Our lives have changed, and this is the new normal now
As a lab assistant at Chilliwack General Hospital, Menuka (Menu) Prasad collects various samples from around the hospital, brings them back to the lab for processing, or forwards them to technicians or off-site for analysis. She also does electrocardiograms after hours and on weekends.
“We work side-by-side with doctors because we’re their access to diagnostic tools,” she explains, which makes it easier for doctors to diagnose patients.
“I mostly work in the emergency room (ER), and if the ER is busy, we are busy,” she says. “We have to multitask and work 10 times harder now. We can be short-staffed at times, and things can get chaotic. We have to work as a team, helping and covering for one another.”
The pandemic has made entering the ER stressful. Not knowing if the patient is COVID-positive is mentally exhausting, Menu says, “but we have to shrug off our stress and fear, put on our PPE and just go for it. However, it is always on your mind.”
Menu, who has been an HEU member for nine years, says the pandemic has changed her workload. With outpatients, health care staff have to clean and wipe all the surfaces after each patient leaves. Wait times are longer, and more staff are off sick.
“People can get impatient and rude,” she says. “But we are working very hard and we go the extra mile to please our patients.”
Menu misses some of the day-to-day support from her co-workers. “Before COVID, if we had a bad day, we could always get a hug from someone, but not anymore. We used to get together, and I miss that,” she says.
Health care workers are in this pandemic just like everyone else, Menu adds. “If we work together, we can get out of this together. Our lives have changed, and this is the new normal now.”
Menu, Lab Assistant, part of the health care team