(Flickr)

UFV student nurses offering respite to frontline nurses, care aides

Website helping to match volunteers with those who need help with daily errands

Student nurses are offering up their time, and helping hands, to their future colleagues.

The initiative is called Student Nurses for Nurses, and is meant to offer reprieve for nurses and care aides. A group of 45 student nurses from the University of the Fraser Valley have volunteered to run errands, get groceries, walk dogs and do other tasks so that those working through the COVID-19 pandemic can focus on rest.

Last week, they already had six nurses signed up, from Abbotsford, Langley, Chilliwack and the Tri-Cities area, and are hoping to match more students with nurses.

“While this initiative is off to a great start, we are still looking for more nurses and care aides to utilize our services,” says student nurse Julia Chalmers. “Our goal is to provide as much relief to as many nurses and care aides as possible in our communities within our capacity.”

READ MORE: Doctors trained abroad want to join front lines of COVID-19 fight in Canada

She has worked with her classmate Nicole Cusick to get the initiative going, following a suggestion by their professor Catherine Smith. A similar program is taking place at UBC, with medical students there providing relief to local doctors.

When Smith suggested it, they ran with it.

“We also felt very passionately about coming forward at a time like this to support our nurse mentors that many of us have worked with during our clinical rotations,” Chalmers says.

With classes limited to online learning, nursing students are unable to be in clinical practice right now.

“We wanted to continue to provide care and service to those in our community and uphold our core nursing values during this time of uncertainty.”

They have a website where nurses and care aides can sign up, including their needs, and they will be matched with a student nurse in their area. It’s a student-led initiative and separate from the school, notes Smith, and is “something positive and restores faith in humanity.”

The website notes that the program is operating separately from UFV and is following all the current guidelines set out by health officials.

The website to sign up is https://studentnursesfornurses.wordpress.com.

READ MORE: University of the Fraser Valley nursing students get hands-on learning in Sierra Leone


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