Mhairi Lintott RN HBScN
Public Health Nurse, Access Winnipeg West
Mhairi Lintott has been nursing for the past 34 years in various provinces, with the last 19 as a Public Health nurse in Winnipeg. She graduated with an honours baccalaureate degree in science from Lakehead University. From there Mhairi has worked in rural Saskatchewan, Northern Manitoba, North Western Ontario, and Nunavut, all of which have been tremendous experiences and has shaped the nurse she is today. Mhairi has enjoyed the challenge of working, most recently, on the centralized Covid-19 team with the WRHA.
Sylvia Camara Tavares RN BN PNC (c), Public Health Nurse, COVID-19 Public Health Team
Sylvia Camara Tavares is a Public Health Nurse with over 20+ years of experience in the Public Health domain and is currently working on the COVID-19 Public Health Team. She graduated with a Baccalaureate in Nursing from the University of Manitoba and began her nursing career at St Boniface Hospital on a high-risk postpartum unit. Sylvia transitioned to Public Health in 2005. During this time, she received her Douglas College Certificate and became a Certified Lactation Consultant.
Sylvia also worked as a SANE (sexual assault nurse examiner) with Health Sciences Centre and worked in Home Care privately with Medox. Sylvia received her Perinatal Nursing Certificate with the Canadian Association of Nurses and completed her Winnipeg Regional Health Authority / Red River College certification in Health Services Leadership & Management in 2016. A self-professed people-person, Sylvia is passionate about community health, and more importantly, how she can make her community a better place.
Tanya Horton, RN BN, Communicable Disease Coordinator CD & Immunization Program
Tanya Horton has worked in varied Public Health Nursing areas for more than 20 years, with a passion for communicable diseases throughout. The first half of her career was spent in British Columbia, followed by a return to Manitoba with nearly a decade supporting Winnipeg's Inkster community.
Her most recent achievement is as a Communicable Disease Control Coordinator within the Winnipeg Region which she has held for just over a year. Her role provides regional and Population and Public Health program leadership in immunization and the prevention and management of communicable diseases and outbreaks within the Winnipeg Health Region.
Three community-based nurses shared their time with us to outline their regular work and how that’s changed and aligned to the effort to contain COVID-19.
Their usual work includes crucial building blocks of population and public health like healthy children and youth, healthy sexuality and harm reduction, immunization, Indigenous health promotion and communicable disease prevention and management.
The World Health Organization outlines five strategic actions to contain a pandemic, the third is “Intensify rapid containment operations” and this is where these nurses in the community have been directing much of their effort. Their rapid collection of information to minimize transmission and spread can’t be emphasized enough. The COVID-19 team of nurses in community quickly grew from 6 to 12 public health nurses plus additional communicable disease coordinators, travel health nurses, administration and casual staff.
The case investigation interviews these nurses perform are lengthy. They must assess the client, provide education about isolation, monitoring and recovery and then complete the contact tracing. The expectation is that they will have spoken with each of the contacts within 24 hours of receiving the initial positive COVID-19 result. This has been as quick as no contacts and as drawn out as 30 contacts for them to connect with.
As this workload mounted the Provincial Call Centre was created and some of the screening work was diverted allowing the public health nurses to concentrate on active daily monitoring, case investigations and other core public health work.
That core work has changed too. All of the groups they facilitate (Healthy Baby, breastfeeding & nutrition etc.) have stopped as have school-based immunization programs. They have modified other programs including postpartum follow ups by phone, dropping off scales and providing guidance by phone so families can monitor infant weights. If they do need to enter a home, they do as much of their work as is possible by phone to minimize time inside the home and wear personal protective equipment at every visit.
Question and answer