Meet Luwam Ogbaselassie
We are Women’s Redeployed offers the WCH community a chance to get to know each other and see first-hand how we are working together during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Name: Luwam Ogbaselassie
Title & Department: Education Coordinator, Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres
On the WCH team for: Four years
- What is your typical role at WCH?
I am the Education Coordinator for the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres (ONSA/DVTCs), which is a network of 36 hospital-based treatment centres across Ontario. The SA/DVTCs, staffed by nurses, social workers, physicians, and support staff, provide care to victims/survivors of sexual assault and/or domestic violence, ensuring access to comprehensive, timely, and trauma-specific care and treatment to address individual health, forensic, and psycho-social needs. Through collaboration in research, education, and training activities, the Network strives to establish standardization in service provision across the province.
Through my role, I work closely with the Provincial Director to support the 36 SA/DVTCs, which consists of over 400 nurses, approximately 60 social workers, over 30 medical directors, and 36 program leaders from across Ontario. I also work closely with the Provincial Director to track fiscal goals and priorities, as well as forecast and monitor budgets, tracking against the Network’s 5-year strategic direction. Through my role, I connect with Network leadership to develop and implement standards to enhance care, as well as support the Network’s research activities related to education.
Specific to education, I organize and implement learning activities for the nurses, social workers, and physicians. This includes online e-learning modules that we manage through our Learning Management System, where clinicians from the treatment centres across Ontario can access e-learning modules related to elder abuse, trans-affirming care for sexual assault survivors, pediatric sexual assault and sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) training.
I also organize our professional learning and training events, workshops and seminars, such as the week-long, bi-annual SANE in-person program and our annual two-day province-wide Clinical Education Forum for clinicians from across the province. This includes identifying the learning needs of frontline staff, projecting and tracking budgets, working with Network leadership to determine training content and curricula, and logistics and evaluation.
- How are you supporting WCH during COVID-19? (e.g. where have you been redeployed?)
I have been redeployed to the Active Screening Centre, where we work to ensure that everyone entering WCH has been screened for symptoms and/or travel history as per hospital directives.
I initially started as a screener and have now moved into a coordinator role. In this role, I train and support new screeners, orienting them to the role and the requirements of each screening station. I also act as a resource for screeners to problem solve as issues and/or concerns arise. Through this role, I work with clinical adjudicators to ensure patient needs and concerns are addressed in a timely manner and liaise with the Redeployment Centre, Occupational Health and Safety, Security, Facilities and other departments. I oversee infection prevention and control practices and the appropriate use of PPE, including donning and doffing training.
I work with a phenomenal team of coordinators, together with active screening leadership, to maintain the required Screening Centre documentation and ensure all required supplies and equipment are prepared and sustained. Together as a solutions-oriented group, we identify issues and challenges and work to find resolutions in a rapidly changing environment.
- Are there any positive moments or interactions that have stood out to you during this challenging time?
Yes, definitely! Through this role, I have met so many wonderful colleagues from across the organization that I likely would not have met otherwise. From the Communications team, to Health Information, the lab and a wide variety of research teams, it has been wonderful to meet so many new people. I have enjoyed learning about their work and the many innovative and exciting initiatives across the organization. It has certainly been a highlight during this challenging time!
Above all, I continue to be amazed and inspired by the selfless commitment and dedication of our WCH community, working together to respond to the pandemic.
On a more personal note, an interaction that I think back on often is when a patient walked into the building one morning. I greeted him, chatted for a few minutes and then went about attending to the rest of my role. About 10 minutes later, I look over and see that he is still in the Atrium and looks quite concerned. I am beckoned over and am told that the patient could not remember which clinic he was going to nor the physician he was scheduled to see. I took his information then worked with an incredible team consisting of a clinical adjudicator, coordinator and Screener, and together we were able to find the needed information. He expressed his heartfelt thanks and went on his way.
About an hour later, I am across the Atrium and notice that he is leaving the building. I don’t think he notices me and I keep about my work. When I look up again, I realize that he is waiting for me to come over, and when I reach him, I see that his eyes are brimming with tears. He says, “You have been so kind, when many people haven’t been. I was nervous about coming into the hospital, which is probably why I couldn’t remember where I needed to be, and you have been so helpful. Thank you so much for all that you do.”
When I wake up at 4:00 a.m. to get ready for my 5:30 a.m. shift, I often think back to this interaction. It is just one example of the many acts of kindness I witness during my redeployment shifts, both by fellow staff and patients. It is a reminder that we are living in an extraordinary time, and yet kindness and compassion can still, and should still, shine through.