Emilie Jacques, attendant for surgical recipients: “We have an important role to play”

Workers everywhere are on the front lines despite the end of countless social, cultural and economic activities. The newspapers of the National Cooperative of Independent Information publish a series of portraits of those for whom there is neither isolation at home nor telework. These everyday heroes who stand guard in our upset lives.
The art of effective health network lead a fight at all times to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, this invisible enemy and sneaky raging across the globe. The beneficiary attendant Émilie Jacques is one of those health professionals who have dedicated themselves for weeks for the good of the community. In 15 years in the surgery department at Brome-Missisquoi-Perkins Hospital (BMP), she has never faced such a health crisis.

Q How are you experiencing this crisis in the health network?

A At the start, it was a bit ambiguous. We were unsure where to head, what to do and how to do it. It was very destabilizing. We learned a little on the job as we say. On the other hand, we are trained to adapt to all kinds of emergency situations, to keep a cool head. We know that we have an important role to play in the current crisis. It is a lot of weight on our shoulders, but there is great solidarity in the staff. We will manage to get through this ordeal.

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Q How do you perceive the attitude of the population towards this pandemic?

A In the hospital, we have a great collaboration with the relatives of the patients. They understand that they cannot come to visit them. As for the exterior, we feel that a good part of the population is afraid. People face the unknown. On the other hand, it’s frustrating to see that people downplay the importance of following public health guidelines. It is a pity that some people do not take into account the repercussions of not respecting the confinement.

Q Do you feel supported by the leaders of the health network, by the Legault government since the coronavirus began to spread in Quebec?

A In this whole crisis, we are really not left to our own devices. We are really supported. It’s going relatively well overall. We receive new instructions to adjust day by day. It is demanding, but it is essential that it happens like that. In surgery, we changed our practice. Our floor will also be used for COVID-19 screening. If people are positive, part of our unit will be used to welcome these patients. The work dynamics are very different.

Q Do you see any similarities between the current situation and previous crises?

A We hoped that the crisis would not spread as much as in China and Italy. And so far, this has not been the case. But it is still a situation that should not be taken lightly. We see that it is a real pandemic, here too. Reality catches up with us. The crisis we are experiencing is much bigger than that of SARS and H1N1. The measures that we must take to avoid the spread is unprecedented. It is the first time that I have seen something like this. We have to go one day at a time, otherwise, in the longer term, it can be scary. It is obvious that we will be very proud when we can say that it is behind us.

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