My name is Mog Heraghty and my day job is the associate director of quality and patient safety in the Nursing directorate.
As COVID emerged in February 2020, I began supporting the community swabbing team in London. When this was stepped down in early March, I proactively redeployed myself to the Acute and Rehab directorate, with the support of my line manager Diane Searle, director of nursing. The reason for this was that I am a mental health nurse by background, this was a high risk critical service and I thought my skills would best be used there.
I was a little anxious about this as I had last worked full time in an acute inpatient setting in 1994, although I did continue to work Bank until I went on maternity leave with my eldest child in 1996. I had considered applying for the deputy director post in ARD recently, but decided against this as I have never had an operational post and felt the service needed someone who could hit the ground running. As it turned out, COVID proved I was more than capable of hitting the ground running and also rapidly learning new skills to support and train staff with heightened anxiety about COVID and infection control. I have led on this area and have clinical oversight of admissions to our COVID isolation ward, undertaking a thematic review which has given us valuable early learning.
As you may have seen on Twitter I have also set up ‘Mog’s Shop’ which provides non-essential items to support patient and staff wellbeing during this difficult time, including resources for the staff wobble rooms. The shop started with an ambition to provide chocolate eggs for all the patients and staff at NELFT, but has continued to grow. It is stocked entirely with donations from my friends and family, and friends of friends and their friends!
One of the most important roles I have undertaken along with my leadership team colleagues has been to be a very visible source of support and guidance to staff. This was particularly important in the first few weeks when there were extremely high levels of stress and distress, as everyone adjusted to very rapidly changing times. However the resilience and dedication of frontline ward staff has made me so proud to be a nurse leader.