Company’s coming…

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Wendy Hansson | April 24th, 2014

(Left to right: Sheila Hardy, Sandra Sovdat, Minister Terry Lake and Monique Catala.)

You know how you clean up the house before company comes over? You’d think that we’d be going through the same motions here at Lions Gate Hospital when we found out that the Minister of Health, Terry Lake, would be visiting us yesterday (April 23).

It was wonderful to reflect that the Health Minister’s visit resulted in none of this scurrying around!  The teams developed an itinerary, to ensure we could cover enough ground in the short time we had available. We recruited clinical leads to share innovation and the high quality care demonstrated in their areas (Health Connections Clinic, ED, cardiac 2E, the ORs, A2,  the new HOpe Centre build), planned a route that showed as much of LGH as possible, rather than just the spic and span parts, and squeezed as much ‘reality’ into the visit as possible. It’s kind of like that moment of pleasure and pride, when you walk into your (my!) teenage daughter’s room to remind her to make the bed, scoop the laundry off the floor and “would you finally bring that mug down to the kitchen!”, only to discover she’s done it all already, without being asked, and gives you that look worth a thousand words that says, “Mom, I’ve got this.”

Collective expertise

As Chief Operating Officer (Coastal), I continue to be in awe of our accomplishments each and every day. After all, together, with your collective expertise, care and efforts we are responsible for supporting 6 hospitals, 13 residential care sites, 3300+ staff, 750+ volunteers, 700+ physicians, and 250,000 people in 11 communities and 14 First Nations across 35,000 sq km up and down the Coast.  Health care is a 24/7 job, 365 days a year, ensuring that we provide the best possible care in the best possible way to our patients and clients, and while supporting each other –  our staff, physicians and volunteers in the process.

The tour

So to get back to my cleaning story…the Minister’s visit.  We found out he was coming and wanted to be shown around LGH, so what did we do? We showed him the hospital, with our site challenges and all. Only, here’s the thing… it was easy, because our teams – all of you – our front line staff, managers, physicians, and hospital volunteers – are committed to good work every day, and not just when company is coming.  We all shone with pride when our blue-smocked volunteers met the Minister and his colleagues at the 15th street entrance and showed him the way to our auditorium for a press conference he had requested in advance. We had a “proud moment” when our peer immunizers, Sandra and Sheila – representing a multitude of peer immunizers and their good work this past flu season –  joined the Minister to be recognized for their efforts in making VCH an outstanding example of commitment to flu prevention and our patients.

A good moment

It was “a moment” when: our Lean leads, Carissa and Andrew, and the ED staff and physicians showcased their sustainable workflow improvements;  when we dropped in to witness a complex neurosurgical case; and saw patient care delivered first hand on 2 East, and when we toured the aging A2  mental health area where our psychiatrists highlighted the innovations in MH care/teaching &  research –  topped off by viewing the fast-growing premises of the new Mental Health HOpe centre, set to open this Fall.

You know how it’s a relief when company leaves, and you look around at the mess to be cleaned up, and think to yourself that you don’t have to go to all that effort until another you have another event to host? When Minister Lake left after the tour today, we looked around and just felt good. We didn’t go ‘back to normal;’ we were normal, and our normal is really darn good.

Yes, we’re still continuously striving to work smarter, not harder, to have continuous improvement and to always provide the best high quality care possible, in the right place, in the right way, to our patients. But we’re doing it every day, whether or not company is coming.

About the Author

Wendy Hansson
email iconWendy.Hansson@vch.ca  

As Vice-President of Physician Engagement and Strategic Initiatives, Wendy Hansson is the lead for Primary Care and its work with the Family Practice divisions across Vancouver Coastal Health, as well as working closely with the Health Authority Medical Advisory Committee (HAMAC).  View all posts by Wendy.

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