Sylvie Drouin had just started work as a nurse at the Haliburton Hospital when COVID-19 struck. She was quickly redeployed to help with the pandemic.

“This has been an incredible journey and learning opportunity, one of which I never imagined to be part of,” Drouin said.

She admits that being taken out of her normal routine was tricky and scary.

“But, logically, I felt safe knowing if we collaborated, we could keep each other safer and best utilize each other’s roles by creating a stronger team.”

She said she’s been asked to be part of many additional roles, such as: booking appointments for the COVID assessment centre, being a COVID tester, a front door screener and counselling and reassuring patients who call the clinic in fear. She’s also working the COVID unit at the hospital.

“I learned very quickly, as many did, fear can be the biggest instigator of chaos,” she said.

She said the transformation from an acute care setting to a COVID acute unit has been incredible.

“The amount of helping hands and hard effort to make this happen amazes me. All the staff collaborating to make it work. The amount of decision-making and the additional education set in place for staff and mock codes have been reassuring for me.”

She added there’s much more to it than just getting the job done.

“I can’t speak for every health care worker, but I can attest as a nurse. It has been an emotional rollercoaster. I would be lying if I reported this change as just a normal way of work. I most definitely have fears every single day, such as, “will I contaminate myself, or others? Will I be protected and for how long until we run out of PPE? Will I be asked to re-use a mask or gown already used? Will this ever end? When this is all over, what will be the outcome of the economy and the health care system? Will this be the start of many more pandemics to come? What will we have all learned from this?”

Drouin said she’s teared up before and after work, because “none of us really know how safe or unsafe we are.”

She said it’s a day-by-day process and difficult for everyone.

“I get through this by counting my blessings daily as a reminder that I am okay because I can confirm I have an effortless breath. I’m well and healthy. I have a job I can go to with an income. I work alongside a very strong group of amazing humans who support each other. This allows room to breath and carry on to do what we do best. I get through this with them.”

She said frontline health care workers aren’t the only heroes, either.

“Truth is, we’re all heroes, each and everyone of us, if we choose to be.”

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