Public Health Nurse
Public Health Nurse, Nicole Gamble is a great example of two traits that have played a key role in the health care system's ability to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic: adaptability and ingenuity.
With 11 years of nursing experience – most recently at ACCESS River East – Nicole had been quite happy working with postpartum mothers and young children. She never dreamed she'd be faced with having to quickly shift gears to become a case investigator - a position that engages with clients who are positive for COVID-19 to help determine where they may have acquired the virus and those they may have, unknowingly, exposed to it.
Thankfully, Nicole not only adapted quickly, but helped improve the contact tracing process. After weeks of seeing case numbers rise, and seeing a familiar trend among those she called having difficulty recalling their contacts, Nicole saw a gap that needed to be filled. On November 25, she emailed Lanette Siragusa, Chief Nursing Officer with Shared Health, to suggest that testing sites have clients begin listing their contacts as soon as they are tested, when that information was still fresh in their minds.
It was a great idea that was quickly put into action. In just 25 minutes, it was forwarded to the pandemic Operations Team and, within days, it resulted in a new contact tracing form that was implemented province-wide. It has proven itself a valuable tool for expediting the case investigation process.
While Nicole is quick to point out that she did not actually create the tool itself, she says it is great example of health care workers working beyond the normal chains of command to quickly turn a good idea into a useful tool in helping reduce the spread of COVID-19. "I'm thrilled to hear clients and colleagues reporting they have found this tool helpful," Nicole says. "I truly think we are making a difference in breaking the chain of transmission when close contacts can be accurately and efficiently identified, with this as an added tool in our toolbox. I am both humbled and honored that my small suggestion from someone working the front lines can make such a big impact on helping reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in Manitoba."