Front-line workers fighting the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan received a helping hand from the Canadian military last week.
Operation Laser Saskatchewan is in the province to relieve some of the strain on the overflowing intensive care units.
Once they touched down, they hit the ground running. After a day of training with local front-line staff, the military nurses and medical technicians were in the ICUs the following day.
Major Linda Jackson, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Senior Nursing Officer, says, “The team’s reception has been well received from the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and from Regina General Hospital (RGH). From leadership down to kitchen staff, to the cleaning staff and to the clinicians, it has been overwhelmingly positive and appreciative.”
The overflow of patients in Saskatchewan ICUs has taken its toll on resources and on the local medical staff. The team flown in to assist from Ottawa is impressed with how the SHA has reallocated resources and have been happy to assist staff at the RGH by giving them a bit of a break and alleviating patient loads.
Captain Doug Murphy, CAF Senior Nursing Officer, says, “I feel very privileged to be here and accepted for this task and being able to go into the hospital, do the work that we’re trained to do and be able to provide the best possible patient care for these sick patients and hopefully have a better outcome for them.”
The team is made up of 15 members: six critical care nurses working in the ICUs (4 helping with the overflow in the medical care unit, 2 in the cardiac care unit), four general duty nursing officers teamed up with four medical technicians to support the medial care units, and one senior nursing officer.
Despite the challenges, Major Jackson says, “The morale is high, we really are very proud be selected and come to Saskatchewan to support our fellow health-care professionals in a time where there has been increased pressure, and very proud to serve Canadians in need.”
On the medical floor, the team is dressed in scrubs, and doesn’t stand out as they do when in uniform. When they interact with patients and they learn about the team’s mission, they have been grateful for the help they bring to the province.
“It’s very rewarding that we’re giving back to these patients,” Captain Murphy adds. “The patients are happy with what we’re providing for them. It makes you feel good at the end of the day.”
This is also the first time the members of the task force have worked together, and they are very proud at how they have quickly adapted to their roles and managed it all seamlessly.