I had sent blog 5a, in which I mentioned the life cycle, to my super visor of the GGD to find out how they are currently tackling this entire pandemic and how they are trying to keep the region of West Brabant as healthy as possible, on all levels. It showed that they were still very much in their own pattern and were not so much concerned with the post-pandemic thought. As an extra response to my blog, I was asked to come along for a day and take a look behind the scenes at how such a pandemic is being tackled by a company such as the GGD. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I, of course, took it.
A day in the office
When I arrived at the GGD, it was like entering a total different company. The first very much innovative GGD was changed into a floor full of administrative work where everyone had a task and neatly finished it. The floor was divided into different departments that were served one task. For example, you had the response department where people from the GGD called people from the region who had certain questions about corona and being tested, there was also a department which e-mailed all people who were tested negative, a department that called the people who were tested positive, and way more.
It was crazy to see such a different department than before the virus. The GGD is generally an innovative company with different tasks per day, and has now been transformed into an administrative company where the tasks remain the same every day and are now almost carried automatically. The tasks of the employees of the GGD have mostly been put on hold, and most of them are now only working with the corona measures. For example, I spoke to a woman, also known as Charlotte, who was in the response department. Before COVID-19, she was still working in youth health care, but she would have been transferred to another department in April. This has been postponed by corona and she currently has no other task at the GGD, besides calling people who have questions about the virus. I think that this already shows how much of an impact this all has on the company.
I have also seen at the department that by working for the GGD, you mentally also have to be very strong. For example, some GGD nurses are assigned the task of calling people who have been tested positive for COVID-19. These nurses have to deliver bad news around 20 times a day to different people and often also need to be a listening ear to them. To illustrate, a woman was called that she had been tested positive, she started bursting out in tears because it had appeared that she probably got the virus from her parents, who both passed away because of it a week earlier. It cannot be easy to call such people every day and listen to those stories.
What I also noticed is that the GGD is indeed not yet busy with how they will pick everything all up again after the pandemic, but they are, however, very busy with the impact of the corona virus on our society right now. For example, Charlotte mentioned that they also have to take a lot of people with disabilities into account (2020). They are originally very affectionate and find the feeling of touch very important, which is quite impossible to do at this time. The GGD is already looking into how they can find a solution to this. Besides, I also spoke to a youth nurse who said that the GGD also tries to keep in touch with various schools that have students who are not doing well. These students originally saw school as a place away from home, but are now stuck at home because the schools are closed. The youth nurse explained how they are trying to keep in touch as much as possible with the children and the different schools, to ensure that the teachers can monitor these children extra through online lessons. I think that they are already responding well to this. They are aware that these problems are still common and that sitting at home does not make things better for some people. Therefore, the GGD is working on a transformative side with these children to see what possibilities there are to make them feel good and safe.
Focus on the good
Coincidentally, I recently came across an article where, for some children, the corona crisis actually helped with their problems. Before the corona, many children suffered from stress. They slept badly because of school, internships and life after school (NOS, 2020). There was a lot of pressure on these children. This pressure is slightly reduced by the corona virus. It is now less expected of them to make certain choices, because everything is still too uncertain. This makes it more difficult to make such big choices right now, and will therefore, be postponed. The rush disappears, which ensures that these children experience less stress and more rest. In such manner, you can see that a pandemic also has some positive aspects.
Grow through what you go through
Looking back, this day has given me a lot of insight into how a company works and how health is at the top of the list of the GGD. The company makes every effort to ensure that everything runs smoothly and enough people are available for anyone with questions. During such a situation as this, innovation is not at the top. Reassurance and health are paramount. Monitoring children who are not doing well is already a big step that they are already involved with. I think there should be more appreciation for how such a company managed to do this as quickly as possible and was flexible enough to put away its own tasks and help everyone in this department to work together and help our society with their health problems and questions. That also shows a good transformation. A transformation in flexibility and taking on another task.
All in all, this day was able to expand my professional view. I notice with many articles and theories that I was researching, I was thinking more about how GGD could tackle things differently and what needed to be done, and that I did not at all think about what they were already being doing. In the corona department, I have gained the insight that the GGD is already doing their utmost to help as many people as possible, while trying to adhere to the rules of the government as well by continuing to monitor everyone. It is not at all easy to just drop all your tasks and pick up a different system. Next to that, they also think along with individuals, by keeping in touch with schools and devising ways for handicapped children to get through this time. How I describe in blog 5A that the GGD should tackle more transformation, I want to reply in this blog on how I believe that they already do that, in their own way. They are not trying to solve this crisis as quickly as possible so that they can soon go back to their own tasks. They are tackling the crisis with both hands to give our society the support we need. They put our health before their own tasks. I believe that that is creating value with transformation.
Charlotte. (2020). Corona department. (C. Schute, Interviewer)
NOS. (2020). depressiever-door-corona-of-juist-niet. Retrieved from NOS stories: https://stories.lab.nos.nl/artikel/413/depressiever-door-corona-of-juist-niet