This is Rida. She is a resident.
“In the beginning, our clinical rotations and in-person classes were temporarily suspended, preventing us from participating in direct patient care. However, impelled by a strong desire to play my part in the fight against COVID-19, I connected with six like-minded medical students across Ontario to spearhead the PPE (personal protective equipment) for HCPs (health care providers) Toronto Initiative.
Our goal was to identify community supplies of PPE and donate them to healthcare facilities in dire need within the Greater Toronto area.
Since conception, we have grown to recruit over 900 keen volunteers for cold calling community businesses as well as picking-up and dropping off sourced PPE supplies. Furthermore, following public health authorities’ encouragement of using reusable fabric face masks, we have launched the Mask Exchange Program and the Toronto Sews Program. As the community engagement lead of our initiative, I am extremely proud that we have collaborated with +112 community partners to collect and distribute +6300 face shields, +1900 shoe covers, +3800 N95 masks, +17,500 surgical masks, +2300 gowns, +181,000 gloves, +174 hand-sanitizer bottles, and +$12,000 in donations. Although I am very pleased with our accomplishments thus far, I recognize that we have a long way to go as the pandemic evolves.
Fortunately, it has not been all business. This unanticipated time away from clinical duties and academia has also been important for my personal growth. It has given me an opportunity to slow down, reconnect with old friends, strengthen my relationships (albeit virtually for now), and pick-up new hobbies such as cooking, fitness and photography.
I have also been able to use this time to prioritize my mental health, which has been a blessing in disguise as it will serve me well during the busy days to come.
As I eagerly await the return to my pre-pandemic routine, I am reminded of a quote by Dave Hollis – “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.””