Lockdown is busy in our house. Each floor is taken up by one of us working from home. My daughter is up in the loft doing her fourth year at King's College London attending its Zoom Medical School whilst teaching sixth-formers part-time. My husband, an NHS service manager, is on the first floor managing operating theatres and coordinating virtual clinics remotely. I sit downstairs juggling work as a senior lecturer and PhD student whilst volunteering to train ICU nurses for NHS Nightingale.
Working with these nurses reminds me of my journey into nursing. I am the first ever nurse in my family and racked up years of experience working in India. Coming to the UK from India was a shock initially. To start with, I had switched from being a matron at a hospital in the bustling city of Chennai to a new role at a nursing home in quaint Cornwall. Adjusting to the change in culture took time but I have nothing but fond memories of the beginning. Not soon after, my friend bought me a one-way ticket to London for an interview at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I ended up staying for eight years. It was the golden time in my career, and I had the pleasure of working with the greatest set of nurses on the planet.
In 2005, I had my son. As a toddler, he would get bronchiolitis all the time. One time, I was working the night shift in the ICU when my son had a bronchiolitis attack. An ambulance took him to King George's Hospital, and I went straight from my shift to see him. We stayed for three days. Winter is the peak season for paediatrics, and they were running around like mad. Before I knew it, I started helping the team there. They were so impressed with me that they asked me to join them. So, I started working on Clover Ward, where my son was admitted. Now he's fit as a fiddle and whilst each of us takes a floor working from home, my 14 year old son provides us all with much needed IT support and comic relief.
Madhini Sivasubramanian is a senior nursing lecturer at the University of East London and is currently helping train ICU nurses working at NHS Nightingale.