A behind-the-scenes look at the work of our public-health nurses.
In celebration of Nursing Week, nurses from across Vancouver Coastal Health are taking us along for their shift — giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the important work they do, alongside their interdisciplinary teams, to care for our patients, clients and residents.
One of the many teams on the frontline working to support our patients and clients across the region during the COVID-19 pandemic is our regional communicable disease (CD) nursing team. Situated at 601 West Broadway with our public-health team, this particular pod of nurses includes Tyler Horsman, Lisa Waite, Mary Hein, Hai Vu, Christie Paterson, Mila Lukomskyj, Kristina Mendoza-Martin, and Carly Ryan.
The team recently took us along for one of their shifts — documenting their day to give us a behind-the-scenes look at their role. Here's what they shared:
Every day at 9:15 a.m., public-health staff from across VCH assemble for a morning huddle to review current outbreaks, share significant updates and determine pod leads. The 601 office meeting rooms can be quite busy, so in order to promote physical distancing, multiple teleconferences are set up for staff to participate in smaller groups.
Following our morning huddle, staff break out into smaller pods to carry out our daily public health duties. This includes assessment of new cases, contact tracing and follow-up, active daily symptom monitoring for all cases and close contacts, and clearing cases and contacts from isolation. Our work is done primarily by phone. Pod meetings and outbreak meetings are also held every day.
At times, we may need to coordinate outreach testing for a household or facility. The CD nurses assist with ensuring that appropriate testing supplies and PPE are in stock and ready for use by the outreach teams.
At the end of every shift, we wipe down our desks for the incoming team. Our team has grown from 12 people to about 200, as staff were deployed to support COVID-19, so infection control is really important when sharing work stations.
Working on the public-health frontlines of this pandemic has been both exciting and challenging. It's been a wonderful opportunity to meet other public-health staff from across our region and to work as a unified team. Practicing self-care, pacing oneself and taking breaks are of increasing importance as the new norm sets in.
Be sure to follow our Nursing Week campaign on VCH News and on our social media channels as we profile new nurses across the regions every week during the month of May!