Health-care providers can now count on medical students at the University of Saskatchewan for support in their everyday tasks.
The Student Medical Society of Saskatchewan expressed their appreciation for the frontline health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Student volunteers are offering their time to these workers by fulfilling tasks such as picking up groceries and prescriptions, and helping with childcare.
For workers to receive support, they simply need to fill out a form that was circulated by the society and wait about two days before being matched with a student volunteer.
Colten Molnar, a first-year medical student, says that the initiative came together through the power of social media.
“We saw our peers from across the country start talking about initiatives like this, where they were doing little things to bridge the gap before these providers can find more stable childcare and more stable solutions during this time,” Molnar said.
With the fast developments in preventative measures across the country, which included campuses delivering the remainder of the Winter Term remotely, medical students across the country have been quick to volunteer their newfound free time to frontline health-care practitioners.
These local medical students are following the example set by Canadian universities like the Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of Alberta and the University of Toronto, which have launched similar initiatives in their respective home fronts. The focal point across the board is to keep the health-care workers focused and alleviate some responsibilities so that they can execute their tasks successfully.
The initiative has been a way for students to educate themselves about how healthcare works in times of crisis, according to Molnar, as well as lend a hand to their professional peers.
“It is a really unique way to stay connected with people when you’re not in the classroom,” Molnar said. “We thought that since we’re out of class anyway, it would be good for us to step in and be that support and offer services in a way that would be useful and be able to make a difference in the healthcare community.”
Helping the community in this way has helped Molnar deal with the current pandemic. He initially felt overwhelmed due to the amount of online information about COVID-19, but the program helped him shift his focus and channel his energy towards the initiative and continuing his studies.
“I am looking at this as an addition to my studies … because learning from a pandemic like this — learning what works and what doesn’t, how society is facing this — is important as well,” Molnar said.
For second-year medical student Tayyaba Bhatti, supporting health-care workers that are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a source of optimism in uncertain times.
“Just looking at how supportive everyone has been, from my peers and my colleagues, people are stepping up and taking time out of their lives right now to do this,” Bhatti said. “To see that as a physician, in the future if anything like this happens ever again, the fact that the entire community is so supportive … it’s a really nice feeling to have.”
Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro