Lori Weseen gives a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to William Lindstrom. Lindstrom was the first person immunized at the new clinic inside Arena 2 in Quesnel. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Lori Weseen gives a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to William Lindstrom. Lindstrom was the first person immunized at the new clinic inside Arena 2 in Quesnel. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

‘We answer the call,’ Quesnel nurse one of many making pandemic switch

Vanessa Salmons is helping lead vaccination efforts in Quesnel

The theme of 2021 nursing week is ‘we answer the call,’ and Vanessa Salmons is one of many nurses working in Quesnel who has embodied that phrase.

Like so many other nurses, Salmons has taken a new role thanks to COVID-19. She used to run Quesnel’s perinatal program, but with the pandemic, she’s been taking on a role helping lead the mass vaccination efforts at Arena 2.

VIDEO: Arena 2 vaccination clinic opens with drumming, singing, smudging

“I’m proud of all the nurses in Northern Health who have answered the call, and responded so readily,” she said. “Certainly many are tired, many have been impacted and have been ill with COVID-19 across the province.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant nurses have taken on new and more prominent roles.

“Public health is more in the forefront,” Salmons said. “It highlights the function of nurses, in testing, in case management, doing contact tracing and supporting communities to be more healthy.”

Some of the nurses helping vaccination efforts at Arena 2 include people who came out of retirement and students who have been hired on as summer students.

Nurses in all roles, even if not dealing with pandemic response directly, have been affected by COVID-19.

“The pandemic started with mortality and death in long-term care, and that brought to light the care responsibilities nurses have in those settings,” Salmons said.

Salmons said staff receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine has provided a sense of relief.

“It’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” Salmons said of vaccinations.

Salmons said Northern Health’s values are respect, innovation, collaboration and empathy, and nurses have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to follow those values.

“(I’m) thankful to be a nurse, and proud of all my colleagues, as we hopefully get to the end of this pandemic.” she said. “The pandemic has certainly heightened community awareness of nurses and physicians.”

READ MORE: British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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