A team of 10 nurses from Metro South Health have headed to the frontline in Victoria as the southern state struggles to cope with a growing COVID-19 outbreak.
The nurses, all from Princess Alexandra Hospital, formed a large part of Queensland’s first contingent of 27 nurses to volunteer in pop-up screening clinics in the hot-spot areas.
Chloe Kiely, a registered nurse who had worked as part of the hospital fever clinic at the height of the national response was quick to raise a gloved hand to volunteer.
“The reason I volunteered was really about gaining the experience and I have the skill-set they needed from the COVID-19 screening clinic at PA Hospital,” said the recently graduated mother-of-two.
Chloe said the best way to describe the general feeling of the community is that it is a bit tense compared to Brisbane.
“It is certainly busier here. We are working in teams across the clinics in the hot-spot areas and we are seeing a large volume of people coming through for testing,” she said.
“We are really cautious carrying out the screening, we have really good policies in place for how we manage any potentially infectious materials,” she said. “I feel quite safe dealing with any potential COVID cases that we have come through.”
Managing the concerns of her family was key to joining the nursing effort from Queensland and it was her family network that made way for her four-week deployment to Melbourne with the possibility of extension.
“I definitely thought twice about what it would mean leaving a couple of kids and my husband at home manning the fort, but I have a really supportive family network,” Chloe said.
Fellow PA Hospital nurse Lauchlan West said the decision to volunteer was not difficult and he embraced it as an excellent opportunity.
“Being part of a global pandemic response happens once-in-a-lifetime and my family is fully supportive,” he said.
“Victoria needed a hand and I’m sure they would do the same if it was Queensland that needed the support.”
The nurses are expected to spend four weeks in Victoria, predominantly staffing mobile fever clinics, and will be required to quarantine for two weeks on their return to Queensland.
Another 13 Queensland nurses will join their counterparts in the Victorian response effort later this week.