This is Hennie. She is a public health nurse working as a case manager on the contact management team.
“I normally work with moms and babies, so this role has definitely been a bit different. Our work involves contacting all the positive cases in our region to counsel them about symptoms, tell them about their isolation period, and do contact tracing. We’re also often helping clients manage their symptoms, telling them about the self-isolation guidelines, and also letting them know when to seek emergency treatment.
There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to help protect the community. It’s definitely a challenging role at times.
It’s tough to live vicariously through your clients, especially if they’re grieving the loss of a loved one or if they’re caring for someone who’s really ill. It can be very emotionally taxing, but the case managers debrief with each other, so we’re also very supportive in that sense.
That said, there are definitely rewarding experiences as well. One of my clients is a mom of two little people, and I spoke to her in the very beginning when she first tested positive. Her kids and husband were both negative, so I had to talk her through how to self-isolate from her family for 14 days and to do the contact tracing. Then I also reconnected with her on day seven and finally on day 14. She tells me that she’s feeling fine and I release her.
And she just breaks down in tears and asks me if she can finally hug her children. I tell her of course, please hug your children and give them extra cuddles from me.
When you contact someone, you’re really on this journey with them from the day they test positive to the day you hopefully release them from isolation. You see the fear in the beginning, the hopefulness in the middle if they are feeling better, and the joy at the end when you tell them they can reunite with their families.