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Kamloops's COVID-swab 'champion' nurse sharing tips on social media

Brienna Wells has been teaching Interior Health how to best give nasal swabs for months, now she's taken her lessons viral.
Image Credit: YOUTUBE/Brienna Wells
February 13, 2021 - 7:30 AM

A Kamloops nurse has gone viral on Tik Tok after posting a how-to for COVID-19 swabs.

It took just a few days to reach over 100,000 views after Brienna Wells, a public health nurse in Kamloops, uploaded the video giving instructions on doing effective and painless nasal swabs.

"I always thought Tik Tok was just a bunch of kids dancing, but it's much more than that," Wells said. "I've had feedback from healthcare workers all around the world thanking me and saying it's been much better for their patients."

In her video, Wells doesn't skip a beat with the testing swab sitting past her nasal cavity to the nasopharynx, where the swab is properly administered. She continues talking right through.

While reaching a swab back nearly to the ears looks surely painful, Wells hopes the technique she and her team with Interior Health developed can ease anxieties within the community when they have to get tested.

Wells, who has experience in palliative care doing plenty of work to decrease pain and discomfort, says she has an affinity to learning how the nasal tests could be done effectively.

"In the beginning we all got thrown into a lot of these tests, I had a strange love of it and I was really interested in mastering the skill."

Nursing school had a couple lessons on nasal swabs, she said, but she doesn't feel it was enough to perfect good technique. But since the pandemic, there's been a need for nurses to administer thousands of swabs, and a need to do it better.

Along with another nurse in Kamloops, Wells was named the region's "COVID champion", tasked with teaching nurses in the area how to administer tests efficiently and without pain.

The finesse of her technique avoids sensitive areas of the nose prone to bleeding, which she says is making tests much more reliable because blood will often contaminate results.

"There's a lot of nervousness and fear in the community to get (testing) done, and people might think if it's not painful, it wasn't done correctly," Wells said. "It should be uncomfortable and weird, but it shouldn't be painful."

Her team at Interior Health has been sharing with other healthcare workers tips and tricks to administer tests well, but she hopes that her recent viral video will continue spreading the word to healthcare workers around the world.

"I'm so proud of our team, we are the best around at these tests."

You can watch the video on YouTube here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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