UBCO student assists KGH doctors during COVID-19 pandemic - InfoNews

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UBCO student assists KGH doctors during COVID-19 pandemic

Ngan Nguyen Lyle, a master's student at UBCO, assisted with the communications and education between staff members at KGH during the pandemic.
Image Credit: UBCO
May 08, 2020 - 7:00 PM

A Kelowna UBCO medical student experienced the pandemic first-hand when she was called to drop her books and don her hospital gear to assist medical staff at Kelowna General Hospital.

Ngan Nguyen Lyle, a Master of Data Science student at UBC Okanagan and medical doctor, was summoned to return to work to support Interior Health’s COVID-19 response team in late March, according to a UBCO news release.

Over the last month, she helped hospital staff with communication and education, reading data charts, attending meetings, and responding to requests and concerns from physicians and staff members in the Emergency Room, Intensive Care Unit and on the COVID-19 floor, she said.

READ MORE: Interior Health has second-highest rate of overdose deaths in 2020

“Just working with the staff in all of these areas to help with communication, answer questions and concerns and all of this is new. It’s a new virus and things were changing very quickly, not just at the hospital but on (a national and international level) and it causes uncertainty and there’s stress related to that but you have to respond to new information,” Lyle said.

Working to facilitate information and support different departments also took some of the work load off the infection control team, which she said were “exhausted.”

She said the province prepared really well for the pandemic and mobilized early at KGH “in the sense that we were ready as early as hospitals in the lower mainland were, but didn’t have as many cases.”

“Overall everyone was great,” she said.

READ MORE: Kelowna doctor says people are getting sicker by avoiding ER due to COVID-19 fear

Having worked as an internal medicine resident during the 2009 H1N1 epidemic, Lyle said “this is completely different. I think with H1N1 there was no lockdown. It was not as contagious of a disease and it’s a form of influenza,” she said.

Older people who were previously exposed to a different strain had some immunity to it, she said, and there was a treatment for influenza.

She said Kelowna had fewer cases because of the preparation, which was significant because of what happened in other places, she said. “All the hospitals were preparing for a possible increase in cases.”

Now that she’s dropped the scrubs and picked up the books again, her goal is to apply concepts she’s learning in the master's program to medicine.

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