Their tutors believe that after working under COVID-19 conditions they will be prepared for any professional challenges.
Shaving foam prevents eyeglasses from misting. If you have no shaving foam, toothpaste will do. This is one of a thousand life hacks that you will never learn at a lecture, only in a real hospital. Doctors who act as tutors to students say that after such a traineeship they will be able to work anywhere.
Semyon Filippov, head of the COVID-19 reception department of the Mechnikov North-Western State Medical University, says: ‘This is hard work. One should be careful using individual protective equipment to avoid catching infection. But they are coping well here in the reception room.’
Olga and Alina are students of the Mechnikov University. They are working as medical receptionists and are the first to meet patients in the COVID-19 center of the University.
Olga Smerchinskaya, a 6th-year student of the therapeutic faculty of the University, tells: ‘We register patients as they arrive. Without registration, the patient cannot proceed to the hospital, have tests, be examined, undergo computer tomography, which is most important. After registering the patient we give the records to nurses and the patient is routed to the hospital.’
The students honestly admit they are afraid of catching infection. But with so many patients coming in, the fear fades quickly.
Alina Berezhnaya, a 4th-year student of the therapeutic faculty of the University, explains: ‘I want to help people. I knew what profession I was choosing, so my duty calls me to be here.’
The girls understand the responsibility they take both towards the patients and their families. To prevent the risk for their families, they are prepared to live at work and rent a flat to live separately should they get infected. And they do not think of themselves as heroes.
Olga Smerchinskaya says: ‘I feel I am needed. I am glad that I came to work here, I am not afraid and everything goes well. Heroism is more about the resuscitation department, I think.’
The young specialists now go to the ‘red’ zone more frequently without tutors as they are gaining experience.
Olga Kovalyova, head of the Mechnikov University outpatient clinic, commends: ‘They are doing great, they are concentrated. And they work on par with us.’
Medical students save the lives not only of patients, but of the older doctors and nurses who work in reception departments. Thanks to the young specialists, hospitals were able to send their older personnel on self-isolation without prejudice to the process.
Alexander Chuev, reporter: ‘The students say this work is a unique opportunity for them to gain invaluable experience. Out of those who were offered such traineeship, every second agreed. But even not all of those who agreed were allowed to work with COVID-19 patients as you ought to be in perfect health to contact with the infected.’
Video: St. Petersburg TV channel