Lots of staff at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust have taken on different roles to support colleagues and patients during the Covid-19 pandemic, and for Sophie Broyd, usually a pathway coordinator in the Pathology team, it meant she got to indulge her interest working in our Mortuary.
Having been interested in the work of mortuaries since she was a teenager, Sophie had already volunteered in the Mortuary so when she heard volunteers were needed to support the team she knew she could help.
She said: “My usual workload had decreased due to the pandemic so I spoke to my manager Graham (Thwaites, one of our head biomedical scientists) to see how I could help.
“I started helping out with 16 other members of the Pathology team towards the end of April. I’ve been helping with booking patients in, helping to clean and measure them, as well as doing some admin duties and I’ve had the opportunity to watch some post-mortemexaminations.”
Sophie, who is the last Pathology colleague still helping out in the Mortuary after the rest returned to their normal duties, usually spends her time working with data and spreadsheets. She has even been able to keep up with her usual work, while also giving her time to the Mortuary.
She added: “I can do the data analysis for my normal role on the computers in the Mortuary, and I also spend a few hours a week with the Pathology team, which is good as it gives me some variety.
“The pandemic has been awful, however, I’ve appreciated the amazing opportunity I’ve had to split myself between two roles. I feel really lucky that my team has allowed me to do it and I really enjoy working with the guys in the Mortuary. It’s really interesting, and I like wearing scrubs, they’re much more comfortable! It’s a lot more physical though.”
Volunteering in the Mortuary has also given Sophie a better insight into her usual role, for example, taking notes during post-mortemexaminations has allowed her to understand some of the things she comes across when analysing data.
She is also keen to point out that the Mortuary is not what people might expect. She said: “People coming down to the Mortuary for the first time often comment on how bright and cheerful it is. They see that everyone there has got a sense of humour and it’s a happy place to work, which I think it’s important for everyone to remember.”