Audiology services have been highlighted as an essential service in the joint guidance published by the audiology professional bodies. Therefore, some audiology professionals continued to work within their scope of practice taking a proactive approach to be equipped with all modern official COVID-19 protocols, research and guidance to build their competency and adopt truthful practice to ensure care is delivered safely and accurately.
It has also been recognised significant for audiologists to take an active role and support the wider healthcare system during this pandemic. This included taking on non-audiological roles that require additional supervision and training.
In the workplace, professionals with underlying health conditions were assessed and this procedure was undertaken first. Due to having an underlying health condition myself, I was seen as being potentially high risk to COVID-19. For this reason, I was deployed to an area that curtails the risk of transmission. This was made possible by allowing me to stay in a separate room and to exercise the appropriate social distancing.
I was provided with the PPE needed ranging from hand sanitisers, gloves and surgical masks to further achieve a low-risk environment. I agreed with my line manager to be redeployed to work with the ENT and Audiology Patient Pathway Coordinator (PPC) team and was trained sufficiently.
I had a day-long training with one of the IT managers and was shown how to carry out a variety of responsibilities. Such tasks included registering new patients to the system, booking appointments to the appropriate service as well as cancelling and/or rescheduling some appointments if required.
I have been extremely fortunate to work with the ENT and Audiology Patient Pathway Coordinator team since it meant I was still connected to my patients and carried out work pertaining to this area. This gave me the capacity to access all new audiology referrals, triage, scan, and upload their details to the audiology database which I already had access to.
I have had excellent support from the team and other colleagues around me. They helped me to ensure accurate entry of information onto the patient database and trained me how to act any change in patients’ details to keep the electronic data up to date.
Working in an unfamiliar team and taking on a different role is not an easy experience. This is especially true when you doubt whether you are able to execute the new tasks that you have not been accustomed to doing. I doubted myself many times and was cautious of making mistakes as such an outcome made me anxious.
This experience has also enhanced my ability to work either alone or cooperatively in a team environment. Good organisation, communication and the ability to prioritise the workload were essential to this role. As a result, I have aimed from the start to maintain effective communication, to have an accurate and systematic approach to my obligation and to direct my full attention to details.
This experience has been amazing and has changed my perspective on how other teams in the hospital contribute and put their knowledge and effort to deliver the best care to the patients.
I have now returned to the life of an audiologist and I am looking forward to sharing the knowledge I have gained with my wider audiology team. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the ENT and Audiology Patient Pathway Coordinator team and would like to thank them immensely for their ongoing contribution, which has been outstanding.
De Montfort University
 – Audiology & Otology Guidance during COVID-19. AIHHP, BAA, BSA and BSHAA. Joint Guidance document first published 1st May 2020.