A Horizon staff perspective: A look back at 2020

Dec. 21, 2020

Health care is a busy and challenging field – throw in a global pandemic and it’s no question: the Horizon team has worked through one of the most unforgettable years in their lifetime.

Our patients, clients, and communities have always appreciated the safe and quality care we provide, but this year, the entire world had the chance to see the importance of health care staff. Our teams go above and beyond to ensure the health and safety of those in their care.

We asked some of our staff a few questions about working in health care this year; here’s what they had to say. Enjoy! 

Jill Roberts

Registered Nurse, community health care and charge nurse at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre in the Saint John area

Linda Vair

Medical Radiation Technologist (MRT) in the Breast Imaging Department at Horizon’s St. Joseph’s Hospital in Saint John

Todd Farrell

Nurse Practitioner at Horizon’s Saint John Sexual Health Centre

Alison Manley

Health Sciences Librarian at Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital

Murielle Doucet

Addictions and Mental Health Prevention Coordinator, Moncton area

Greg Dunn

Emergency Management Coordinator at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital

Jenna McQuinn

Ultrasound Supervisor at Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital

What will you remember most about working in health care in 2020? 

Jill Roberts, Registered Nurse, community health care and charge nurse at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre in the Saint John area: Nursing is a life-long-learning experience, and this has been a year of learning new things and learning how to deliver care in a different way. I’ll remember the supportive and caring team I have had the privilege to work with, they are true heroes who stepped up to the plate when faced with a crisis.   

Linda Vair, Medical Radiation Technologist (MRT) in the Breast Imaging Department at Horizon’s St. Joseph’s Hospital in Saint John: I will remember the way everyone stepped up to meet the challenges we were all faced with. In some cases, our patients have had to wait longer to receive services or have been required to change their appointments. This can be very stressful, especially for a woman concerned about  diagnosis and treatment. I found our patients very understanding and cooperative, making our jobs so much easier.

Todd Farrell, Nurse Practitioner at Horizon’s Saint John Sexual Health Centre: The level of sacrifice and dedication I observed from all team members. Personal sacrifice is not a new phenomenon to those in health care, however, their ability to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 all while trying to balance personal lives, meet extra workplace demands and come together as a team to meet the ongoing needs of the public is truly admirable.  

Greg Dunn, Emergency Management Coordinator at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital: The challenges, the unknowns and the collaboration (among all departments and units) it took to overcome and enable us to keep clients, patients and staff safe.

Murielle Doucet, Addictions and Mental Health Prevention Coordinator, Moncton area: These words come to mind: stability, flexibility, solidarity and strong leadership. It’s been a difficult, unpredictable, and anxiety-provoking year with constant changes however I have felt safe, respected, listened to, and supported.

Alison Manley, Health Sciences Librarian at Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital: When I think of how everyone kept coming in, remaining dedicated to patient care, through constantly changing rules and policies, jumping in to do new things – and all of this despite how scary it was, particularly in the early days of the pandemic, I really think everyone deserves an award, a lot of sleep, and a giant cake.

How has COVID-19 changed the way you work?

Jenna McQuinn, Ultrasound Supervisor at Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital: COVID-19 made it necessary for me to be more meticulous than ever; I’ve had to prioritize reading every communication thoroughly and then pass the information on to my staff in effective ways, keeping them current with the latest directives, ensure proper staffing requirements and bookings to keep patients at the hospital for as minimal time as necessary, and allow enough time between patients to ensure safe and clean exam rooms.

Todd: COVID-19 opened the door to more virtual care visits, which were much less common in my practice prior to the pandemic. Hopefully, we continue to be open minded to this delivery model under the right circumstances, as it may improve access for patients.  

Murielle: One of the positive changes this year is more access to mental health and addictions services for citizens in New Brunswick. When they come to our program for services now, they can receive services face-to-face, by telephone or by video conference. 

Greg: COVID-19 has changed the way we do business in many areas but the one that sticks out the most to me access to our facilities and the various restrictions for access.

What is your hope for next year?

Linda:  ​My hope for next year is to, once again, be able to offer a supportive hug to my patients when they are anxious or overwhelmed. 

Jenna: A vaccine! Obviously, everyone is hopeful it to be released widely throughout Canada. With a vaccine, I believe most of the anxiety we’ve been noticing amongst patients will start to fade. Hopefully we can get back to providing a more comfortable patient experience

Jill:  My hope for next year is a vaccine becomes widely available and is effective in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 virus. 

Alison: A vaccine, of course! I’m hoping we’ll be able to return to some of our normal workplace traditions and gatherings. Working in health care can be mentally and emotionally challenging. This year has really underscored the importance of things we perhaps thought were a little silly or frivolous before, like decorating for holidays, or department potlucks, or even meeting in the same room. These things matter a lot for our wellness.

THANK YOU to all of Horizon’s wonderful staff for the incredible work they accomplished this year while facing a global pandemic.

Horizon is so fortunate to have such a great team!