In April 2020 I worked in Medway Hospital, cleaning some of the hospital facilities during Covid-19 times. Looking back at this experience after a year I thought I would share with you what this was like, as the idea of entering into the hospital even now is quite daunting for some people. I’m going to talk about my experience and what it was like to work during such a significant time period.
First, I will tell you about how and why I got the job…
At the time I had just had my last year in sixth form abruptly ended. This was a really sad time for me, as taking Performing Arts was two of the best years of my life so far. This is down to the friends I made, some of the teachers and also the many performances. I also have a part time job, where I work as a Performing Arts teacher at Dream Academy, but my work was stopped due to social distancing restrictions.
I was left in a position where I had no source of income and also left feeling very bored just sitting at home. My Mum was in a similar state of mind. She was coming to the end of her postgraduate, so we were both left with not a lot to do.
My Mum actually spotted the job advertisement, which was taking applications for people to work at the hospital and clean their facilitates. I got in touch with the lady and after completing all the documents and paperwork, I was given a start date. This was changed a few times and in that period my Mum decided to join me, as it was a good opportunity to earn some extra cash.
On our first day we started at 8 am and when we got there, I will admit, it did seem a bit disorganised. Although I cannot blame them, as Covid has been a new experience for us all. When we did eventually get started, we were placed in the accommodation section – where all the student doctors and nurses lived.
I have always been a fairly tidy person and entering into what smelt and looked very messy was definitely not one of my best memories. I will say that I applaud the doctors and nurses for their hard work during the pandemic, they probably did not have the time to clean their rooms. Nevertheless, my mum and I set to work, and we cleaned the accommodation like our life depended on it.
The people around us were all quite friendly and we were pretty much allowed to just get on with it. I think the best part was going to the canteen at lunch time to order our food. This actually suprised me to be honest, as when you think of hopsital food it does not seem very tasty but I am pleased to say that it was the opposite. The doctors and nurses ate like kings and queens. The portions were huge, and it tasted delicious! I can remember having fish and chips on a Friday and feeling absolutely stuffed.
After cleaning the accommodation section my Mum and I were sent to work – deep cleaning kitchens. If I thought the students were bad, then I was completely shocked by the state of the cupboards. Expired food, bugs and strange smells were only the tip of the iceberg. I will be honest in saying that I did moan quite a lot to my Mum, but she is used to me being a bit miserable sometimes!
I will say I was impressed with our cleaning. We scrubbed walls, peeled grease off of ovens and even wiped down fridge freezers. It is definitely an experience I will not forget.
The job did not last too long, as I think the hospital overestimated how many staff they would need. The hospital was quite empty because Covid patients were prioritized over all others who were told to not come in unless it was a serious issue.
Looking back, I am glad I did it, as it was a new experience and I now know how to clean a fridge until it is sparkling (see image below for evidence). I am proud of the fact that I got out of the house and did not just sit at home during the lockdown.
We should commend all of the workers in the hospital, as I had only a small glimpse into what they experience every day, and it is definitely not easy. So, thank you to everyone who does do this day in and day out!