Interview by Ayisha Karim with Dr Abed (Core Surgical Trainee)

With it being almost a year since the first national lockdown, MWN Hub decided to interview one of the many inspirational Muslim female doctors who has been treating COVID-19 patients in hospital, at the heart of the front-line, since the start of the pandemic. All healthcare professionals on the front line who are helping treat COVID-19 patients should be commended for their hard-work, bravery and skills.

We interviewed Dr Haneen Abed, a Core Surgical Trainee (CT2) from the West Midlands, who was redeployed to a COVID 19 positive ward. We asked her about her over-all experience over the past year, which no doubt has been challenging.

In 3 words, how would you describe the last year?

Emotionally (and) physically exhausting

What have been the highs and lows working in your department/team?


I have had some pretty amazing consultants who have registrars who have really made efforts in supporting every possible surgical training opportunity to allow me to progress

I have never been surrounded by such hard working individuals that are genuinely inspiring in their resilience and determination in supporting the covid effort

I have met some amazing people, of which many I can call friends


As a surgical trainee, training has been really difficult and has been significantly impacted which has been rather disheartening

General morale has been low, lack of hope and general lack of energy

The shifts have been tough, and generally exhausting on many levels

What has been your experience of risks to BAME staff particularly? Has this impacted you directly? And how did you feel reading/seeing the stats on more BAME staff dying?

I guess itís been challenging and slightly scary, many of the BAME doctors that you hear about contracting covid-19 and have ended up passing away is quite scary. But overtime, covid has almost affected everyone, of any ethnicity or background.

What have been the highs and lows for you personally/as part of a family i.e how has your work impacted your social life in not seeing people, etc?

I canít comment on any highs personally on the impact of covid on my social life, itís probably the worst thing that could have ever happened. I havenít seen my sister in months and the inability to just go out for dinner or change scene really affects your mental well-being.

When the pandemic started, many went into survival mode and did everything they could to respondÖWhere are you at now emotionally?

I am exhausted and I am ready for this to be over.

What keeps you going? How do you keep yourself motivated?

Zoom is a really great place to have catch ups with friends and generally a way of interacting and I can definitely say itís been nice to have some zoom calls with friends and family.

If there is one thing you could change from the past year, what would it be?

I guess the real answer is the existence of the pandemic.

Looking ahead, what is your hope?

I hope for lock down to ease and just to be able to see me friends/family and for social interactions and holidays to become normal again.

It is clear from speaking to Dr Abed about how challenging this year has been for her. The impact of COVID-19 on her usual training, social life and mental health, all while directly treating covid patients despite the higher risk to BAME healthcare professionals, shows that Dr Abed, along with all other NHS staff, have demonstrated professional resilience, courage and outstanding care.

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