Honouring our Defence Team Nurses during the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 29, 2020 – Defence Stories

By: Lonny Kates, 4th Canadian Division/JTFC Public Affairs

In uniform
  • Caption

    Cpl Laila Ahmed, is one of the many Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) reservists deployed on Operation LASER.

The global COVID-19 pandemic is demonstrating the contributions that nurses, including Department of National Defence (DND) nurses, currently deployed on the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) nation-wide response to the pandemic, Operation LASER, bring to the care and well-being of Canadians. 

CAF Medical Assistant, Corporal (Cpl) Laila Ahmed, is one of the many Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) reservists deployed on Operation LASER. From 25 Field Ambulance based in Toronto, Cpl Ahmed normally provides medical care during operations, training exercises and domestic and international deployments, however, she’s now putting that training towards a different cause. During the pandemic, Cpl Ahmed has been providing temporary direct nursing care to civilians in long-term care homes in Ontario, which are facing unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19.

When not working for the CAF, Cpl Ahmed is employed in her civilian job as a Registered Practical Nurse at the Emergency Department at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. While extremely proud of her civilian employment, she believes that “I would not be the person I am today, in my personal or professional life, without my experiences in the Canadian Armed Forces.”

In scrubs
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    Cpl Ahmed felt it was her duty to “act when the opportunity to step in with the Canadian Armed Forces presented itself.”

While debating whether or not to continue to work at the hospital in her civilian role, or to become a part of OP LASER working in long-term care homes, Cpl Ahmed felt it was her duty to  “act when the opportunity to step in with the Canadian Armed Forces presented itself and help to support and augment the efforts being made by sharing the knowledge and experience I have accumulated from my civilian career,” she said. “As a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I will always choose service before self.”

While thankful to her civilian employer for allowing her to pursue service with the CAF, Cpl Ahmed attests that, “it has been an honour to answer the call to service to help Canadians in a time of need. Within this operation, I am working to my full nursing scope and providing direct care to civilians. I am proud to be a part of something that is larger than myself and to serve Canadians for years to come.”

2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife as designated by the World Health Organization, providing an opportunity to highlight the work done by this group of professionals on a global scale.

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