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Meet the frontline: Grace, Biomedical Scientist Team Manager

Meet the frontline: Grace, Biomedical Scientist Team Manager

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Meet the frontline: Grace, Biomedical Scientist Team Manager


Over the last few weeks, the covid-19 crisis has highlighted the essential work of thousands of islanders who are helping the island safe and well, some of whom had previously been working in the background with little recognition.

Besides the obvious medical professionals, there's a whole army of volunteers, manual workers and civil servants helping see the island through the current crisis.

Every Thursday, islanders gather to their doorsteps, porches and gardens to give all essentially employed across all sectors a round of applause.

As people everywhere discover a new-found appreciation for those carrying out essential work, this month’s special online-only edition of CONNECT magazine strives to do exactly that - introducing Jersey to the faces on the frontline.

In a series of interviews called ‘Meet the frontline’, Express has asked the same questions to different ‘frontliners’ about their experiences in the midst of this health crisis. 

After hearing from a GPa teacher a critical care manager, and the Head of Information Security for the Government of Jersey, it's the turn of Grace Kerr, Biomedical Scientist Team Manager at the Infection Sciences Laboratory, to share her experience of the frontline...

Describe a ‘typical’ day for you, dealing with Covid-19...

When I get to the laboratory in the morning I check that things have run smoothly overnight. I check if any outstanding test results have come through, or patient samples require testing, and process them as necessary.

If there are any positive results I phone them through to the Infection Control team, or appropriate clinician.

Throughout the day, I supervise the checking of all results to make sure they are reported, validated and authorised in the correct way. This makes sure that clinicians and any other relevant departments have visibility of results as soon as possible. This also feeds into the daily update which is provided to Islanders.

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Pictured: Grace Kerr works in the Infection Sciences Laboratory.

Throughout the day, we are also liaising with the teams in the community, Urgent Treatment Centre and hospital ward staff who are carrying out swabbing.

The day also contains elements of ‘business as usual’ providing infection screens for blood donations before their use, and other routine testing, as required by the hospital or community.  

At the end of the day, we hand over to the night shift and I give them a full de-brief before heading home. I usually end up leaving about 19:00, and work weekends as part of a rota.

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Pictured: "The volume of work has increased greatly and sometimes the interruptions are difficult to work into the daily operations," Grace says.

What would you like more/less of?

The phone is ringing constantly, and probably like most people dealing with this pandemic, the volume of work has increased greatly and sometimes the interruptions are difficult to work into the daily operations. 


What has been your abiding memory of the pandemic so far?

I attended a funeral via live streaming and it is something that I hope I never have to repeat again.

How do you keep going when work gets tough?

I’m lucky as when I leave the work environment and go home I can switch off from it. Relaxing at home, and chatting with my husband over a glass of something cold helps release me from the stresses of the day. 

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Pictured: Grace hopes to see more people growing their own vegetables.

 What do you hope this crisis will change?

I hope that people change for the better – that we appreciate our friends and family more, and that we are kinder to everyone, not just those people that we know. 

I also hope we learn to be a bit more self-sufficient and less commercial, for example growing our own vegetables.

READ MORE...

This interview appeared in this month's special edition of Connect magazine. Available online only, CLICK HERE to read it in full.

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