Basingstoke Army reservist plays important role in coronavirus fight
A British Army reservist from Basingstoke has played her part in the national effort to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.
Sergeant Rosie Dicks is a nurse in the Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and also a full-time reservist in Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.
The 31-year-old has worked in the department for eight years and is responsible for providing support to patients with multiple organ failure.
Speaking about her role, Rosie said, “I take care of patients on non-invasive and invasive ventilation, monitor them and provide them with the care they need. I also provide end-of-life care to patients who are unable to survive and facilitate exit to service for those who are improving.
Rosie joined the Reserves in 2010, she currently serves at Kingston-based 256 Field Hospital (City of London) but works in Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital because it is the closest. When asked why she chose a career in healthcare, Rosie replied; “I always wanted to be a nurse, when I was a kid I took care of my teddy bears and bandaged them – there was always something in me.”
Other than her great-grandfather who served in World War I and her grandfather who served in World War II, Rosie has no other direct connection to the military. However, by coincidence, she recently found out that her great-grandfather had actually deployed from the same location where her unit is based, which she says “is pretty cool.”
When asked why, therefore, she chose to join the military, Rosie said: “My goal was to become a nurse, but joining the military offered me the best of both worlds and made me feel better. allowed to experience things that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.
Regarding the timing of the career decision in high school, Rosie recalls a conversation she had with a medical officer at a career booth, she said; “He was really friendly and helpful. He was the first person to tell me about my choices rather than talking to my parents. While my parents fully supported my choices, it was nice to be treated like an adult and to know that the decision was entirely mine. Rosie then decided that studying to be a nurse at the university would be her first priority and she spent three years studying at Bournemouth. It was at the end of her studies that Rosie decided to turn to military life.
“Being a nurse is my passion, it’s important to me to be able to help others when they need it most,” said Rosie. “The nature of my role means that I am able to nurse in a variety of environments, develop my skills and practices, and take on additional challenges as I continue my nursing journey. ”
While in the military, Rosie traveled to France and Switzerland for ski drills, conducted overseas drills in Germany and the United States, and deployed to Sierra Leone in 2014-2015 as part of Operation GRITROCK, providing support to the fight against the Ebola virus epidemic in the West. Africa.
Asked about her deployment and if there were any skills, similarities or differences that she could take away or apply to the way she handled her job during the pandemic, Rosie said: “Due to the military training that I had received, I was better prepared mentally for the moment when we had to admit patients in rapid succession and able to accept that you may not be able to save everyone.
In Sierra Leone, Rosie explained that she had to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) all the time for long periods of time and in awkward positions: “We were working in hot weather and in difficult conditions. implemented here in the UK last year and continued during the heatwave I wasn’t really affected, it was almost second nature.
Rosie went on to explain how her experiences of being deployed and being estranged from friends and family have also helped her cope with not being able to see loved ones.
She added: “In some ways I just treated like this deployment, the only difference is that I can chat with them more freely on Facetime or Zoom.”
Feeling proud of her service and the significant difference she is making in people’s lives, Rosie said, “The most important aspect of the job I have done has been being able to reassure families.
Rosie lost her own grandfather early in the pandemic to COVID-19 and witnessed the effect it had on her own family, not being able to see him in the hospital or be with him in the end.
However, she used her experience to ensure this was handled in the hospital for her patients and their families in the future, including setting up video calls between patients and their loved ones, and staff. and loved ones for updates and helping loved ones see loved ones at the end. of life.
Rosie said: “I take great pride in the work I do and my accomplishments, it motivates me, it can be exciting and there is always the promise of a challenge.”
Rosie wants to continue to develop her career in any way, whether through her job in the NHS or as a serving soldier.
However, if another deployment was planned, she said, “I certainly wouldn’t turn down the opportunity. ”