St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital nurse takes COVID-19 pandemic in her stride

Lyn Cribb, Nurse, St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the health landscape and roles like Infection Control Coordinator at St Andrew’s held by Lyn Cribb have been thrust into the spotlight.

Training, upskilling and process clarification have become a daily focus for Lyn, a nurse whose career spans 31 years working across surgical, endoscopy, theatre, oncology, Risk & Quality and infection control.

Prior to COVID-19 declared as a pandemic, Lyn said that infection control nurses seemed to operate in the background of the day to day hospital activity.

“All of a sudden staff across the hospital know who I am and exactly what I do. I’ve increased my team to an extra two people whereas before it was just me,” Lyn said.

“It’s been incredibly busy, especially in the beginning as we put processes in place and we’re constantly evolving. We’ve been educating staff on the importance of using personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly for protection and to break transmission.

“COVID-19 has made us realise the importance of different roles working together in relation to infection control practices.

“Nursing, food services, housekeeping, ward services, security – we’re all coming together as one team to establish how we can safely care for patients,” she said.

Lyn knows it’s cliched but she always wanted to be a nurse.

“I just can’t remember wanting to be anything else,” Lyn said.

“There’s something incredibly rewarding to watch patients you’ve cared for, get well and go home.

“I spent a number of years working in oncology and people often think that’s a depressing place to nurse but I loved it.

“It was wonderful to celebrate a patient’s last day of treatment and to wish them well on their way. There’s nothing depressing about that.

“Nursing is about hope,” she said.

For Lyn, there’s plenty of hope for nurses during COVID-19.

“It’s been incredible to see how many nurses have upskilled for intensive care voluntarily despite knowing the risks associated with being on the front line,” Lyn said.

“Nurses are very passionate and while COVID-19 is challenging, us nurses will carry on through just like we usually do,” she reflected.