Meet Kelsi, RSGC’s RN

128 Howland has been converted to a Health Centre, where our new full-time nurse, Kelsi Kaufhold, has her office. We had a chance to catch up with her as she settles into her new job.
HM: What is your role as the school nurse? 
KK: I support students’ success by ensuring there is a bridge between healthcare and education. I support their physical, mental, emotional and social health. At this time, I have put the majority of my focus on being the “middle” person between the school and Toronto Public Health in order to best protect our community. I can also provide emergency care and non-urgent care to students throughout the school day and help students reach their full potential in and out of school.

HM: This experience must be slightly different than working in a hospital. What’s your take so far?
KK: The school and the hospital are two completely different sides of nursing. However, working in the hospital has prepared me for the school setting. The hospital and the school are both busy in their own way and time management is an asset in both of these nursing careers. I have always wanted to be a nurse, but I have never been fully passionate about “bedside” nursing (or in hospital nursing); however, through my placement at Hillfield Strathallan College, I found a passion that allowed me to feel happy and excited to come to work. Nursing is so versatile and I am so grateful for the opportunity to pursue my dream job at RSGC and learn more every day about the profession I love.

HM: What does a typical day look like for you?
KK: My day starts by completing assessments on any boy who has not yet completed his pre-screening questionnaire. I then return to my office and document my interactions with the boys and/or parents. I have to complete my “line list” of people who are not at school due to COVID-related symptoms and are awaiting testing/ results. I keep a detailed record of people experiencing symptoms, as this will help public health to see trends/contact trace if necessary. I make sure to include time every day to update myself on all the recent documents that have been put out by the government and public health.

HM: Who is allowed in the Health Centre?
KK: At this time, me and maintenance workers/ Housekeeping staff are the only ones to enter 128. All students who are unwell are reported to me by a teacher via call or text and I travel to them most times. I am usually able to go directly to the child. If, for any reason, I am unable to attend, Jacquie Baby will either come to me to watch the child currently in isolation or she will go and provide basic first aid to the child injured. Basically at this point, I am a traveling nurse. 

HM: What’s the protocol if a student is exhibiting COVID-like symptoms?
KK: Students exhibiting COVID-like symptoms in a classroom are reported to me by the teacher who is teaching the child. The teacher will contact me via phone or text and I will apply all of my PPE and go to the student. Each classroom is equipped with an “Emergency Containment kit.” If possible, the student and I will sit outside and I will assess them. Likely they will need to be picked up from school and taken for a COVID-19 test. Depending on the weather and timeframe in which the student will be picked up, we will either stay on the porch of 128 or go inside and they will be isolated in one of the sickrooms. 

HM: How can you ensure health and safety measures in the Health Centre, especially when there are people in there with possible COVID-19 symptoms?
KK: Use of PPE and proper hand hygiene are essential. My office (in the back of 128) should never have a student with suspected or probable COVID-19. If a student needs to enter The Health Centre, they will be brought into one of the isolation rooms in order to have an assessment completed. As well, there are special filters in each of the rooms to help clean the air. Finally, there are cleaning processes that need to be followed if there were to be students with COVID symptoms in The Health Centre. 

HM: How do you spend your time if you have no patients?
KK: Even without COVID, there has always been health needs for students. There are students who have anaphylactic allergies, diabetes, epilepsy, asthma and other medical conditions. For example, I recently spent time contacting families with boys who have anaphylactic reactions and require epipens.

HM: What’s the best way for parents to reach you and can they contact you with any questions at any time?
KK: The best way to reach me non-urgently is through email: kkaufhold@rsgc.on.ca and urgently via my cell phone number: 437-882-4327. Finally, because I am a “traveling Nurse” and I am not always at my desk would be my extension: 340. 

HM: What a way to start a new job. Are you getting a chance to get to know the boys at all?
KK: Each morning, I am outside on the tarmac saying good morning to boys and staff. I also try to leave the health centre at recess to see the boys play and observe how the community interacts with each other. I want to spend some more time getting to know the boys. Any interaction I have had with any of the boys throughout my first two weeks on campus has been nothing but respectful and kind. I look forward to meeting more of them as the school year progresses.

Kelsi joins us from the Juravinski Hospital where she worked on the C4 Stem Cell Transplant / Hematology Oncology unit. In addition to her full-time work at the Hospital, and for the past two years, Kelsi has been working as a Registered Nurse on a casual/on-call basis at Hillfield Strathallan College, where she first completed a clinical placement. Kelsi is Mask-Fit Certified, Principles of Healthy Child Development Certified and is currently enrolled in a COVID-19 contact tracing course with John Hopkins University. 

 Kelsi is a member of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, the Canadian Nurses Association, Ontario Nurses Association, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McMaster University at Mohawk College.
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