Gordi Details Her Work As A Doctor On The COVID Frontline In Victoria

9 September 2020 | 2:55 pm | Staff Writer

“Healthcare workers are stressed and working outside of their comfort zone."

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After spending the past month working as a doctor on the COVID frontline in Victorian hospitals, Australian singer-songwriter Gordi, aka Sophie Payten, has shared insight into the experience.

Following the release of her acclaimed album Our Two Skins in late June, Payten returned to locum work as a junior doctor, rotating around emergency departments, general wards and COVID clinics.

“Healthcare workers are stressed and working outside of their comfort zone,” Payten said. 

“One hospital I was in had had their palliative care ward turned into a ward with COVID patients on it requiring serious intervention measures. Nursing staff who work on the palliative care ward are used to end-of-life care and not to patients in such critical conditions. 

“Every time we enter a ward we have to put on full PPE which is really unpleasant to wear. It's hard to have a drink bottle with you because it can't remain sterile so you're constantly dehydrated.”

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Peyten described wearing COVID-safe personal protective equipment as “pretty awful”.

“Usually doctors are supposed to wear smart casual attire but everyone is just in scrubs all day or scrub shirts and jeans and sneakers because you're covered up anyway. Every morning after I park my car I put my own personal mask on and wear it to the hospital foyer, then I sign in, get my temperature checked and exchange my mask for a hospital mask, wash my hands. 

“Then I get to the doors of the ward, I pack everything I don't need into my backpack, get out my stethoscope and clean it with sterile wipes, wash my hands, put a single-use very hot plastic gown on, wash my hands, put safety glasses on, wash my hands, and then go into the ward. 

“If there's a patient we see who potentially has COVID-19 then I put on an N-95 mask, safety glasses, a face shield, a new gown and gloves (washing my hands between each new thing I pick up) - and then take it all off when I exit there room; and the cycle continues!”

In regards to releasing and promoting music during a pandemic, she noted: “It was strange but for once I was pretty thankful for social media. We just had to come up with creative ways to reach our audience and I think lots of artists and bands have really excelled in doing that. 

“The main obvious difference is no touring but I think the world is coming around to paying for a quality live-stream. I'm pretty thankful that the free living room set is slowly dying out. If the music industry is to sustain itself we need to remember that when we change and adapt our style of engaging with an audience, we need to work out how to charge for it!”

Check out the recent lyric video for Radiator below ahead of Gordi’s album tour kicking off next month, all the details of which you can find in theGuide.