Sharon Lamph is a Personal Nurse with FSB Care, she joined the team just before the national lockdown in March 2020.
Sharon is a specialist in end of life care and care of the elderly and has extensive experience in both hospital and community settings.
When she isn’t helping people through FSB Care Sharon loves to spend time with her family watching films together.
We spoke to Sharon about how she’s been supporting members during COVID-19, adapting to new ways of working and setting boundaries with home and work life.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I pick up my new referrals and check their diagnoses - particularly assessing the case looking to see if there are any particularly complex cases that require additional research. I plan the calls to new patients along with those due to my existing patients.
I start to telephone my patients after about 10.00am - keeping diary records of each patient, discussions and outcomes as I go. Patients are always surprised and pleased to know that they will speak to me - their own dedicated Personal Nurse Adviser each time, and that my support is ongoing.
I do tend to start with a schedule but I have to be very flexible as patients often phone in too and sometimes sourcing the right therapy can be time consuming which means my best laid plans don’t always work out.
Although we primarily offer telephoned-based support, we do often get emails from our patients, so we’re very mindful to ensure we respond as quickly as we can. We’re also looking out for replies from therapists, as well as responses to any enquiries that we have made in relation to sourcing additional services and support groups that may be available to our patients.
Reflecting on the day, I feel that I made a real difference to the lives of the patients I spoke to - many of whom are currently too vulnerable or preoccupied to be able to do any significant research themselves. It is often the way that previously very capable individuals are absolutely incapacitated by an illness, family death or trauma, and whilst their immediate needs such as treatment and medication may be met elsewhere, their emotional needs can be very consuming and long term.
What is a phone call with an FSB nurse like?
I take the time to listen to any worries and concerns, talk to people about what they’re going through, answer any questions to help them understand their diagnosis and discuss any treatment options.
The calls can be as little as a few minutes, for example, if people just have some simple questions about their treatment, or a lot longer if they just really need someone to talk to. In a world that is so busy and always-on, you can’t underestimate the value of giving someone time.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed?
I make sure I take a few minutes if I have had a distressing call with a patient. My line manager always reminds me that I can call her or any other team member if I want to discuss a distressing call so that we can support one another during these extraordinary times.
Self-care is not being selfish, you cannot serve others when you are drained.
How did you adjust to working from home and the challenges it brings?
Working from home is a different way of working and keeping in touch with everyone is so important. Through regular phone calls and video calls with my managers, team leader and colleagues, I instantly felt reassured that everything would be okay and I would be supported. Being able to see everyone face to face made it feel like we were back in the office.
We have organised coffee mornings via video calls with mixed teams so that we kept the lines of communication open, but you could also connect with other business owners in the same situation as you through networking events.
Do you have any advice for people who might be struggling during this time?
I am sure that we have all found these unprecedented times challenging for differing reasons such as learning the new way of working, home schooling, supporting family members and so on.
Within the constraints of COVID it is really important to be empathic to yourself in these unprecedented times. I try to distinguish from work time and private time at home, and take regular breaks. I am mindful to eat well and stay hydrated. I have personally found that making my current working environment at home as peaceful as possible helps me from any distractions.