Thompson Rivers University

Nursing alum working on COVID-19 vaccine rollout

  Posted on: December 1, 2020

TRU alum Shanti Gidwani

TRU alum Shanti Gidwani works in the field of information management and information technology related to health care.

Nurses will be on the front lines of COVID-19 vaccinations. When that time comes, vaccine management and distribution are big challenges to face, says TRU nursing alum Shanti Gidwani. Acquiring it is only half the battle, and people like Gidwani are helping to determine how to deliver it efficiently and safely.

“Rest assured there are many people at the federal and provincial level that are working very hard on figuring out what will happen once vaccines begin to reach Canadian soil,” Gidwani said. “My expectation is that we’re going to have the right resources and capabilities in place. Nurses and educators are going to be at the forefront of how Canadians will access and receive the vaccine.”

Gidwani is a TRU nursing grad based in Toronto who works in information management and information technology related to health care. After completing nursing school in 2001, she impressively stepped directly into public health. Since then, she has furthered her education and entrenched herself in the world of big tech. While some technology used to make a nurse’s job more cumbersome, today’s systems are successfully improving efficiency in health-care environments.

Shanti Gidwani

Currently, Gidwani’s professional niche sits at the intersection where technology meets clinical excellence, she said. Her work as a consultant focuses on ways technology can increase access, make processes more efficient and improve the delivery and continuum of care. When it comes to a COVID-19 vaccine, these systems will support widespread distribution, and collect and manage data that public health officials rely on to gain insights and make crucial decisions.

“I have the privilege of doing some work around how, as a nation, Canada is looking at tackling this very large task that we have in front of us,” Gidwani said. “How do we safely get the vaccine to every corner of our country and encourage the adoption we need to achieve that desired herd immunity? These particular logistics and educational goals are currently on the hearts and minds of everyone that is working on this today.”

The vaccine rollout may not be perfect, she said, and will likely take on a patchwork approach with various information systems playing a role. Public education will be crucial—and the work of nurses on the ground will help facilitate this, she emphasized. Today’s nurses will not only administer the COVID-19 vaccine, but also help citizens make informed decisions.

“Nurses are at the heart and soul of any major health-care initiative and this one is no exception,” Gidwani said.

“My hope is that six or 12 months from now, we are going to have learned a lot of really amazing lessons on what went well and where we could improve. I think that’s going to pave the way for things like technology and concepts like digitization to become more solidified and understood, so that we have a health-care system that nurses and physicians can work better in.”