Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 16(3) November 2003 : 12-12.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2003.17046

Letters: Community-Based Nurses Played as Role

Janet Harris


I read the editorial on the role of nurses and nurse leadership during the SARS crisis with great interest and appreciation. However, I want to point out that the review would have been even more complete if you had included the role that community-based nurses played along with nurses in health departments and hospitals.

Patients admitted to home care were vigilantly screened. Full precautions were used as required to ensure that any potential spread of infection was contained. Case managers and service providers made coordinated efforts to provide service to keep people at home and thus prevent further pressures on hospitals. Home care nurses looked after patients discharged from hospital recovering from SARS. Case managers working in hospitals were quarantined and some became infected with SARS and are still sick. Nurse leaders provided direction to ensure that all clients needing home care were cared for while ensuring the safety and well-being of nurses and other healthcare workers.

Nurses in community care access centres and long-term care facilities responded promptly to the call to transfer hospital patients as "crisis" admissions into long-term care thus placing unprecedented numbers of people in a very short period to free up capacity in the hospitals which were stretched to the limit. Emergency Medical Services played a big role in this endeavour as well.

If ever there was a need for a "systems" response, this was it and nurses throughout the system rose to the occasion.

Editor's Response

"You are absolutely right."

About the Author(s)

Janet Harris
Executive Director, Durham Access to Care
Whitby, Ontario


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