Stepping up to help
March 18, 2020
As healthcare workers take on the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also facing disruptions in their daily lives just like everyone else due to closed schools and daycares. Seeing this dilemma, students in the Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences are banding together to help healthcare practitioners in Kingston by offering free services such as childcare, pet care, pickups and drop-offs, and grocery shopping.
“During public health crises like COVID-19, the demand on healthcare workers becomes extremely high. As aspiring health sciences professionals, we wanted to come together as a community to offer our support. Many of the healthcare workers in the Kingston Health Sciences Centre are also our teachers and mentors, and this felt like something we could do to give back to them after all they’ve given us,” says Shikha Patel, an organizer for the initiative and student in the Queen’s School of Medicine Class of 2022.
The initiative was started by members of the Aesculapian Society, the student government for the Queen’s School of Medicine, but quickly expanded to include students from across the Faculty of Health Sciences, which also includes the School of Nursing and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. In the few days since announcing the effort, many students have come forward to volunteer and many healthcare workers have reached out to request assistance.
The students are being sure to practice social distancing while they help out. Each student volunteer will work with only one family, to minimize the chances of spreading the virus. And any student who has travelled internationally or been working in a hospital will self-isolate for 14 days before offering any services.
“This is a very new initiative, so we’re still figuring out some details, and our capacity may change as the weeks go on. But we’ll be working to make sure we can provide as much help as we are able to,” says Patel.
Students who are interested in helping can fill out the volunteer form circulated by the Aesculapian Society.