Media Release

Play Assistant to PPE Safety Officer – how QEH staff are adapting to COVID-19

Staff across The Queen Elizabeth Hospital have all been adjusting their day-to-day roles to accommodate the often fast-changing landscape of COVID-19.

Sophie Carter, who has worked at the Trust for four years, typically spends her days at the hospital’s children’s ward or children’s outpatients centre as a Health Play Assistant.

Usually the 23-year-old would be preparing children for operations or MRI scans or keeping them occupied during their hospital stay with games and activities. However for the past few weeks, she has joined the hospital’s bank team in a newly created role as a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Safety Officer, with the task of ensuring staff are putting on and taking off (donning and doffing) their PPE correctly when entering and leaving yellow (COVID-positive) areas of the  hospital.

Sophie said: “I felt that the PPE Safety Officer role is so important; we need to protect the staff caring for our Covid patients – I was keen to get involved.”

“The shifts are usually twelve-and-a-half hours. I’ve been working with retired police officers, builders and charity workers, as well as redeployed hospital staff who have taken on the PPE Safety Officer role. Everyone has a brilliant story to tell.”

Although Sophie’s role is to ensure that staff are safe and protected she tries to lighten the mood as well

“I try to bring a smile to their faces during what can be a very tough shift for them. I ensure every member of staff is ready in their PPE gowns, ensuring they have the correct gloves, visors and hoods. When they come off the department, I spend time with them in the doffing area ensuring that PPE is removed in the correct and safest manner so that they don’t put themselves at risk of infection.”

“Staff often talk to us – we are like their release at the end of their shifts or when they return from their breaks. I’ve found that staff are so grateful for our help, it doesn’t even feel like work to me anymore.”

Sophie is part of a team of over 120 PPE officers, working around the clock to protect QEH staff.

The hospital is still recruiting for roles to support patients and staff during the pandemic. Click here to find out more.


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