We were asked recently if we could think of a good news story for an education sector newsletter. The good work our Operations Director, Jason, did during the early days of the pandemic is just the sort of thing they were after. Here’s his story:
Although educational settings are remaining open during Lockdown 2.0, that wasn’t the case the first time around back in March.
Chameleon School of Construction temporarily closed the doors to its six-centre network back in March, but Operations Director Jason Duncan quickly threw himself into the firing line as an NHS volunteer.
Throughout the first lockdown Jason worked an average of four eight-hour shifts a week as a volunteer in the Medical Assessment Unit at the Royal Derby Hospital. His official title was ‘Patient Experience Assistant’, and although it did involve some face-to-face patient contact it was an incredibly varied role designed to lighten the load on front line medical staff dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
“There were so many jobs that needed to be done”, explained Jason. “I helped new patients find their way around the hospital, moved patients, equipment, and medication between wards, took blood and swab samples for testing, delivered medical records, ensured sanitiser stations were replenished, took machinery for repair, checked and put away incoming stock, all additional things that would otherwise have distracted medical staff away from their important work treating patients.”
The Medical Assessment Unit was split into two sections, one dealing with general patients and the other dealing with those suspected of having COVID. Jason worked there for over three months before Chameleon School of Construction re-opened their doors to learners at the beginning of July.
Jason’s experience at Royal Derby Hospital is very much in line with Chameleon’s ethos in supporting the wider community. People are at the heart of everything Chameleon do, and it was the interactions with patients and staff that Jason remembers most fondly. “I was able to have some very interesting conversations with patients, a lot of whom were elderly and had conditions like dementia, and were confused and worried and needed a friendly face and a bit of reassurance, and it was great to be able to help with that. They are wonderful team at the hospital, despite the additional challenges the pandemic has thrown up, and I made some great friends while I was there”.