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A day in the life of a HCSW during a pandemic

Keenan Recruitment is proudly a long standing, contracted top-tier supplier of locum staff to the NHS. We fill 100s of Healthcare Support Work shifts per week, within the main hospitals throughout Northern Ireland.


Our temporary workers are the heart of our business, who we care about dearly. We already have a robust, free of charge and confidential health & well-being package in place to offer to all locum staff. Over the last year alone, Keenan workers have availed of the service by receiving professional assistance with financial issues including setting up debt management plans, savings, budgeting plans, mortgage advice and applications.


The first thing we analysed as soon as the pandemic was declared, was the safety of our staff out working on the frontline, which was absolute paramount. We stay in regular contact with our locum staff and lend an ear when required. Our mental health is very important, particularly during challenging times.


We spoke to Donna, one of Keenan’s fabulous Healthcare Support Workers, who has a block booking within one of the main hospitals in Belfast. This is what Donna said:


“When the pandemic was declared I was naturally nervous about going on to the ward.


It was apparent from the first shift, that the ward was taking social distancing seriously. Our ward is a 20 bed unit, made up of 5 bays. The ward were only accepting 1 patient per bay, leaving 3 beds empty. This gave me reassurance straight away. We were FIT tested for our masks and provided with PPE consisting of a mask to cover our mouth, glasses, face shield, an apron and gloves. I wear scrubs on to the ward for my shifts. The additional PPE was difficult to get used to as it makes you sweat, however it is now a routine that I am used to and appreciate.


The support from the staff on the ward has been unbelievable. We are supporting patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and also fellow staff members. We are receiving free meals at work, breakfast, lunch and dinner is all provided during our shifts day and night. The community has shown huge support to the hospitals by donating gifts such as pillow cases for us to take our uniforms home to wash. They have given us goodie bags containing face cream, hand cream, sanitiser, snacks, drinks and trinkets. Knowing that we have that support from the community is very humbling and I am so thankful for it.


I feel content and safe going into work.”



Kerry Anderson’s thoughts:


“I am so proud of every single Healthcare Support Worker who is out working through my desk on the frontline. It is wonderful to see so many pick up the phone to chat after a particularly difficult shift. For them to know we are here to listen is wonderful.

We did have a few weeks of experiencing a decrease in shifts, as our Clients redeployed staff to cover wards and because of normal day clinics and procedures being cancelled. This naturally had a knock-on effect to the level of work coming through the agency. The patience and understanding our locum Healthcare Support Workers showed during this period was admirable and appreciated. Thankfully, the shift level has increased again and we continue to be fully transparent with our staff out working. I am very grateful for the level of care being given to our community by our Healthcare Support Workers at such a difficult time”


If you are interested in joining the Keenan family, please email your CV to supportwork@keenanrecruitment.co.uk