Katiana Rivette spent years tracking infectious diseases and implementing proper infection controls at hospitals in struggling countries as a coordinator with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The experience has come in handy as the Powell River nurse works on the frontlines of a pandemic much closer to home.
After five years abroad with MSF, including a final mission in war-torn Syria, Rivette wanted to return to Canada and get back into clinical work and patient care. She started at Powell River General last November as an RN in the medical\surgical unit and now works with suspected COVID-19 patients at the hospital.
The Quebec native said her new role feels familiar; back to her days with MSF where she was working through a number of health epidemics and outbreaks including infectious illnesses like cholera, yellow fever and measles.
“For me, it doesn't give me fear," she said of caring for patients with possible COVID-19. “It gives me reassurance. If you follow the rules and you know how it's transmitted, you're going to be OK."
Rivette has maintained a fearless approach throughout her career in healthcare. When she was young, constant trips to the hospital for migraines made her comfortable in the setting. Her childhood inspired her to follow in her mother's footsteps to become an RN. Shortly after, Rivette joined MSF studying and researching infection prevention in a number of African countries.
Rivette spent her final stint abroad in Syria, working in the hospital setting for six months to help support doctors and nurses in proper infection control and PPE (personal protective equipment) procedures.
She noted the country in the midst of a deadly civil war didn't have the same levels of hygiene and infection control in hospitals that exist in Canada.
Now settled in Powell River, Rivette is happy to be back in Canada and feeling at home in the hospital, despite the spectre of COVID-19.
“I feel confident we are prepared," she said. “I really feel now that we are prepared and we had the luxury of time to prepare ourselves. If there's a [COVID-19] case, I have no doubt it will be dealt with well here because we had that luxury of preparedness."