A registered nurse (RN) at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC), Anna Harris was assigned as one of the charge nurses on the designated COVID-19 inpatient unit in April. As a mother to three young children, she says her biggest fear has been bringing the virus home to her family.
Ms. Harris was looking into options that would allow her to isolate from her family when the partnership between PRHC and Trent University – making residence rooms available for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic – was announced. She says the news came as “a huge relief,” and she was one of the first PRHC employees to move into Gzowski College.
“Making the decision to leave my house and move into Trent was not easy,” says Ms. Harris. “It’s an uncertain time. Everyone has their own decision to make, but with so many unknowns, I felt like moving into the university residence was the best decision for me and my family. The decision to self-isolate became the one thing I could control during this time.”
Nicole Glover is an RN in the Emergency Department at PRHC, and an alumna from the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing. She has been taking advantage of the housing partnership to support herself and her family in a different way. With two young kids at home, working night shifts can be difficult. Rather than staying at Trent full-time, Ms. Glover has been using the residence as a place to rest when she’s working night shifts.
“The constant changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought at work, as well as to my personal life, have absolutely taken a physical, mental and emotional toll,” says Ms. Glover. “Knowing that I can get a sound sleep at Trent when I’m working night shifts, and that there is a place for me to go if anything changes and I feel like my kids or family are at risk, is reassuring.”
As an alumna, this isn’t the first time that Ms. Glover has found support as part of the Trent community, she notes, “I graduated from the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing in 2011 and had a great experience with the program. The nursing faculty members were amazing and very approachable, and the program offered very applicable clinical experience. I was fortunate enough to get a job at PRHC right out of school with a temporary licence and was hired on full-time once I wrote my licensing exam.”
“I want to thank PRHC and Trent for making the transition to living away from home as easy as it could be,” adds Anna. “All the little things – the signage to guide us to the right parking lot, the visible security guards and amazing housekeeping staff, the welcome sign and even supplying laundry detergent for us – have made a big difference.”
Trent University is proud to be the first university in Ontario to have opened on-campus residence spaces to frontline workers. Thank you to our partners at PRHC for this story. A special thank you the community for their generous support of this initiative through donations to the PRHC Foundation’s COVID-19 response fund.