Laura Morelli, RN, CIC

Location: Kitchener, ON, Canada

Title: Public Health Nurse

Company/Organization: Region of Waterloo Public Health

First Certified: April 2021

The early days of the pandemic were chaotic and alarming. We were reacting to news stories and trying to keep up with the pace and volume of new reports. It became clear early on in January/February of 2020 that COVID-19 was very serious.

Since then, my role as a public health nurse has primarily been to conduct COVID-19 outbreak investigations for long-term care and retirement homes, and other congregate settings. During this time, I have supported my team to increase understanding of core IPAC principles and application of IPAC best practices in these settings.

It has been a huge challenge to adapt quickly to the guidance and directives for COVID-19 prevention and outbreak management. Our team has learned quickly, developed resources, and supported our partners to prevent COVID-19 from spreading rampantly in our community.

Although I just recently acquired the CIC designation, the process toward this goal pushed my knowledge of infection prevention to a new level and gave me the confidence to support our outbreak program through this pandemic.

My greatest success is the persistence with which my team and I have demonstrated throughout three waves of COVID-19 in our province. It has been so rewarding to see my colleagues adapt to this type of work, and to see cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care reduce significantly due to vaccination efforts and application of IPAC best practices.

The CIC designation process has given me new appreciation for the value of partnerships and collaboration. I have so much admiration of those working in the long-term care and retirement home settings. They have been through incredible strain these last several months. Their endurance is remarkable.