On the Front Lines of COVID-19 with Wall Scholar Steve Reynolds

June 30, 2021

This last year has been tough. At the beginning of the year in August 2020 I was so excited to connect with the other members of the 2020 Wall Scholars cohort. The open conversations with brilliant, inquisitive folks from many different disciplines was invigorating, fascinating and challenging. I listened to their visions and absorbed their passion. It helped me to focus on a project that aimed to elicit the conversations about healthcare that are being avoided, to all of our detriment. What can we actually provide to people? What should we provide? What can we afford? Where are the lines that need to be drawn? How are we going to collectively save the future of our healthcare system?

Then COVID-19 truly hit and I was submerged in both clinical work, as a front line ICU physician, and as the medical lead for one of the busiest tertiary care COVID hospitals, Royal Columbian Hospital. Despite this I still maintained the connection with my fellow Wall Scholars as best I could. I drew strength and inspiration from them. Our conversations drew a creativity that I didn’t know I had and channelled it into writing. Some of these pieces were featured in the Globe and Mail (paywall) and served to reach a wider audience. They talked about my very personal experiences of burn out, loss and appreciation.

My experience as a Wall Scholar landed me in a place that I didn’t anticipate and has provided whole new realms to explore. It has shown me that brilliant folks tap into their creativity in a myriad of ways. Beyond being a physician, medical leader and scientist pulling out my creativity in novel directions is possible, and in some senses, absolutely vital.

I’ve been truly enriched by the experience. I’m thankful to my fellow scholars for teaching me and to the Institute for allowing it to happen.

In June 2021, Steve Reynolds and the ICU team at Royal Columbian Hospital shared their very personal stories about what it’s been like working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic with Vancouver news media:

You can watch more coverage at the following links: