Testing for COVID-19 has been the heart of the fight against this virus in Saskatchewan and around the world. And communicating with those who have tested positive and negative is a huge priority for the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).
“As the number of COVID-19 tests increased in Saskatchewan, especially in Saskatoon, and our daily capacity was stretched, we began to seek ways to increase our team for the negative test call-backs,” explained Suzanne Mahaffey, Executive Director for Primary Health Care in Saskatoon Area and Community Lead for the Saskatoon Integrated Health Incident Command Centre (IHICC) for the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Nursing was logical partner for more resources, as nursing students are required to complete learning placements within Primary Health Care.
“At the end of summer, we had worked with the College of Nursing and the SHA’s own Nursing Practice and Education department and determined that performing negative test calls would be a suitable learning placement for the fourth-year nursing students at the University of Saskatchewan,” explained Dr. Jennifer Cushon, Director of Primary Health Care in Saskatoon.
The College of Nursing created the Negative COVID-19 Callback Centre (NCCC) on the University of Saskatchewan campus as a place for the students to complete this work.
Starting October 19, nursing students began calling back individuals who tested negative for COVID-19.
“It’s been a very exciting opportunity to both give the students experience in Primary Health Care, and to help some of our Primary Health Care teams with the most important work they are doing right now,” stated Mahaffey. “They have already increased their staffing to include a double shift following other changes to practicum demand in the community,” she stated.
The work the students are doing is critical to the fight against COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, Mahaffey noted. “Providing these negative test results in a timely way is extremely important, as is the health information these students are able to pass on to those they communicate with. It’s vital to combatting community spread of the virus,” she said.
Nursing students inside the Negative COVID Callback Centre (NCCC) on the University of Saskatchewan Campus. Photo courtesy University of Saskatchewan