Patricia Robitaille, RN, M.Sc., is a conseillère-cadre in frontline services. She was interviewed by Karine Marineau on May 13, 2021.
A Collaborative Effort Within the CIUSSS
As a conseillère-cadre, Patricia Robitaille advises teams and supports managers in the community sector, more precisely in routine care and family medicine groups. Her primary duties include supervising, evaluating and promoting quality nursing care through training and implementing new care protocols and procedures. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was involved in a range of nursing projects to respond to the different needs of the population.
In the early days of the pandemic, Robitaille helped develop an effective telephone assessment procedure used by home support staff to determine whether various user services were essential. “We set up a call centre to reach patients the day before or the morning of, taking their potential COVID symptoms into account.” The goal was to maintain essential services for users, including medicine administration.
Later, Robitaille became very involved in the launch and day to day operations of a drive-through screening clinic in the parking lot of CLSC René-Cassin. She also helped open an assessment clinic at the same site, since symptomatic patients were no longer allowed to visit clinics and FMGs. “We had to make a lot of adjustments, both with families and healthcare professionals. We worked crazy hours!”
After this, she was asked to oversee the installation of the trailer in the Jewish General Hospital parking lot. The aim was to screen as many people as possible. “All of the CIUSSS teams worked together on this project,” she affirmed. “We also set up four screening centres, including the one in Outremont right in the middle of the City’s archives!”
Robitaille had to learn how to manage all kinds of things on the fly: project management, team problems, interpersonal conflicts and her own stress. The former home care nurse also did screenings in different intermediate resources (IR) alongside CIUSSS staff due to the number of outbreaks and lack of personnel to do the tests in a timely manner. “We’re used to working in silos, so this helped us build stronger ties,” she recounted.
Robitaille also helped the team that was delivery COVID test results, making sure results were sent to the right people with as little delay as possible. “We called people and sent them emails before the process finally became automated.”
There was a dip between the two waves. “I felt guilty for having a normal schedule again. My team really helped me get through this period.” Robitaille also worked in an IR with patients suffering from major neurocognitive disorders, and helped the Red Cross set up zones.
When the second wave hit, Patricia took part in the vaccine pilot project for CHSLD staff, an extraordinary experience, according to her. “Despite our physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, going through these novel experiences together really helped us gain respect for each other’s work.”