My job normally involves security patrols, watching over patients and visitors when they’re at the hospital, responding to codes, traffic control, things like that.
When the pandemic started and even now, we have a lot more responsibility around who is coming into the building. We stopped having visitors back in March and we had to be on high alert to make sure we only had essential visitors coming into the building. We also had to be careful about patients leaving to visit loved ones in the parking lot and then coming back in, because that was a risk, especially in the early days of the pandemic. Even now, we still have to patrol for visiting happening in the parking lot and we let families know that there is a system for booking visits with patients or residents in their rooms. I understand it’s hard on families, but it’s part of our job to share what the policy is and make sure we’re keeping everyone as safe as possible.
A significant change from my usual job happened when Providence began using the B5 unit as a rehabilitation and recovery unit for COVID-19 positive patients. I was put in charge of escorting the patient transfer team once a patient was admitted to that unit and to take them straight there. I would operate the elevator for them to make sure no one was touching any surfaces in the elevator. They would then get the patient to their room and I would escort the team back out.
I never looked at it as I have to be home to be safe – we all have to do what we have to do in this hard time.
There were times when I was a bit worried about getting sick, like when escorting the patient transfer team to the B5 unit, but I always think that it’s my job and it’s what I have to do. You just have to be cautious and wear the appropriate PPE.
I remember having to go get a COVID-19 test and I was off for two days waiting for the result. As soon as I found out it was negative, I called my supervisors to let them know and I wanted to get back to work because I knew the team needed me. I never looked at it as I have to be home to be safe – we all have to do what we have to do in this hard time.
Nazim Khalil is a Security Supervisor at Providence Healthcare.
As told to Danielle Pereira. Photos by Katie Cooper. This interview has been edited and condensed.