Naval cadets rise to the Covid challenge

Naval cadets from Bristol to Cambridge and Southampton have stepped forward to help fellow Brits during the Covid pandemic.

We’ve already reported on Cardiff University Royal Naval Unit Cadet Ben Baily helping his neighbours on Dartmoor by running a free food/essential supplies delivery service, his shipmate Beth Oelmann assisting in the city’s hospital, and Oxford URNU students volunteer as ambulance drivers, check in on vulnerable/at risk members of society and brief political leaders.

Today we champion the efforts of three more students who’ve risen to the challenge posed by the greatest threat to public health in a century.

As she’d passed all her final exams, the graduation of Bristol URNU’s Elysia Gregory was brought forward to the end of March and she was promoted Acting Surgeon Lieutenant so she could choose whether to help out in the pandemic. She did.

“I chose to start working as a military foundation interim doctor (FiY1) – a role created for us to start early during the pandemic, where I’ve been working on the surgical wards,” she said.

“It was a daunting thought to be starting early under these circumstances (and slightly frustrating to be missing our electives abroad), but it’s well supported and a real privilege to be doing something to help during these times.”

Medical student Officer Cadet Eleanor Whittaker from Southampton URNU is working at Hasting’s Conquest Hospital as a healthcare support worker, joining nurses and doctors on the wards caring for patients.

“I have worked all around the hospital, on elderly care wards, surgical wards and in Accident and Emergency. I most enjoyed my experience in A&E, working as part of a large team treating patients who’d arrived by ambulance.

“My role was to complete the initial set of patient assessments, such as temperature and blood pressure, as well as an electrocardiogram test, so that the doctor could judge the stability of the patient before beginning their treatments.

"I felt like a valuable member of the team and I believe this experience has greatly improved my patient-centred approach to carry forward in my medical studies back in Southampton.”

In Ipswich, Cambridge URNU student Harry Gooding has been working on the tills of a Tesco superstore throughout the pandemic and has found the experience to be eye-opening and rewarding.

“I talk with many people each day and have heard some awfully sad things from members of the public affected by the current goings on – as well as some very uplifting things,” Harry said.

“A lot of our elderly customers find social distancing difficult as coming into the shops is part of their regular routine. Sometimes it’s the only time they get to talk with people, so working at the checkouts gives us the opportunity to chat with them.

“Working at Tesco at the moment has shown me that sometimes it does go a long way just being there for the people around you.”

Medical student Officer Cadet Eleanor Whittaker from Southampton URNU

I felt like a valuable member of the team and I believe this experience has greatly improved my patient-centred approach to carry forward in my medical studies