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.

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