Medical students making a difference during the pandemic

During the third wave of the pandemic in Kingston, it has been all hands on deck to deal with not onlymedical students giving vaccine shots local cases of the virus, but also patient transfers from out of region to our hospitals. Physicians have been working tirelessly during this time, but they have had an assist from the Queen’s medical students. 

Aesculapian Society president Tony Li says “Queen’s medical students are getting involved in many capacities during the pandemic to assist physicians and ensure the region’s healthcare services are able to run at the capacity required amidst rampant redeployment and resource shortages.” Most notably, students have been supporting the local vaccination efforts at various locations including Kingston General Hospital (KGH), Providence Care, dialysis units and community sites. “Their responsibilities have included anywhere from patient intake, screening, flow to direct vaccine administration, the consent process and monitoring for adverse effects following immunization,” Li says. He also says medical students have been supporting physicians in other capacities as well such as volunteering at the Obstetrics and Gynecology clinics at KGH. “Their work and presence has allowed for the clinics to run on schedule and operate at functional capacity. Despite having busy curricular responsibilities amidst classes and exams, students have gone above and beyond by taking time out of their schedules to support the community’s healthcare workers.” 

Students have even moved around their busy academic schedules in order to be of service to local healthcare providers. “With our Undergraduate Medical Education administration being very supportive of our involvement, many students have even volunteered during class or moved exams to ensure shifts remain filled,” Li says. As President of the Aesculapian Society, Li knows that “medical students have become very familiar with the major changes to the clinical environment that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, and as such have been a strong resource that has been recruited from all areas of the healthcare system,” he says. “It is an honour to be able to contribute to the region’s healthcare effort and students look forward to continuing involvement to ensure we can navigate through this difficult pandemic.”