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​On The FrontLines: How Staff Members’ Dedication Make SCHC’s Vaccine Clinic Possible

May 10, 2022

Written by Lori Beesley, Jason Posnansky, NP, Chris Pinto, RD, Joanne Fernandes, RPN, Kareema Nizar, NP-PHC

The Hub being transformed into a vaccine clinic has received great praise from clients, staff, and the community overall. However, this wouldn’t be possible without the remarkable commitment and dedication of different staff members from various departments, with one common goal. Keep the people of Scarborough safe. Read below to get the perspectives from some of these staff members and how this experience has been.

​I’m the Coordinator of Volunteer Engagement and Student Placement at SCHC. Being asked to get multiple volunteers to help at the vaccine clinic for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, was a challenge. Since we have so many amazing people who volunteer with us, I sent the request out to our existing  group. The responses came in and almost 40 people now volunteer at the Hub vaccine clinic. Scheduling a volunteer “staff” of that many people has not been without its ups and downs but we are fortunate to have a wonderful, dedicated group. These volunteers want to help make history happen with no other reward than knowing they are making a valuable contribution to their community. 

– Lori Beesley

Over the last couple of months I have observed the dedication of the team members from the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC) and the Scarborough Health Network (SHN) come together valiantly to meet the urgent needs of our high-risk community. At SCHC we opened an extension of the SHN Covid-19 vaccine clinics (CVC), which began by prioritizing the most vulnerable. We continually strived to overcome any barriers our clients may face, such as reduced physical mobility, transportation concerns, language barriers and any other challenges that arise. Furthermore, we have keen staff and volunteers to welcome clients, beginning with screeners and greeters, as well as registration staff who do their best to expedite the administration requirements. Then after registering, clients will be directed to the vaccine room where doctors and Nurse Practitioners like myself will briefly screen for relevant health related criteria, and then administer the vaccine safely. It has been a pleasure to meet staff from both organizations who are committed to coming together for the common purpose of eradicating Covid-19 from our community as soon as possible. It’s also encouraging to notice clients eager to receive the vaccine, so that soon their families and community will be safe and resume some sense of normalcy in the months to follow. Finally, it’s been very gratifying to be a part of an organization which has faced every obstacle and challenge head on. I know we will continue to make a significant difference for the Scarborough community.

– Jason Posnansky, NP

As a site lead at the COVID-19 vaccine clinic, when I arrive I make sure all of the staff know where they are going and I lead the team huddle to go over all over the important points like eligibility criteria, how many people we have booked and safety protocols. Once we know what vaccine we have received we open our doors to the public. During the day, I assist with helping those who may not be eligible for the vaccine. However, I do miss my clients and my role as a Registered Dietician but we feel the team spirit of those at the clinic and being able to work together is amazing. I really enjoy the team I get to work with and that I am contributing to making things go back to normal. Everyone works together to give our clients access to the vaccine which is so important because everyone needs to get vaccinated.

– Chris Pinto, RD

I am an RPN at the SCHC Markham site but I have really enjoyed working at the SCHC Hub Vaccine Clinic as an Observation Nurse. As an observation nurse, I interact with a lot of clients by providing post vaccine care health teaching. In this position, it is critical for me to ensure patients who are nervous feel supported. I endeavour to make them feel comfortable and reassure them that the side effects they are feeling are normal after receiving the vaccine. We also confirm that clients receive a record of their vaccination. With COVID-19, I didn’t get to work with my usual team as we rotated on-site but now I get to experience that large team approach again working at the clinic. It has been a great opportunity to meet different staff both from SCHC and SHN. Everyone is supportive, patient and helpful to one another, as well as the clients, and this enables us deliver services efficiently.

– Joanne Fernandes, RPN

I am a primary health care NP working at SCHC. Since the opening of the Covid vaccine clinic at the HUB I have been working as charge nurse and vaccinator.

I am grateful to have this opportunity to be a part of this valuable service offered to the Scarborough community. Being in charge entails coordination and constant communication with vaccinators, the pharmacist and site lead. It keeps you on your toes, nevertheless is very rewarding at the end of shift. Being a part of the vaccine clinic has given me the opportunity to meet with a number of physicians, nurses and dedicated volunteers from the community. It has also allowed me to appreciate and value the hard work and dedication of our team to make this clinic a successful and rewarding experience during these challenging times.

– Kareema Nizar, NP-PHC

To learn more about our clinic, visit www.schcontario.ca/covid-19support and watch our YouTube video that shows you what you can expect when having an appointment at our clinic!