Amrit Chana, sitting at a hospital screening stand

Amrit Chana normally spends her days in the outpatient procedure suite (OPS). As a registered nurse, her focus is on caring for patients who have undergone minor procedures and helping them recover and get home. In March, COVID-19 changed that. With OPS only dealing with the most urgent cases due to the cancellation of non-urgent and elective procedures, Amrit was redeployed as a screener at the main door on days when OPS had no patients.

The screener program was initiated at the start of the pandemic. Staff in this role ask everyone entering our sites key questions to screen for signs and symptoms of respiratory illness. Amrit was made for the job.

On a typical day, before service ramp up, more than 350 people would come through the main door, (and more than 1,200 staff, physicians and volunteers through the MDRD doors). Amrit’s training as a nurse allowed her to clearly communicate complex issues to visitors and educate them on the pandemic. She enjoyed being the first friendly face people saw and representing the hospital to the community.

Amrit got to know the people coming to MSH on a regular basis and enjoyed greeting them each day. Her kindness and empathy were on full display every shift as she welcomed soon-to-be moms arriving in labour and as she cheered people on when they got discharged.

However, being a screener isn’t just about saying hello and asking a list of questions. Amrit found the hardest and most rewarding part of the job was being able to support people who were struggling with not being able to visit their loved ones due to hospital visitor restrictions. “I extended the compassion I share with patients and families in OPS to patients and families at the door,” she explains.

In May, Amrit returned to her role in OPS. When she is not at work she enjoys running and hot yoga. She also loves family time with her husband and her new puppy and can often be found playing a quick game of basketball with her two children.