Mohammed Abedin and Sarah Bond, Critical Care Technologists

Mohammed Abedin and Sarah Bond are both critical care technologists at St George’s.

Mohammed has worked at the Trust for 12 years, whilst Sarah has been with us for 23 years.

What do you roles involve?

Mohammed: “My role is to ensure life-preserving equipment that is needed for patients in critical care is in good working order. We also ensure staff are properly trained to use the equipment. We are also on hand to trouble-shoot and make basic repairs to equipment if needed. There is a team of eight critical care technologists working in different part of the hospital, covering both paediatrics and children.

Sarah: “As critical care technologists, we also work closely with the medical engineering and physics team. They maintain and service the equipment – including ventilators – and also come and fix some of the trickier problems we can’t solve! The equipment we use in critical care is no different to any other sort of equipment – it needs to be looked after, and regularly maintained.”

How have your roles changed?

Sarah: “Together with everyone in critical care, we’ve had an incredibly busy few weeks! So much has changed, and whilst the technical elements of our roles haven’t altered radically, the demands on us all really have. We are now supporting a much higher number of ITU beds, and the pressures are great – but it feels like we are part of something incredibly important, and that keeps us going.”

Mohammed: “We are having to work with new staff, many of whom are working in an intensive care environment for the first time. We have been working with practice educators to get new staff trained up to use the equipment, which is big part of looking after patients in this environment. Everyone has been great – people pick it up at different speeds, but that’s completely normal, and we are here to help.”

Sarah: “We also have a role to play in making new staff feel part of the team. Even little things can be hard at the start – for example, knowing where consumables are kept, so making sure staff feel comfortable and able to ask questions is a big part of what we do.”

What have been most struck by during the current situation?

Mohammed: “It is a sad reality that more people are dying than we are used to, and this is having an impact on everybody. Whatever your training and experience, when someone dies, it is hard. Everyone is coping in their different ways, and it is really important staff take time out from the critical care environment when they can. It’s very easy just to keep working – but down time is really important, and we are good at checking on each other in this regard.”

Sarah: “The good will from staff – plus volunteers, and the local community – has really amazed us all; and amazing food which really does give us a lift! People have helped in so many different ways, and that is something that will live with me for a long time. We don’t know how long this is going to last, but we know that it is going to change the way we work for a long time yet – and the support we’ve had is making a massive difference.”

How do you manage to relax?

Mohammed: “I’ve been down to the new Wellbeing Hub a few times, which is a good time to get away. Some of the people I live near know I work in the NHS as well, so I’ve had some nice comments – and the round of applause at 8pm every Thursday is pretty amazing.”

Sarah: “People who know what you do are understanding, and do their best to help you relax, so that’s important. The teamwork on the unit is incredible – and that is what will keep us going through the difficult times. But we do have some fun as well, and maintaining that – whilst difficult – is a must for us at the moment.”