I have never worked from home as a Psychiatrist until two weeks ago. Now I am learning how to do this, what the advantages and challenge are.

Facebook and Instagram have many cartoons and videos of people trying to work from home with varying degrees of success. Many reading will have seen the video of the television journalists being interrupted by children and pets. Just today, my husband walked into my Zoom meeting. The door was closed and everything! Good grief!

Then there are the contemporary legends of all the people dressed to the nines on top wearing nothing but their underwear underneath their table. My day should be so entertaining.

The doctors in my program are making certain that some of us are always staying home – staying well. At the moment, we are all well, providing care from home by telephone and telehealth. Being able to work well from home supports the physical distancing that is so important for us to be well.

I go into the hospital more often that the other doctors in my program. I go in to greet those staff who have been asked to work in person, to be a support to them. They are the first people who agreed to work in what is possibly a dangerous setting. They need to know how grateful I am that they would take this risk on behalf of their colleagues. I also want them to know that I will give them all the support  and practical back-up they need.

This is an emotional time.

We are all feeling emotional and worried. For me, it’s difficult to know what to do to support these first volunteers. I have only one previous example of working in such a stressful situation. That was during the SARS outbreak in 2003 and I was in a different work role.

The person I was working most closely with gave me this advice about what he needed from me. He told me:

“I just need someone I can say ‘Go to hell!’ to who won’t give a damn.”

I’m ready. I’m here. I can do this.

( In this picture, you are looking down the hall to the now quiet Youth waiting room at the Royal.)

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