People of KHSC: Karen van Wylick

News / General
By John Pereira

People of KHSC celebrates individuals across KHSC who capture the spirit of caring deeply for patients, families and each other

While many members of the Kingston community had to dial back on work, or work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, KHSC’s Karen van Wylick did the exact opposite. After spending several years away from the organization to raise her children, van Wylick took the pandemic as an opportunity to get back into the work force, accepting a role with KHSC’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre.

“I used to work as a Registered Nurse at the KGH site before I decided to stay home and raise my kids, but I really wanted to get back to work and wanted to connect with the community and help others during this pandemic,” she says.

She now plays a vital role at the Assessment Centre, making sure they’re constantly stocked up with the appropriate personal protective equipment for the staff, filing paperwork, tallying the centre’s data and submitting it to the province, and just generally making sure the Assessment Centre is running like a well-oiled machine. Her manager, in fact, calls her the ‘heartbeat’ of the operation.

“This is totally different from raising teenagers, being back to work has been a transition, but the team here has been great and I’ve really enjoyed the job. I couldn’t imagine not working here.”

Karen and her teammates have been busy over the last year, completing more than 80,000 COVID-19 swab tests for the community. However, the last few weeks during the third wave has been particularly busy.

“Our team really springs into action and everyone knows what to do when the demand for testing picks up. We work well together as a team and sometimes we step in for each other and help out when others are busy or off work. Thankfully too the public has been wonderful, very thankful for the testing we provide.”

As for her thoughts on what the future holds after the pandemic winds down? 

“I really am hoping to continue working after COVID and want to transition into another role in the hospital to continue my career. The group I work with has been great and it has made coming back to work a really positive experience.”