We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the first responders that have shown constant bravery in the face of these challenging times and devoted themselves to ensuring a brighter future for us all. In partnership with the Australian Retailers Association, Wittner is proud to be supporting First Responders Day. If you are a first responder, simply present your photo ID or visit any of our Wittner stores in work uniform on Thursday 25th of June to receive 30% off full-price shoes.
2020 has thrown some unique challenges our way and now more than ever we have seen the power our platform holds. This is why we have dedicated this time to provide a voice to those who worked on the frontline during such uncertain times.
Wittner CEO Cat Williamson caught up with her sister over a much-needed zoom call. Fran, who works for a Brisbane hospital, opens up about the realities of working on the frontline during COVID-19.
What did your journey as a frontline worker look like?
When I finished medical school I thought I wanted to be an Obstetrician, but my very first shift in ED I delivered a baby, looked after a patient having a heart attack and helped reduce a broken leg – I was hooked! Since then, it has been a long road of training until I finished my specialist exams and became an emergency consultant. Now I get to work in a busy department with a great team doing a job I love.
What challenges do you think first responders will face going forward?
The unknown and worry about the ongoing spread of diseases like COVID-19 and protecting ourselves so we can help the community. The changes to our routines- changing and showering before coming home from work, to ensure the health and safety of our immediate family, and working in the ‘bubble’ (a designated area of the hospital which was created for COVID) which is both a physically and mentally challenging environment.
How has COVID-19 changed your experience of being a frontline worker?
The community support has been amazing everything that people have done, particularly heeding the advice to stay home and socially distance. The lovely notes of support that have been sent to us from the local schools and community are touching and appreciated. We have them hanging in our tea room, and in sections of the hospital so that when we are at work we can see them.
Frontline work can clearly be challenging both physically and mentally, how do you manage that work-life balance?
Ensure that my husband and I plan our roster to get a weekend every month off together (he is also an Emergency Physician) to spend time doing what is important- being with our family and friends.
And lastly, how do you think people can best provide their support during this period?
By taking any health warnings seriously, listen to the advice and be prepared to change your behaviour so we can protect the community as a whole. Seek testing and stay home if you are unwell, look after yourself and your family and enjoy the slower pace to life.