Nurses pen light-hearted poem on COVID-19

By Sherri Gallant

Here’s looking up your nose! — with The Swabbers’ Rhyme

Collaboration lies at the heart of assessment and testing measures for COVID-19 across South Zone and all of Alberta.

Public Health, working alongside Environmental Public Health and Community Infection and Prevention Control, have played a major role in Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) responsive and co-ordinated efforts across the region.


Building upon their experience with the vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks that have occurred in the south, their quick action and familiarity with the process led to quick turnaround times for Albertans in need of a swab.

On cold and snowy days through the winter and into the rainy spring and hot summer days, their staff have tirelessly conducted parking lot drive-through swabbing at 13 sites across the zone — allowing rural Albertans the opportunity to be swabbed in their own communities closer to home.

The close work of these teams — both on the frontlines and among South Zone leadership — has allowed for testing that helps us monitor health and protect residents.

Their concentrated efforts have also inspired a bit of light-hearted poetry, The Swabbers’ Rhyme, penned by three talented nurses — Laura Miller, Lori Zeiber and Stasha Donahue — as a means to get their COVID-19 safety message out.

The Swabbers’ Rhyme

Big nostrils, small nostrils, some in between.
We’re trying to help, not just “to be mean.”
This virus is sneaky, it likes to hang out —
Right in the back of your finely-formed snout.

We insert the swab and give it a twirl —
The swab tip’s quite tiny — like a small pearl.
We send off the sample, kept cool on some ice.
Please stay very still; we don’t want to swab twice.

We know this is awkward, we get that it’s weird.
We understand that corona’s a thing to be feared.
So bend your head back, let’s get this thing done.
And you can get back to your quarantine fun.

Remember your safety and keep yourself well.
Hand-washing, protective coughing and physical distancing are swell.
One day this will be over, but up until then —
We hope not to look up your nose once again.

Sherri Gallant works in communications at Alberta Health Services.