TASLEEM NIMJEE | Humber River Hospital
At the beginning of March, Dr. Tasleem Nimjee says her entire team in the emergency department at Humber River Hospital was running on adrenaline. “I had trouble sleeping at night. What kept me up wasn’t worry about my own safety — a mother never worries about herself,” says Dr. Nimjee. Instead she was worrying about her children, her husband, her parents and, of course, her patients. “It is terrible to be sick, to be scared and to be without your family by your side. This kind of isolation from those you love takes a real toll on the human spirit. As health-care workers, we are doing our best to fill that gap,” she says. Dr. Nimjee is the physician lead for the COVID emergency response and the director of medical innovation at the hospital. “As an ER physician, I now wear personal protective equipment for every patient interaction, and much of this has to be worn all day. This makes it harder to do simple and important things like convey empathy to our patients or linger in a patient’s room when they might need a little more human contact,” says Dr. Nimjee. When she’s not in the ER, she is working administratively to support the hospital’s COVID emergency response by leading physicians to adopt virtual care platforms and creating educational content for staff on how to safely treat patients with COVID-19 infections. “What I value most about my job is that I get to connect with people, often at their most vulnerable, and simply listen. You learn a lot when you listen,” says Dr. Nimjee.