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MUN student looking for P.E.I. residents to participate in survey about personal protective equipment

Jessica Cole, pictured, is a Memorial University of Newfoundland student looking to get input from Atlantic Canadians on their experiences with the comfort and fit of personal protective equipment.
Jessica Cole, pictured, is a Memorial University of Newfoundland student looking to get input from Atlantic Canadians on their experiences with the comfort and fit of personal protective equipment. - Contributed

A student from Memorial University of Newfoundland is looking for people in P.E.I. to participate in a survey about their experiences with the comfort and fit of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Jessica Cole is in the final year of her bachelor’s degree in human kinetics and recreation at the university and is working on this honours thesis project with her supervisor, associate professor Kim Cullen.

Cole thinks the research could be used in future studies on the subject and potentially impact public policy and health guidelines around PPE to increase use, she said.

“Through research, we know the fit and comfort has a huge impact on compliance and thus the effectiveness,” she said. “We know that PPE is our last line of defense in preventing transmission of COVID-19, so we’re really interested in seeing what kinds of experiences people are having.”

The survey will look at how experiences differ among various segments of the public, as well as people’s feelings of safety while using PPE, which isn’t an area with a lot of research, said Cullen.

“We’ve heard a lot anecdotally about some of the experiences, but there’s not a lot of empirical evidence on some of these things.”

Cullen, who has done research on gender differences in PPE in the workplace, said Cole’s project fits nicely with it.

“My research area is in work-related health but from a more broad perspective. The pandemic is affecting us moreso than just as workers, and Jessica’s project is really looking at how is the pandemic (and) public health measure being put in place affecting our perceptions of health.”

With PPE use become a mandatory part of most Canadian’s days given COVID-19 regulations across the country, the research could also be helpful in making PPE more comfortable for everyone, said Cole.

“It’s very new to people, wearing PPE out in public, so I’m hoping this could help make it easier and make people feel less vulnerable and more safe when it comes to being worried about transmitting COVID-19.”


Take the survey

The online survey went live on Jan. 20 and is open to any resident of Atlantic Canada 18 years of age or older with an internet connection and the ability to read and write in English.

https://mun.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5jRWpUjuf52z3QF

As of Jan. 21, she had seen close to 90 responses to the survey but hopes to get at least 200-300, she said.

“I’m hoping to get as many as I can and I really want to reach out to those other Atlantic provinces because, being from Newfoundland, the majority of the response so far has been Newfoundlanders.”

Regardless, Cole is happy to see the survey get out to the public.

“We’ve been building this proposal since last spring, so I’m excited to finally get the ball rolling and get some people responding.”

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