Diary of a medical intern (3): ’Sometimes, I feel lonely’

17 Apr 2020

Medical students are partaking in the fight against the coronavirus. Medical intern Norah (not her real name) from Nijmegen works in the nursing department of a hospital in Brabant. For Vox, she is keeping a diary. ’Today, we distributed teddybears to the patients at the hospital. It seems to have its mark.’

Friday, 10th of April – Spheres of privacy

Even outside of corona, life goes on. Because of a tragic incident in my personal life, I recently had to learn that the hard way. I would rather not get into more detail, but I have a lot on my plate right now. Additionally, corona measures are making it even more difficult to deal with it, because cuddling and hugging the family is now impossible. Because I’m working in the medical sector, people are especially cautious. The only silver lining is that I have all the time in the world outside of work to stand still. This way, I can process everything properly.

Saturday, 11th of April – Cautious positivity

In order to calm the mood on the wards, the hospital is cutting back on the staff. We noticed that too many employees on one ward creates restlessness.

For us, hospital employees, it’s hard to evaluate if things are starting to calm down. But it looks like it. While the ICU is still fully occupied, we went down from four to three corona wards. I hope that this apparent trend is continuing in the future.

Photo: Tom Hessels

Sunday, 12th of April – Teddybears

Today, we distributed teddybears to patients at the hospital, sponsored by Unicef and the hospital itself. At the beginning, I thought it a strange idea to gift stuffed animals to grown-ups. But it has hit its mark, it’s seemingly good for them. I think it’s because the old people in our ward are often confused and have no-one to cuddle. A teddybear offers them some form of company.

Most work I’m doing is in care and not of medical nature. One exception are the laboratory applications. I make appointments for patients to measure their blood levels. This way, we hope to discover patterns that will enable us to predict future situations and act upon them in time based on the blood levels alone. During my study, I learned all about those laboratory applications. But now that I am up close, I see the value of it.

’It doesn’t feel good when your brother throws your bike keys from a distance.’

Monday, 13th of April – Throwing bike keys

My parents. They are proud of me and think it’s great that I’m helping other people. But they are also afraid. Afraid that I will get corona. They say that I should better not come to visit them. To protect themselves and the rest of the family.

It doesn’t feel good when your brother stays at a distance and throws your bike keys from a distance instead of giving it in person, in order to not come too close. I know that it comes with the times and that it’s not personal, but it feels very reserved. Sometimes, I feel lonely because of that.’

Tuesday, 14th of April – Recognition

The protective clothing made patients, nurses, and doctors unrecognisable to each other. Points of recognition were the shoes and the name cards, function included. Consequentially, very impersonal. For us, but most certainly also for the patients. One patient told me that the unrecognisable protection wear made her feel like everyone was isolating from her specifically. As if she was some kind of monster. In order to work against these feelings, all employees now have a picture of their face on the name cards. Seemingly, a very important improvement!

Leave a comment

Vox Magazine

Independent magazine of Radboud University

read the latest Vox online!

Vox Update

A direct, daily or weekly update with our articles in your mailbox!