COVID-19 is perhaps the biggest public health emergency any of us will experience in our lifetime. However it is being managed well thanks to the success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, which has delivered close to 100 million doses in a year and an estimated 120,000 lives have been saved in England alone.
At Bank Partners we have been proud of play a part in this incredible effort and support the NHS throughout the pandemic. Through our Vaccination Banks (affectionately known as the Vac Banks) we have helped vaccinate over 3 million people in London and helped to save an estimated 28,000 lives!
Want to find out more about what it is like being a part of the COVID-19 Vaccination workforce? We interviewed student Nurse Connor Heffernan who works as one of our amazing Vaccinators.
Hello, my name is Connor Heffernan. I'm a vaccinator who works with Bank Partners on NHS Projects.
How did you find the recruitment process?
I initially applied in February. The process was fairly quick, really organised and I was onboarded in March once they had gone through all my background checks and I had the correct vaccinations myself to make sure I was safe.
How did you find out about the project?
I actually found out about the position with Bank Partners through LinkedIn.
Why did you apply?
I'm a student nurse so it aligned with my personal and professional values really. I've got a bit of an area of interest in public health so it was really a natural step for me.
What are your colleagues like?
People come from all walks of life and background on the programme. I work with black cab drivers, people in the aviation industry. So don't let that be a negative if you don't have a healthcare background.
Do you find you can work around other commitments?
Yeah, as I said I am a student Nurse, which is a full time degree, and I do clinical rotations for six to eight weeks at a time. So when I am on the rotations I can't be as active in my role as a Vaccinator. However, that's the bonus of working for an agency like Bank Partners where you can pick and choose your shifts quite flexibly through an app like eRoster which is really easy to navigate through as well.
What's the best part of your job?
The best part of the job? I'd say the people! There really are great people on board and you get such a meaningful purpose. Everyone has a common goal to really help and there's a lot of inspiring stories there from patients and staff. I vaccinated some refugees from Afghanistan for example. Those sort of discussions, and being a part of their journey and process, you leave work feeling really good. For me, that's really important when I'm working on a project or working on something. It has to have some value to it.
The wage as well is a weekly payment plan which is really helpful for me as a student, knowing that I can work a few shifts and get paid on the Friday after. That's really helpful and reassuring to know.
What are three words to describe the experience?
I would say fun. It is a really fun atmosphere. Committed. I think everyone there is committed to a common goal of vaccinating and protecting as many vulnerable people as possible. And that's really a topic that's discussed in briefings and everything so I'd definitely say committed. And growth; I feel like the project has evolved so much and is ever evolving.
What does you average shift look like?
So we start off with a morning brief which will be held by a clinical team. You could be assigned to a whole host of projects on that day. For example, we have outreach projects which go into schools at the moment. We also work with sex workers and the homeless which is a really interesting project. You could be out on a bus vaccinating people just walking past, which is really fun. The large sites you could be placed at, which is where we've vaccinated thousands of people in a day. So it really depend on which area you're assigned to. And like I said, you could be working with a team of fifty plus or you could be in a more intimate setting with three people.
There's time in the day to grab a coffee with these people, have a lunch break. In the end of the day we close with the debrief and a really positive message on how many people were vaccinated that day. Yeah, it's really really great!
What would you say to someone considering joining the vaccination bank?
It's a great way to come in to as healthcare setting with not having lots of qualification's whether it's medical or related and all the training is provided. You're making a meaningful difference to people's lives and involved in the global pandemic, which you're making history so that feels good! If you want to meet a lot of new people in London because like I said, people are coming from all different backgrounds and it's a really diverse workforce which I really enjoy.
You have a sense of responsibility as well. You're not simply vaccinating them, you are looking out for their safeguarding needs, there's lots of different things that you are assessing, which I really really enjoy. And I find that a lot of the team do enjoy that as well. And it's really competitively paid. You are paid for that responsibility I do find, which is great.
Then also the potential career within healthcare. I found a lot of people who have stepped into other roles with the NHS following this with Bank Partners and other projects. Working administrative roles in the head office and things like that. So there's lots of opportunity and that's a really key point to mention.
If you'd like to join the Vaccination Bank as a Vaccinator, Administrator, Marshall or something else, you can see all the available roles here.