June 29, 2020

Keep the distance, stay connected

Physical distancing is a key part of the global clinical response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At Northern Health, it is very important that all of us, as health care workers, follow the distancing guidelines when moving around our campuses and in the cafés and set an example for our community.

Dr Kirin Channa is an Emergency Department (ED) physician and is part of the leadership team, also about to take on the ED Quality Lead role. She feels our staff needs to maintain physical distancing and set an example for our patients, as well as colleagues.

“As medical workers, we are at higher risk so we need to keep our distance. I understand that it can be quite challenging in ED, especially in a resus room where we need to have five or six staff members in the room, but we have our masks on and our PPE in those situations,” she said.

Kirin adds that physical distancing behaviour is a complete mindset shift and can be really hard for people.

“We’ve been doing this distancing for a couple of months now, so hopefully we are getting more used to it. This is both an exciting and challenging job and many of us use our down time to connect with people. We are all used to a hug or a handshake, so we all need to think about how to have that connection while maintaining the distance,” she said.

Kirin says examples of staying connected but physically distanced include going for walks with friends, and playing board games around the table while keeping the distance.

“Our ED staff understand the physical distancing and respect the guidelines. We are also implementing different strategies to allow everyone to have a break and use tea rooms while maintaining 1.5 metre distance,” she explained.

Penelope Grellet, Director – Trust, Diversity and Engagement, encourages all staff to maintain 1.5 metres between themselves and colleagues at all times.

“We understand that these rules can feel awkward, but as clinicians and health care workers, we expect that you will adhere to the very clear, simple guidelines that will have a true impact on controlling the spread of the virus. A reminder particularly for teams when rounding through high risk areas, such as ED and ICU, to please limit the number of staff entering these areas to essential staff only,” she said.

Featured image (left to right): Dr Deirdre O’Mahony, ED Registrar and Dr Kirin Channa