Meet Claire Collections Officer and Covid Vaccination Nurse.
Claire has been a Collections Officer for the Museum Service since 2011. Her role involves, looking after the objects in the museum collection behind the scenes ranging from fine art to costume, archaeology and natural science. Claire said: “I am the person who hangs paintings in public buildings, including libraries; who puts objects in cases for exhibitions and who arranges exhibitions lent from other institutions such as National Museums Scotland.”
Claire originally trained as a Registered General Nurse and continued to do occasional shifts until a few years ago. Due to the demand for nurses, she was able to re-join NHS Lothian as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Claire said: “ELC has been extremely supportive in temporarily reducing my museum hours to allow me to work for the NHS, and employing a job share for me due to our work on the Prestongrange Museum project. Initially I worked as part of the covid-response team organising staff testing and contact tracing, and now I work at the QMU drive-through mass vaccination centre. I give patients their covid-19 jabs at the site.”
Claire said: “Both jobs are different every day and I love them both! No day is ever the same and I am really enjoying the variety of doing both roles. I enjoy working for the Museum service as I love working with fine art, natural sciences and archaeology. I particularly enjoy planning and organising big loans from National Museum Scotland. Working as part of the NHS, I am enjoying learning new skills and revising old ones. I enjoy the public contact and that feeling of making a difference! The atmosphere at the vaccination centres is really uplifting. People are really happy to be vaccinated and there is a huge feeling of optimism and relief. We call them ‘happy clinics’!”
Covid-19 has given Claire the opportunity to re-join the NHS workforce and update her nursing skills and nursing registration. She has embraced new challenges and was initially involved with contact tracing of covid positive NHS staff, with tracking outbreaks on wards and in departments. Claire helped to streamline the process of contact tracing and data gathering.
Claire said: “I feel very lucky and I appreciate that many peoples’ experiences of the pandemic have been truly awful. I am also extremely fortunate that I haven’t been nursing on the front line. I feel for those staff and community care workers in all covid affected areas. Nothing prepares you for that intense nursing and high death rates, other than nursing people with HIV and AIDS in the 90s, which I was privileged to do or nursing in a war zone. The ability to use my varied skills and apply these to both roles has been fantastic.