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peopleCare hosts Doctors Without Borders Webinar during National Nursing Week

May 13, 2020


Doctors without borders logo on top of a world map

Registered Nurse Jaime Wah knows a thing or two about fighting infectious illnesses. In her career as a field nurse for Doctors Without Borders, she has fought the world’s most deadly viruses – like Ebola – in some of the most challenging conditions in developing countries around the world.

Currently the Medical Lead for the organization’s Canadian COVID-19 Response Team, Jaime was the guest speaker for a special live Zoom webinar organized by peopleCare for its frontline nursing leaders during National Nursing Week entitled: Rising Above: Lessons from a Frontline Nurse in the Global Fight Against Infectious Illness.

Jaime Wah, RN, Medical Lead, Doctors Without Borders on-screen during webinar

Jaime Wah, RN, Medical Lead, MSF

According to Jaime, the experience of responding to epidemics like Ebola offers learnings that can benefit frontline care teams fighting COVID-19 in Canada. The first is that grappling with fear and stigma can be as challenging as battling the virus itself.

“There’s still a lot of fake news surrounding COVID,” she says. “During Ebola training, one of my most important realizations was that PPE, like masks and gloves, is one aspect to protect you in an outbreak setting. Another is information and knowledge – that’s some of the best PPE.”

Doctors with newborn baby at an Ebola centre for pregnant women

Working at an Ebola centre for pregnant women, life persevered.

peopleCare reached out to Doctors Without Borders to discuss opportunities to leverage their expertise as international leaders in infection control, to protect our staff and residents. That led to an idea to partner with them to host an informative live presentation and Q&A.

“We are excited to host Doctors Without Borders and offer this inspiring presentation to our frontline nurses,” says Jenn Killing, peopleCare’s VP of Quality, Innovation and Operations. “Our nurses are leading through this pandemic, working tirelessly to keep COVID at bay and support one another, all while still providing exceptional care and comfort to our residents and families.

In light of the pandemic, this year’s National Nursing Week is more reason than ever to acknowledge all care team members in our Homes, for their unique contribution to providing quality, holistic resident care. The webinar was recorded and shared across peopleCare’s eight Homes, with all of our hundreds of additional clinical staff, personal support workers, recreation and dietary staff, maintenance team members and more.

During the Q&A, other lessons shared by Jaime include the importance of early detection and being meticulous with IPAC measures and hand hygiene – at work, and at home or in social settings (which she believes will be the new norm for everyone going forward).

Doctor and a patient at an Ebola centre for pregnant women

Understanding how the virus spreads helps you be less afraid of it because you know why the measures you are taking will protect you.

Jaime’s final thoughts for peopleCare’s nurses were straightforward and encouraging. Trust in your training and experience. Trust in each other.

“This is not the first time that [congregate settings] have faced respiratory outbreaks. It’s something we deal with and we are able to get ahead of. In that respect, COVID is not different,” she says. “The silver lining is you have the training and the tools to be successful and to save lives.”

With sincere thanks, peopleCare has made a donation to the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canadian COVID response. In addition, ProResp Inc. has also made a contribution to MSF on peopleCare’s behalf, as a way of honouring our strong partnership to deliver care in our Homes.