As testing for COVID-19 continues to increase in Saskatchewan, so does the need for health care professionals who communicate test results. The University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Nursing has partnered with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and Public Health to create the Negative COVID Callback Centre (NCCC) on the USask campus.
Starting on October 19, nursing students began calling back individuals who tested negative for COVID-19.
“The NCCC was established to assist in providing nursing services to the community during this pandemic,” said Tish King, instructor with the College of Nursing. “When making the calls, our students will provide the timely communication of COVID-19 test results to those who have tested negative, while also providing tailored, responsive health information and education to help reduce the number of preventable cases in the City of Saskatoon.”
The students working in the call centre are fourth-year nursing students who are currently completing a community nursing class.
“To create the NCCC and its operational policies in one week was a huge undertaking, but we are all excited about what the students will get to learn through this experience,” said King. “The NCCC student leadership team has worked extremely hard and their efforts have surpassed all expectations. I couldn’t be more proud of these students, who are the future of nursing in Saskatchewan.”
Jill Werle with Disease Control, Population and Public Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority, said the department is pleased to have fourth-year nursing students working with their COVID-19 team.
“The partnership between the USask College of Nursing and the Saskatchewan Health Authority is geared towards providing health-related information to people in the community who have tested negative for COVID-19. This is behind the scenes work that plays a critical role in the larger system in responding to COVID-19. The work of the students is assisting Public Health to provide timely negative test results and health information to members of the community. As future health professionals, we hope this experience leads to a better understanding and even a passion for the important role public health plays in the health of our community.”
Brendan Neudorf is pleased to have been one of the nursing students who was part of the student leadership team to get the NCCC up and running.
“In only one week, our group had to think about not just the best way to set up a call centre to make the calls, but we also had to learn from the SHA what to say during the calls,” he said. “We had to consider the health literacy of the people we’re calling, the confidentiality of their health information, and be ready to talk about disease prevention, specifically related to COVID-19. We worked with public health to build training programs for our fellow students and instructors, including policies and procedures, program evaluations, data collection for the SHA, and ensure the USask campus exposure control plan was followed.”
The Negative COVID Callback Centre is located in the Health Sciences Building on the USask campus in Saskatoon. Students are currently working in the centre Monday to Wednesday until mid-December.
“Although the group of nursing students who helped establish the NCCC will complete their community nursing class in December, it is our goal moving forward to continue providing meaningful support to our community during the pandemic in whatever way our nursing students can help,” said King.