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HomeNewsSwapping screening for swabbing: Meredith’s S.H.A sojourn

Swapping screening for swabbing: Meredith’s S.H.A sojourn

She has gone from screening for breast cancer, to swabbing for COVID-19 – but Northern Sydney and Central Coast BreastScreen Director Meredith Kay is simply happy to be playing a role. 

Meredith has spent Fridays, Saturdays and some Sundays swabbing staff at the Special Health Accommodation site in North Ryde. 
“COVID-19 has presented so many challenges that it is sometimes hard to know where to start,” she said. 

“It has been really tough having to temporarily close a service that is so important to women and that we, the BreastScreen team, work so hard to ensure that the care and service we provide is ‘top drawer.’ But we can still make a difference by chipping in and doing what we can to help.” 

Staff from multiple disciplines and services that have been postponed across the district have put up their hand to undertake a range of tasks. 

For Meredith, her role swabbing was somewhat of a ‘coming home’ moment, and has allowed her to connect with staff she would not normally get to see. 

My original training and experience is in oral health, so I was familiar with the oral cavity but my mother always told me not to stick things up people’s noses.
BreastScreen Northern Sydney and Central Coast Director Meredith Kay

“The swabbing clinic at North Ryde is currently mainly staffed with deployed PACH staff, it has been a fantastic opportunity to work with colleagues who I wouldn’t normally see or get to know. 

“It is interesting getting to know and learn about other staff, their roles and the services within PACH, particularly the Child, Youth and Family and Oral Health Services. We always manage to have a laugh or three and I learn something new every shift.” 

While she is looking forward to getting back to BreastScreen, Meredith was grateful to have played a role in keeping NSW safe. 

“Working at the SHA doing nose and throat swabbing is not what I want to do forever but I am helping, hopefully making a positive contribution, learning new things and at the moment it is certainly not competing with my non-hectic social life,” she said. 

“At the end of each shift, after standing for most of the eight hours, I feel absolutely tuckered out but I am confident that I have made a difference in the COVID-19 race.”

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