Kate Urban (19930984) -  Against the tide: from the heart

Kate Urban (19930984) -  Against the tide: from the heart

As an independent ghostwriter/writing coach for biographies, I couldn’t make a living during the first corona wave: not one senior who dared to make another appointment for an interview. But, not all was lost: my eye caught an add: "people who could interview empathically" for Source and Contact Research at the GGD (Municipal Health Services). "That's no coincidence," I thought and got started right away. Less than two months later I was a trainer-coach and nowadays I coordinate the School Team in Flevoland.


"Never a dull moment"

I was a quick learner. For example, this morning I first put my team on the phone with the parents of school children who’s tests came back positive. Then I reassured a panicked principal, overflown with calls from parents worried about the increasing number of infections at school. In the meantime, I answered questions from colleagues about what they should (and especially not!) report or register to whom about the young patients.


In the afternoon I divided the school classes that needed to be called for quarantine advice. Then I consulted with COVID doctors on advice about self-testing in schools and about which school should or should not receive an "outbreak" approach. A quick email afterwards for a School team from another region about a Flevoland teacher who works at a school in their region. The end of the day consisted of registration of everything in the illustrious GGD system (which was not made for that.) [For more on this, also see the article by Niels Aerts, ed.]


You let off steam together

To let off steam, I occasionally read in the "joys and sorrows" app group: colleagues there vent on the sometimes tough conversations and we support each other. Because we still sometimes meet relatives of patients who have not survived the corona infection. Or an entrepreneur who is again not allowed to work, now because his son was infected at school. These are no easy conversations; they touch your heart.


But most of all, what we share are the warm thanks from patients: they really keep us going. Because no matter how emotional the work may be, however much the flood of infections sometimes engulfs us: everyone who works here does so with full conviction. We really try to answer all patients' questions with heart and soul and to limit the chain reaction of infections with targeted advice. Even though we know the only way to really stop it is vaccination.


It cannot be done without diversity

It is therefore a very committed team of colleagues, although we really only know each other through online tools. Together, we have built the team from the ground up and shaped it whilst in a crisis. I can tell you, this creates a very close bond. We still evaluate and make adjustments in weekly (first daily) Teams meetings.


We come from the most diverse industries (just like me temporarily unemployed) and have many different cultural backgrounds. That only makes it more special that we were able to create such a strong bond as a team. This diversity is also necessary, because we are one the phone with all possible cultures (and languages), so our diversity helps enormously.


And then what?

What am I going to do when the school kids have also been vaccinated? First take a breather, probably, because we haven't had a holiday at the GGD yet. (After all, the virus didn't take a holiday either.) Another wish: to finally meet my team in person. And then look around again for what comes my way. Back to my ghostwriting and coaching? Possibly. Something else? Who knows. Suggestions anyone…?


Kate Urban (19930984)

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