Nursing alumna Jennifer Mitton plays key role in pandemic
Mar 22, 2022
During the pandemic, McMaster’s students and alumni have stepped up to help protect local citizens from the virus. Take alumna Dr. Jennifer Mitton, for example.
Mitton is a graduate of the School of Nursing’s programs, having completed her BScN in 1999, and her PhD in 2007. In addition to teaching for the school and serving as an assistant clinical professor, Mitton also works as the nursing practice advisor for City of Hamilton Public Health Services. She has been serving as one of the City’s advanced pandemic planners, and she makes recommendations that guide Hamilton’s local pandemic response.
Part of her work at the City is helping to support Hamilton’s Covid-19 vaccine program and vaccine clinics. “My role is to support nursing practice, working with the physicians to ensure the medical directives and clinical protocols are up-to-date according to the provincial directives. Right now, it’s stable, but earlier, it was changing quite often. We ensure everyone has received orientation and understand the directives and have the necessary emergency training in the event of anaphylaxis,” says Mitton.
Some of those working in the clinics have been current McMaster nursing students. Along with Dr. Joanna Pierazzo, Mitton has helped integrate 110 BScN students in the accelerated program into the vaccine clinics. “We worked together to ensure it would be a good student learning opportunity and at the same time support our public health workforce. The students were able to prepare vaccines, and take on vaccine administration, like obtaining consent and doing health history and providing the immunization injections. It was a large number of students, who did a great job, supported by their tutors and our public health staff who provided onsite support and supervision,” says Mitton.
Mitton has also been asked to help review the School of Nursing’s community health nursing course recently. “We are meeting this month for the first time,” she says. “Why me? I have taught the course for many years, both in-person and online. I started with public health nursing in 1999, so I have 23 years of public health nursing in three units.” These include Niagara Public Health, Peel Public Health and of course Hamilton. “From 2006, I was a public health nurse in Hamilton. Since 2012, I’ve been the nursing practice advisor. I help to make sure the necessary policies and procedures are in place for our nursing staff.”
Mitton’s career is an example of the many paths graduates can take after earning their nursing degrees at McMaster. “I like public health nursing because of the focus on health equity, and the ability to make a difference in health and wellbeing at the individual and population health level. A large part of what prepared me for this role was my undergraduate experience at McMaster University and the courses I took related to community and global health,” says Mitton.