I’m writing to recognize the incredible effort you are all putting forward to help Canada respond to COVID-19. Whether you’re in emergency departments, primary care, surgical specialties, or in our Canadian military, so many of you are at the frontline of this pandemic.
In the last few days, I’ve heard about PAs that are running COVID-19 testing clinics and others who are actively managing an isolation area, where all respiratory illnesses are sent to be screened or treated, until testing sites are activated. And you’ve likely seen our own Maureen Taylor, an Ontario PA in Infectious Diseases and former medical journalist, interviewed several times by national media outlets.
These are just a few examples of your impact—I know there are many more.
I’m incredibly proud to hear these stories, but I also know that many of you are feeling the stress associated with this unprecedented situation and the risk you experience in your work.
It’s important that you acknowledge that this stress is normal and can impact anyone working in health care today. Try to find time to rest and recover, take a break from media coverage, and most importantly, ask for help if you feel overwhelmed.
The EM Ottawa Blog post on Managing Stress and Anxiety Related to COVID-19 has been widely shared in recent days. It offers strategies we can all use and I encourage everyone to read it.
There are other resources, including links below to sign-up sheets or contact people who are offering health care workers help with the everyday tasks of life outside the hospital or clinic. (This is just snapshot, so please enquire in your community about what might be available):
- Ottawa health care workers
- Hamilton / Waterloo / Niagara / Peel / Halton health care workers
- Sudbury health care workers (contact person)
- London health care workers (contact person)
The American Society of Microbiology’s This Week in Virology has a podcast page with high-quality discussions among physicians, scientists, students and others.
World Health Organization
This one-hour course on “Infection Prevention and Control for Novel Coronavirus” offers a helpful review of infection control procedures.
And more here on “Rights, Roles, and Responsibilities of Health Workers, Including Key Considerations for Occupational Safety and Health”.
You may have read recent stories about provinces asking retired doctors to re-register and the federal government creating a nursing inventory. In the coming days CAPA will be writing to various federal and provincial stakeholders to remind them of opportunities to leverage the PA profession during this global crisis.
CAPA 2020 AND THE CERTIFICATION EXAM
Lastly, we have all seen health care conferences in Canada and around the globe postponed to help flatten the curve. With both our annual conference and the PA certification exam scheduled for October 2020, we are proceeding with “business as usual”, but are closely monitoring the situation. We will, of course, communicate with members should timelines change.
Thank you again for your professionalism and dedication. In the days, weeks, and months ahead please be sure to take care of yourselves and each other.
Leslie St. Jacques, CCPA