IT'S not Lin Davis' first brush with a pandemic.
When a swine flu outbreak swept cruise ship Pacific Dawn off the coast of Brisbane in 2009, a team of 25 health professionals were deployed to screen the 2500 passengers aboard.
In a situation that would scare most, the Tamworth hospital clinical nurse educator was hooked.
"I've had a passion about disaster management ever since," she said.
"I am a critical care nurse and have been for 34 years, this is what I do and a normal part of my job role."
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Davis was the logical choice to command the set-up of Tamworth hospital's screening station.
And so, in a quiet room once used by patients and families to practice faith of incongruous denominations; the coronavirus test site took shape.
The first job was finding a space in the hospital that was appropriate to stream patients with respiratory problems and possible COVID-19 away from the emergency department, Ms Davis said.
"A lot of it is education and allaying fears with staff and patients," she said.
"Everyone is in the same boat; our staff are wives and husbands and family members who have concerns for their loved ones.
"With COVID-19 being as unpredictable as it is and without a lot of understanding of the progression, they can be as frightened as everyone else but still come to work and do their job."
As an educator in rural critical care, COVID-19 has posed its own challenges for Ms Davis.
Where once she would jump in the car to visit rural Multi-Purpose Service nurses to teach them hands-on care, her lessons are now delivered through a computer screen.
"I think it's brought us all closer together as a team, we have always been cohesive but the response to COVID-19 impacts everyone in the community," Ms Davis said.
"It's keeping everyone safe, from the doctors to the cleaners, the pathologists, keeping each other strong and knowing we will get through it.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Tamworth is now at 13 after last Thursday's death at the hospital.
Tamworth-born herself, Ms Davis applauded the community for doing the right thing.
It's staying vigilant now that will be the most important factor to save lives, she said.
"We need to follow the rules and adhere to staying at home where possible," she said.
"But, we need to look after each other first and foremost, because it's a trying time at the moment.
"We need to be kind and look after each other."
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