when I mark off each of the tasks.

I haven’t had the challenges that many of my colleagues have faced – home schooling young children However, I’ve been faced with a different problem, trying to motivate my 17 year old daughter who is in the first year of A levels to concentrate on studying, by her own admission she ‘hasn’t done as much work as she could have’.   I’ve balanced my nagging/encouraging chats with an emphasis on her mental health and well being.  I believe many children and teenagers have suffered from the lack of socialising that school brings.   I know my daughter will catch up next year because she’s very capable, however, I do feel it’s a real shame she’s not taking Film Studies as a subject she would have achieved an A*, she’s certainly taken advantage of the subscription to Netflix!

Life hasn’t been all ‘peachy’ for us during lockdown, my husband like many others was furloughed but in the preceding weeks the company struggled financially and was placed into liquidation, as a result he was made redundant after 33 years of working for the same company which was a wrench for him.  The good news is that he has very recently secured a new job and is really embracing the change.  In May, my Dad sadly passed away in a nursing home, not easy to deal with as we weren’t able to visit, or be there to say goodbye, grieving is not easy to do when you’re not allowed to connect physically with people.

I’ve shared a personal account of what’s happened to my family during lockdown, it’s not always been easy and there has been highs and lows however, I try to take positives from every situation, and one thing that Covid 19 has taught me is that we are all stronger and more resilient than we think.   I firmly believe that everything that we experience in life helps us to become stronger, and in turns helps us to develop understanding and empathy so we are able to  help support others.