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Heroes of the RUH – Lauren Urch

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Meet Lauren Urch, Physiotherapist at the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

I started working at the RUH in 2014 and have done quite a number of physio rotations including orthopaedics, elderly care, intensive care, respiratory, outpatients and was lucky to work at the RNHRD when it was still down in town.  Working in so many areas helped me realise that I really loved respiratory medicine and caring for the most seriously unwell patients. 

“When the pandemic first hit, I was working in Oncology on William Budd ward but was redeployed to Respiratory to help; because of my background experience it made sense for me, like a number of others to move and offer their support here. I really enjoyed being part of the team, learning about a completely new respiratory condition; the adrenaline really kept me going. 

“In September, I began a new role in Critical Care. It can be quite a frightening place for patients, even more so now when they are separated from their families, and so we always do what we can to make them as comfortable as possible. Every day, the team puts up rehab boards for patients that are awake so that they have pictures and messages to look at. We had a gentleman in a room on his own over the Remembrance Day period and so I drew a poppy and wrote out a quote to help mark the day and we printed off some photos of his grandchildren and dog. I hope it helped in some small way. 

“It really is all about team work. You hear a lot on the news about doctors and nurses when they speak of the NHS but it’s the support staff, the cleaners, ward clerks, health care assistants and allied health professionals as well. The team effort has really spread across the whole hospital over the last nine months and we have felt more like a family than ever before. Everyone has been really looking out for each other which has been so nice. 

“At home, the first wave affected me quite a lot. I live on my own and my boyfriend is in the forces and lives away, so I didn’t see him for four months. I also didn’t see my friends or family, like everyone I suppose, it was difficult. In a way, I felt lucky in that I enjoyed coming to work really. When you’re faced with caring for people who also can’t see family and friends when they are really unwell, it makes you think about what’s important in life. I’m normally a very busy person, out seeing friends or doing sport every night of the week and then away at the weekends. Not being able to do all that has made me realise that slowing down can be good sometimes, but also that I’ll never take seeing my friends and family for granted. 

“I have spent most of this year doing lots of walking, hiking, cycling and like a lot of other people…baking! I got really into the Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients cookbook. It was perfect for lockdown really, as you only had to remember 5 things from the shop – handy when lots of supplies were low! A great recipe in there is this mustard chicken dish, super easy and comforting in this sort of weather. I am also quite well known in my department for my brownies!!  

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