melissa samaroo michael garron hospital

Coaching colleagues through COVID-19 at Michael Garron Hospital

Nearly 75 per cent of all health-care workers in Ontario are women, and every one of them is a hero! Here are just a few of their stories.

MELISSA SAMAROO | Michael Garron Hospital

One year after completing the nursing program at Ryerson University, Melissa Samaroo began working at Michael Garron Hospital. A year later, SARS happened. “I think experiencing SARS first-hand and caring for those patients in critical care opened my mind to the possibility of a pandemic,” says Samaroo who is now a manager at the hospital. Her 17 years of experience has also allowed her to help her colleagues. “This is where I think my experience with SARS prepared me. I can speak to younger staff who are experiencing this fresh from nursing school and to older staff who may feel anxious post-SARS,” says Samaroo. What’s different for Samaroo from her experience of nursing during SARS is that now she has a spouse and children. “This is a different period in my life, so my worries and concerns are different during this time too,” she says. Samaroo describes a typical shift as busy, challenging and non-stop. “We are doing a lot of planning and information sharing: when we think we have a good plan, we do it again for best-case and worst-case scenarios,” she says. “We do this all while balancing our day-to-day tasks — meetings, scheduling and rounding with staff, patients, and families, to name a few.” She says her support system of colleagues, family, and friends has been key for her, as well as the community. “The PPE drive, food donations, Toronto police salute, and all the signs in and on residents’ windows and lawns — it means a lot.”

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