RCH superstar employee reflects on nursing career, hospital memories

October 23rd, 2012

Photo credit: rchfoundation.com

As the first city in Western Canada (west of the Great Lakes) and the original capital of British Columbia, New Westminster has a rich history. This rich history is  evident in the sights and sounds of the city — today, many government, education, commerce and medical institutions still call New West home.

One great example  is the Royal Columbian Hospital. What started as modest wood-frame building at Agnes and 4th is now one of the top employers in the Royal City. RCH and its large trauma centre help one out of every five patients in B.C., making it one of the most important institutions in the region.

This year, RCH is celebrating its 150th anniversary, a big milestone for an important New West institution.

Royal Columbian Hospital

To celebrate this milestone and Royal Columbian Hospital’s 150th anniversary campaign “150 Reasons to Care. 150 Reasons to Give”, we recently held a celebration kick off for RCH at the Trapp + Holbrook presentation centre. During the event, we made an initial donation of $5,000 to RCH and announced our goal of raising up to $25,000 in support of critically needed patient equipment. We are also offering RCH/Fraser Health (FH) employees special home buying  incentives and will donate $1,000 from each of these sales to the RCH fund of their choice.

We’re happy to pitch in, and we encourage others to do the same. To learn more about RCH, we recently connected with one of their star employees.

Photo: Jocelyn Reimer- Kent (L). Credit: http://maryloudriedger.livejournal.com

Jocelyn Reimer- Kent is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at RCH and has been awarded the Order of Merit for Clinical Nursing Practice from the Canadian Nurses Association.  One of the highest-ranking nurse-leaders in Canada, Jocelyn shared her thoughts on her nursing profession and what inspired her to enter the healthcare industry.

You have a long, impressive career in the medical field. What is your favourite part about being in the health industry?

Nursing has offered me this amazing opportunity to care for others in need. The needs are endless, diverse and always challenging. Illness and many of life’s tragedies come unwelcomed, uninvited, and unannounced. Knowing that I have been able to truly make a difference to someone in their time of need is my favourite part about being a nurse.

You are internationally recognized for developing the Reimer-Kent Postoperative Wellness Model, a technique that supports rapid surgical recovery. In layman’s terms, can you explain what this technique is all about?

Theory starts with a hunch and often requires the correct timing to be put into practice.  In 1995, I led a team tasked with increasing access for patients waiting for cardiac surgery by decreasing the length of stay for patients recovering. I had a hunch this would be possible if care was preventive rather than reactive and wellness-focused rather than illness–focused.

It was taken for granted that postoperative patients would be in pain and find it difficult to move about. I wanted care and treatment to be prevention-based and designed to make patients feel remarkably well remarkably soon after surgery. As a student nurse I had observed that sick children naturally reengage in play when they feel well. I wondered how adults would respond after surgery if they felt well rather than ill. I discovered that they too reengage in life, take an active role in the recovery process, and are ready to leave hospital sooner.

Since first demonstrating that this approach is possible, I have spread the word so that more patients can benefit from rapid surgical recovery. Although started in cardiac surgery, it has also been very effective in general surgery at RCH and has set a Canadian precedent in both these surgical populations.

I am grateful to early adopters and champions like cardiac surgeon Dr. Robert Hayden, anesthetist Dr. Richard Merchant, and general surgeon Dr. Laurence Turner and remain aware that the dramatic before and after findings are the work of the entire inter-professional team.

Read more at: http://www.cccn.ca/media.php?mid=241

In previous interviews, you mentioned that your parents modeled how important it was to be kind to others. Did this lesson impact your career choice?

Being kind to others was a central theme that my late parents modeled. They also taught me to root for the underdog, treat others the way I want to be treated, be a good neighbour, use my talents to the best of my ability, and do all things willingly without expectation of return.

Nursing is about being kind to others regardless of their circumstances, but it is also so much more.  I can see how all these principles have impacted my nursing practice over the years. Throughout my career a dose of kindness, humbleness, and gratitude has stood me in good stead.

You also work as an Adjunct Professor at UBC. What career advice do you usually give your students about the nursing profession? And what advice do you have for other people thinking of a career in nursing?

Nursing is an awesome profession, one in which you can give your intelligence from your heart.

Nurses contribute and lead initiatives that increase access to care, address patient safety issues, ensure clinical practices are efficient and effective, and they constantly work at being fiscal stewards of Canada’s public healthcare system.

I encourage student nurses to study hard, finish well, and allow themselves time to acclimatize to the profession. Find a mentor who will help you mature and grow professionally. In time, pay attention to your career ladder.

Nurses need to be life-long learners to keep up with the fast paced, ever changing healthcare industry. They also need to know that their perspective, which is different from any other healthcare provider, can play an important role in helping to shape the future of healthcare.

RCH is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. What are your fondest memories working at the hospital?

RCH is a wonderful hospital with all the skills and services one should expect in a state-of-the-art healthcare facility. All the specialities are housed on campus, which adds to the ease of getting the right care to the patient in the right time and by the right team of experts.

RCH is a friendly place where staff, physicians and volunteers live the values of trust, caring, and respect. People who work at RCH care about the patients and about one another.  The hospital is like a large city with a small town feel.

If people want to support RCH, how can they best do that?

Monthly donations can support the hospital’s greatest needs or an area of special interest to you. You can also leave a legacy gift in your will. Gifts are given through the RCH Foundation and I encourage people to visit www.rchcares.com or call 604.520.4438.

For more information about the Royal Columbian Hospital foundation, visit their website or follow their Twitter and Facebook accounts. To learn more about our community partnership with RCH, check out this article from BC HOMES. You can also check thliving.com for the very latest.