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Health alert: Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Cooperation in the time of COVID

29 May 2020

Pictured: Sabita Thapa, Maddy Barning and Tain Gardiner

The once-in-a-century pandemic has highlighted the value of teamwork from the amazing staff at QEII Hospital.

Clinical Nurse Consultant in Infection Prevention and Management, Tain Gardiner said coordinating different departments to implement consistent COVID-19 management protocols was key to keeping the virus out of QEII.  

“Inter- and intra-departmental collaboration has been critical. We started our COVID-19 response in January with the teams in Education and Emergency Department because we knew they would be the first areas to be impacted,” Tain said.

“We had the Nurse Educators arming the hospital with the most critical messaging about hand hygiene and our team went to work refining procedures for staff before the crisis escalated.”

Ms Gardiner said creating a culture of accountability at all levels of the hospital was also important.

“We educated a lot of administration staff and clinicians from the frontline to back of house, and spent a lot of time with the operational services staff who were critical to that frontline.

“It was important to reinforce the message that we could keep staff and patients safe if everyone took responsibility for upholding social distancing and hygiene protocols, and to encourage a culture of enquiry with the departments.”

Clinical Nurse Maddy Barning who works as part of the Infection Prevention and Management team said the extraordinary nature of the pandemic added to the challenge of responding to the virus.  

“The trickiest part was that there wasn’t any precedent for this sort of thing,” she said. “We had seen outbreaks before but nothing on this scale. Last year we were doing measles, Influenza, Norovirus, diphtheria and other things we can vaccinate against, but not something like this that has gone on for months and months. There was a lot of fear in the community and amongst staff.”

Ms Gardiner said showing empathy towards staff who had concerns about their personal safety had helped to prevent the spread of misinformation about coronavirus throughout the hospital.

“The Infection Management Service has a good relationship with the staff at this hospital; we treat everyone with respect and that is so important because when staff need information, we want them to come to us first,” she said.

“The response to managing COVID-19 at QEII has been phenomenal and a real team effort and we’re so pleased we have been able to support staff during this crisis.”

Acknowledgement of full team: Alison Smith. Dr Keith Hall (ID reg), Mandy Ng (AMS pharmacist) as well as Dr David Looke, Dr Andrew Henderson, Dr Lana Sundac (liaison ID physicians with PAH)

Last updated 29 May 2020
Last reviewed 29 May 2020

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