At the end of April the Hearing Aid Repair Shop (HARS) was contacted by Julia, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner at an NHS Urgent Care Centre in Essex, as one of her hearing aids was't working. Being a vital key worker on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic, we fixed Julia's hearing aid as quickly as possible, as it was crucial for her to have it working so she could do her job. We were, of course, very happy to do the repair free of charge.

We asked Julia if she would share her experiences of working during the pandemic with us and very kindly she agreed. Here's her story.


Julia"COVID-19 has brought fear amongst the public and the healthcare sector. There is the fear of catching it, as well as dying from it. Sadly many people have died and my condolences go out to all their families. Social distancing appears to be here for a while only all for our own protection.

Working on the frontline as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) in an Urgent Care Centre (UCC) has its own challenges. The UCC is nurse led and is in a satellite hospital some 18 miles away from the major hospital. We treat any minor illness and injury. Those with COVID symptoms, if stable, are told to stay at home or call 111. All patients are treated as suspected COVID even if asymptomatic. No relatives or friends are allowed to accompany the patient except in exceptional circumstances.

We have had to change the way we see patients. Every ANP wears a mask, gloves and apron when seeing a patient and strict infection control procedures are followed. This itself can present fear in some patients. Some can’t understand what we are saying, especially if they’re deaf and rely on lipreading, others find it alienating. Children struggle to comprehend what is going on and getting their co-operation is difficult too.  All patients have their temperature taken and are questioned on their symptoms before they’re allowed to enter the department. Patients are given a mask to wear many struggle to keep them on as they feel claustrophobic and hot in them. Even I struggle sometimes to grasp fully what patients say behind their mask, but we get there in the end!

We have made preparations should a COVID patient present with an injury or other problem by setting up an isolation room where all off the above would be worn including goggles and a visor. Everything is disposed off except the goggles and visor which are cleaned. The room is ventilated and deep cleaned as well.  All staff have a change of uniform / scrubs after being in the isolation room.

Initially we were very quiet at the start of the lockdown, but were concerned about patients suffering at home needlessly and this was evident when some came in with injuries that hadn’t healed after 3 weeks. We are now getting busier and despite being a green zone (non COVID)  we remain very much part of the COVID crisis in looking after our community.

I never expected to deal with anything like this in my career. I have been a nurse for 34 years. Not a day goes by after each shift that I worry as to whether I’ve caught the virus and could potentially pass it onto my family. On leaving work I change out of my uniform and put it in my scrub bag, then wash my arms and hands before leaving. I get home throw my uniform into the washing machine and go straight into the shower before I can see my family. I hope that very soon that this will be a thing if the past - but part of me feels that I think this may go on for several months for us as we never know who’s infected as many are asymptomatic. I look forward to that day when we can see everyone’s smile again and being able to see those lips talking again!"