With overflowing intensive care units and the fourth wave of COVID-19 in full effect, the early November arrival of 15 Canadian Armed Forces members to Regina General Hospital could not have come at a better time.
The team included six critical care nurses working in the intensive care units (four helping with the overflow in the medical care unit, two in the cardiac care unit), four general duty nursing officers teamed up with four medical technicians to support the medical care units, and one senior nursing officer.
That senior nursing officer is Maj. Linda Jackson. She says the gratitude shown by hospital staff was apparent from the very beginning.
“One nurse at the hospital said there was a day she didn’t feel well and she didn’t feel guilty calling in sick and doing some self-care ’cause she knew we were there,” said Jackson.
The military unit was a part of Operation Laser Saskatchewan.
After a day of training with local front-line staff, the military nurses and medical technicians were in the ICUs the following day.
The team was initially looking to return home on Nov. 19. That deadline came and passed with the mission not wrapping up until Dec. 3.
Jackson explained that the exit date was reassessed after it was deemed Regina General staff could use their continued assistance.
“I think one of the driving reasons we remained was to keep boosting the morale — to let them know for a few more weeks we would be with them in this ongoing fight, side by side.”
Normally, missions of this nature are related to supporting other Canadian Armed Forces in their health-care efforts.
Jackson highlighted that it was an honour and a privilege to assist fellow Canadians and health-care professionals. Those front-line health-care professionals, to her, are the real stars.
“They are the true heroes of this story. We felt that way from day one and we feel that as we leave. We just have the utmost admiration and respect for the staff and community.”
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