QMMC adapting to the New Normal
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the goal of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Ophthalmology Department has been to strike a balance between ensuring patient and staff safety and continuously providing quality eye care services.
The COVID-19 situation is regularly assessed by administrative heads and adjustments are made in response to the needs and protocols implemented in the hospital. In the process of complying with the limits set by the DOH and our hospital administration, clinical exposure saw a significant drop, and the training needs of ophthalmology residents were compromised. Hospital work hours were substantially less. To compensate, online academic activities significantly increased, which include round table discussions, lectures, diagnostic readings, and surgical conferences, which were all conducted via ZOOM platform. Additionally, the department has started conducting subspecialty audits where in-depth discussion of patient cases are done for the whole residency team to learn from. All consultants of the concerned subspecialty discuss with the residents regarding ways to best manage each case.
Another equally important aspect that has been affected by the pandemic is the mental health status of the staff. The need for social-distancing has forced us to avoid gatherings and restrict social interactions. Fortunately, the department has initiated Game Nights – ZOOM meetings that aim to allow staff to just enjoy each others’ virtual company. Interactive games are held while food and drinks are delivered to each attendee’s home to best simulate the celebratory mood that a face-to-face social gathering would have fostered.
Lastly, to ensure that goals are met and that we continuously grow as individuals, mentors are assigned to each resident and consultant to allow us to look after each other. As we continuously adapt to the changing COVID climate, QMMC will continue to provide quality of care in the best and safest way possible for the service of our patients.
Dr Dana Celine Cammayo graduated medicine from the UERMMMCI, and is the current chief resident of the QMMC Ophthalmology Department. After residency, she plans to pursue training to be a pediatric ophthalmologist and strabismologist.