PGY-1, Internal Medicine
1) What has helped you work through the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented time for everyone – there are people who cannot visit their family members in the ICU, those who have lost their jobs, and those who are stuck in other countries and unable to return to their families. I consider myself extremely lucky to be in the position that I am in – my family members are safe, I have a stable job, and I have the privilege to use my time and education to serve and help my community. In addition to this, all of the community efforts and gestures to show solidarity with healthcare professionals has been really touching, and means a lot to myself and all my colleagues. Thank you!
2) What message would you give to your fellow physician colleagues on National Doctor’s Day?
Thank you. Thank you to those who have taken it upon themselves to lead the way against COVID-19 in Ottawa. Thank you to those who still come to work with a smile on their face every day. Thank you to those who have moved away from their families so that they can continue to work while ensuring the safety of their loved ones. Thank you to those in leadership – the program directors, administrative staff, and all the other under-appreciated people behind the scenes – who are supporting us at every step of the way. Your sacrifices and your dedication are inspiring. I would also like to thank my non-physician colleagues – the infection control team, the nurses, the janitorial staff, the housekeeping staff who clean our call rooms, the physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, PSWs, social workers; the hospitals would not run without you. We would not be able to do our jobs with you. Thank you for all of your hard work and for keeping us safe.
3) What message of encouragement would you give to the public during this time?
Thank you for respecting and maintaining the social distancing. We are seeing progress and we are flattening the curve in Ottawa; this could not be done without the efforts of the entire community. For those of you who have family members in hospital at this time (whether due to COVID or other issues), I can only imagine how difficult it must be to not be able to visit your loved ones when they are unwell. We will look after your family members to the best of our ability and will do our due diligence to keep you updated each day. Thank you for everything you are doing to support us!
4) Describe what work/life has been like for you over the last few weeks.
Work has certainly changed since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic; I am finally getting used to being clean-shaven and nobody wanting to shake my hand. I find that I sanitize my hands and touch my face mask by accident at least 100 times each day. Otherwise, work is work. Things have been busy but certainly interesting; as someone who is so early on in their career, I feel fortunate to be working during such a historic time that will be talked about for decades to come. The environment has been quite positive; there is a sense of solidarity and everyone has been stepping up to help in different ways, whether that be through making us surgical caps to save our ears (see photo) or providing us with snacks to get us through our call shifts to name a few.
From a life perspective, many of us have not been visiting our families due to concerns about asymptomatic transmission. This has been challenging but we are all optimistic that the end is in sight. We are lucky that we live in the era of WhatsApp/Zoom/Skype, allowing us to stay connected to our friends and family and participate in important family occasions. It has been an unprecedented time but definitely one that we will remember for the rest of our careers!