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Collage of Circle of Care nursing staff

Celebrating Nursing Week 2020: #NurseStrong!

This week we celebrate the important contributions that our RNs and RPNs have made and continue to make to our organization. Over the past few months, our nurses have been adjusting their roles to meet the needs of Circle of Care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are very grateful for their expertise during this time! Here are a few stories of what our RNs/RPNs have been doing during the pandemic:

During the pandemic, we’re providing coaching and support to PSWs working in COVID-positive environments.

CSS Dionne Jacobs shares her story of nursing during the pandemic:

It was on a late Friday evening at the beginning of April when we were initially alerted to the fact that one of the retirement homes that we support was experiencing one of the first outbreaks of COVID-19 in a congregate care setting.

Our nursing on-call team immediately initiated our Risk and Safety protocol and over the course of the weekend, we reached out to our personal support workers (PSWs) who were providing care at the retirement home to provide them with emotional support. We wanted them to feel both safe and comfortable, and to be able to ask us any questions they had.

We also ensured that they had proper knowledge around the precautions they should take, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and getting tested to verify that they had not been infected. I am so proud of the PSWs who have remained at the facility to continue to provide service to the clients under our care.This is a testament to not only their dedication and commitment to the people they care for, but to their trust in the training and support we have provided for them, that they felt comfortable enough to continue to provide care during such a challenging time.

As we move forward, the one-on-one coaching and check-ins will continue between PSWs and their supervisors, because we are a team and we will be getting through this together.

During the pandemic, we’re staying educated on best practices around protecting our employees on the job.

Professional Practice Lead Reeshma Harripersad shares her story of nursing during the pandemic:

From the beginning of the pandemic – long before it was even declared a pandemic – we were diligent about following Public Health, the Government of Canada and the College of Nurses as credible sources for current and accurate information on COVID-19. This helped us to proactively promote the safety of our PSWs and other employees who work with vulnerable populations and/or in a COVID-positive environment.

Beyond keeping up-to-date with government and industry expert guidelines, my role is to participate in IPAC (Infection Prevention and Control) meetings with other organizations so that we can exchange ideas, share new information, and gather feedback about COVID-related Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) within the organizations. We discuss common misconceptions that our employees and clients may have and how to address them, as well as what measures are appropriate for frontline workers.

As COVID-19 cases increased across the city and province, PPE became less available across Ontario, including shortages at our own organization. As a result, we had to be very thoughtful about how we distributed supplies to our PSWs to ensure that they had what they needed and that we, additionally, didn’t run out of supplies.

I helped to devise effective guidelines for distributing PPE and a means to track distribution. I worked closely with our Supplies team and my peer Client Services Supervisor Olisa to provide support and guidance regarding questions and concerns about the required PPE for COVID-19 and to verify the quality of the stock on hand before it was distributed to our PSWs.

During the pandemic, we’re reaching out to our clients to ensure they have the help they need during this challenging time.

CSS Jeri Mae Janer shares her story of nursing during the pandemic:

Nursing comes in different shapes and forms, and that has never been more true than in these unprecedented times.

During this pandemic, I have spent many hours on the phone speaking to our clients in the community. Over the last month, my phone conversations have changed from being strictly assessment-focused to being lengthy conversations where listening, teaching, mediating and assuring are just as important as getting the assessment done.

Many clients have shared that my phone calls have provided them with the confidence that they are cared for and the assurance that they have access to help when they need it. I have heard from my fellow Client Service Supervisors that their clients feel the same way.

While we are not currently conducting assessments in-person at this time, we know that the work we are doing is important, and that we are still able to support our clients so that they can continue to live independently at home!