Scottish osteopath Julie Powell-Evans has been part of the Test and Trace programme in England and Wales, working as a Clinical Contact Case Worker since May. Julie shares with us her experience of being part of this initiative.
”I’ve joined a nationwide community of welcoming and supportive healthcare professionals. This unprecedented assembly of nurses, health visitors, pharmacists and Allied Health Professionals (AHP) including osteopaths, all working together with a common purpose.
“It can be a strange hearing about my contact tracing job on the radio or reading about it in the papers. My experience is a far cry from the often-negative picture painted by the media. My experience has been generally positive. Most of the people I call are very receptive and supportive of our work: they understand the importance of their participation in contact tracing and are thankful for the support available.
“The training process has been interesting and thorough. In addition to all the technical aspects of the Test and Trace system, which is constantly being refined and updated, the training also includes presentations and webinars on a number of subjects such as Safeguarding, Data Protection and Public Health, all of which offer useful transferrable knowledge and skills.”
Julie uses her experience as an osteopath to assist in building trust and rapport whilst providing support to impacted individuals.
“We contact individuals who have just tested positive and their contacts to provide key isolation advice and support. This both minimises the risks of spreading the virus and provides vital epidemiological data to track its spread. Cold calling potentially seriously ill or bereaved members of the public can bring about difficult conversations. People are often understandably upset to be contacted at a time of vulnerability and this is where I think the osteopath’s experience makes a difference; our extensive clinical training and experience, together with listening and empathy skills are key components in building a rapport.
”In addition to giving practical information on where to find local help for food delivery, employment, etc., we provide reassurance at a time when people feel particularly worried about their health or their loved ones or their work. As such it is a privilege to play a part in this programme and be in a position to help.”
Julie is just one of the osteopaths in Scotland who have stepped up to support the NHS during the pandemic.
“I feel hopeful that the positive and proactive response of osteopaths during the pandemic will enhance the recognition of our profession, in particular in Scotland. I believe this will bring about further work, career and CPD opportunities for osteopaths to collaborate with the NHS and Public Health services, and raise further awareness of our role in supporting and promoting health and wellbeing in the community as we do with each and every one of our patients.”