811 Experience - Regan

04 Apr 2020

8-1-1 is a provincial health information and advice phone line that provides callers with public information and connects them to healthcare workers (i.e. registered nurses, dieticians, and pharmacists). With the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare institutions and services including 8-1-1 have been reaching capacity. Through the WE-CAN COVID-19 Medical Student Response Team, medical students are connected to various non-clinical public health projects including working as call navigators for the 8-1-1 COVID-19 line.

Working for 8-1-1 has been humbling and rewarding. We would work 8-10 hours shifts answering a wide variety of calls with COVID-19-related concerns. We address these calls using a provincial-based algorithm and recommendations from HealthLink BC and BCCDC. My 8-1-1 experience not only improves my communication skills, but it provides me with a direct view of the public’s concern and reaction during this crisis.

Many callers have thoughtful questions and concerns, and they would take my recommendations seriously. Likewise, it has been heartwarming to see the copious amount of support of the community, whether it is through the 7:00pm cheers or the praises and gratitude that the callers have expressed. Although I am unable to provide clinical assistance, I am grateful to have this opportunity to connect the public with healthcare providers. I am confident that the unity of our community and healthcare system will allow us to emerge triumphant from this crisis.

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