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Touchpoints Apr 1, 2005

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 January 2005
School of
Pioneering Policy Dr
Sally Thorne
1 Pioneering Policy
2 Raising the Bar
3 Teaching Excellence
A Mentor of Distinction
4 Development
Holistic Generosity
5 Undergraduate Profile
Nursing for Social Justice
6 Graduate Profile
What's in a Decision?
7 New Faces in Research
A Fascination for History
8 Clinical Practice Innovation
Breaking Down Barriers between
Hospital and Community Health
These are complex times in health care and concern about the health
care system is in the minds of many Canadians. In this context, nursing
is increasingly finding its voice in shaping the policies and practices
that affect the acute care of sick people, the convalescent needs of those
who are striving for recovery, and the information needs of those
who are learning to protect and maintain their own health within our
diverse communities.
At the School of Nursing, we are privileged
to have faculty members and students working
in a range of policy processes. Our faculty
members are developing knowledge toward
supporting child health strategies throughout
health regions, creating support systems
for new families, identifying and reaching out to
vulnerable and marginalized youth, sustaining
families who care for their aging members
at home or in residential facilities, and facilitating effective self-care among those affected
by chronic disease. Increasingly, our policy
work involves us not only in local and provincial
health policy processes, but also in the
discussions that affect us nationally and internationally. These are exciting times, and the
perspective that nursing brings to these important discussions is increasingly sought out
and valued. When policy makers want to know
how nursing can contribute to the betterment
of health systems and services, we want
them to look to the UBC School of Nursing as
a key site for expert knowledge.
Despite the fact that this kind of involvement
stretches us in new ways, it is important
to remember that Canadian nursing has had a
long tradition of policy leadership. In learning
how to speak up and be heard within the policy
arena, we have benefitted tremendously from
the pioneering efforts of national treasures
such as Dr. Verna Huffman Splane. Verna built
Dr. Verna Huffman Splane celebrates her
90th birthday and the School acknowledges her
contributions to the nursing profession.
upon a platform of public health nursing
expertise to become Canada's first Principal
Nursing Officer, holding the highest office
of any nurse in the country and intimately
involved with articulating nursing's perspective
to the leaders in federal government.
She is also a former vice-president of the
International Council of Nurses, and a
passionate internationalist who enacted her
international nursing commitment by way
of various assignments across the globe on
behalf of the World Health Organization.
continued on page 4 Raising the Bar
Glennis Zilm, Honourary Professor of the School of Nursing is the first
nurse to receive the John B. Neilson/Spaulding Award from Associated
Medical Services Incorporated for contributions to the history of health
care in Canada.
"The history of any profession is important
to members of that profession," says Glennis
Zilm, RN, freelance editor/writer/consultant
and honourary professor at the UBC School
of Nursing. "It provides a sense of continuity,
background and a sense of pride."
Glennis is the recent recipient of the John B.
Neilson/Spaulding Award—an award given
to a non-professional historian who promotes
the preservation of health care history
in Canada. This year, for the first time, the
Associated Medical Services accepted
nominations from health care members who
were not physicians. "I was honoured to
be nominated," says Glennis, noting that the
nominations opened up as a direct result
of the publicity and advocacy around developments in the history of nursing.
"Throughout the years, UBC has been a major
leader in health care and has developed
historical points of tremendous proportion,"
she says, "but it is only recently that UBC
has started to tell its story." One important
way in which the UBC School of Nursing
tells its story is through the book Glennis
co-authored with Assistant Professor Emerita
Ethel Warbinek entitled, Legacy: History of
Nursing Education at the University of British
Columbia, 1919-1994. Glennis believes that
book is the major reason she won the Neilson
award. "Legacy is a fabulous book because
it tries to put the history of the School in the
context of political, social, and economic
changes. Those pressures changed nursing,
but nursing changed those pressures
too." Legacy is now a reference in university
libraries across the country.
Perusing her list of publications, it is
obvious that promoting the history of nursing
in Canada is a strong passion in Glennis's
life. "I scream and yell and carry on because
nurses have to write their story." As a
graduate of the UBC School of Nursing's class
of '58, Glennis has examples of fellow nursing
students moving on to do great things—
some visible to great public acclaim and some
visible to one patient at a time. Glennis
cites Alice Baumgart as a good example of
leadership. "She was our little Alice who
went through UBC with us. She went on
to become the President of the Canadian
Nurses Association and later became
Canada's first female Vice President Academic
at Queens University."
And, yet, there are other, less well-known
nurses who make significant contributions by
gaining experience in the field. A firm believer
that history comes not only from leaders in
nursing, but also from nurses at the grass
roots level, Glennis tries to study and promote
nurses who were "just doing their job" as
well as those who might have attracted more
public attention.
One of Glennis's current research projects,
along with UBC School of Nursing affiliate professor, Sheila Rankin Zerr, is a nursing memoir
of Gertrude Richards Ladner (1879-1976).
Gertrude trained at the Royal Jubilee Hospital
in Victoria from 1902-1905 and practiced as
a private and hospital nurse until 1908. "The
reason she's important is not because she
was a nursing leader," says Glennis, "she
didn't do major things. She was typical of the
time—she left nursing when she got married."
However, Gertrude did go on to influence
nursing and health care, and received the
recognition of life member of Burnaby
General Hospital in 1970 because of her work
as a founding member, her help in establishing the hospital and organizing the women's
auxiliary to raise money and awareness at the
grass roots level for the hospital. "Working
with Gertrude's memoirs helps us today not
only break down some of the myths of what
nursing was like, but helps nursing students
look at the future years and how they need
to change and adapt to the future," Glennis
says. "Nurses need to realize they can make
changes as individuals, not just as leaders."
Glennis's passion for advocating nursing
history comes from a life of witnessing "regular" people effecting change and contributing
to groundbreaking events in the field of
nursing. "Let's show members of the profession that nurses, not just leaders, have
made a huge difference. Leaders are the tip of
a whole movement of grass roots nurses who
make the history and prepare the foundation."
Glennis's first job after graduation was
teaching and, at the time, the most junior
teachers were assigned to teach the
history of nursing. Glennis stumbled on a
good idea by accident. "I had members of the class get in touch with graduates of any
previous year and had the nursing alumni
association help." The students were not only
exposed to contact with the alumni association but also had the chance to interview
graduates about their training, experiences,
and why they may have left the nursing profession. "Students had a ball! Alumni had a
ball," says Glennis. "At that point I decided
history of nursing was terribly important."
Squirreling away money from that first job to
travel to Australia, Glennis secured a job as a
public health nurse for a new initiative by the
New South Wales School Board. She was the
only nurse and the only female at a series of
two-week summer camps for boys aged 9
to 12. "They learned swimming and physical
fitness. They were roughing it in the bush and
I was in a white uniform and veil." Amidst
the physical activity, Glennis was able to apply
some of her UBC training to the rustic sensibility of New South Wales, and began to run
urine screening tests for diabetes on the boys.
In a diverse career, including serving on the
editorial staff of the Canadian Nurse and of
the Canadian Press, Glennis has made unique
and creative contributions to the profession,
and left her own mark on its history.
Teaching Excellence
2004 Graduates
In this, its 85th anniversary year,
the UBC School of Nursing was proud
to celebrate the degree completion
of 228 graduates. In its May and
November Congregation ceremonies
the university granted the following
nursing degrees:
115 BSN (Basic Program)
78 BSN (Post-RN Program)
32 MSN
3 PhD
A Mentor of Distinction
Dr. Joan Anderson, RN, PhD, professor, School of Nursing, was awarded
one of two of the University of British Columbia's first ever Killam Graduate
Mentoring Prize at the university's November congregation ceremonies.
This new award was established to recognize outstanding performance by
faculty in the mentoring of graduate students. Although the university
has a long tradition of honouring excellence in teaching, this award
acknowledges graduate mentorship as a form of excellent teaching that is
distinct from the classroom context. In order to be eligible for this
award, the faculty member must have demonstrated sustained mentorship
activity of the highest quality over many years involving many students.
Competition for this new award was intense, and so it was with great pride
that the School learned Joan would be one of the recipients of this
distinct honour.
According to Dr. Sally Thorne, Director of the
UBC School of Nursing, "Joan Anderson is a
senior scholar, highly acclaimed within her
field, whose leadership and mentorship have
been exemplary throughout a long academic
career." She has been a pioneer within
qualitative health research and the application
of critical social theorizing to health problems.
Forging new territory in her scholarship at
every stage throughout her career, she
has brought along a generation of graduate
students who have further developed
her ideas and branched out into critically
important areas of health policy research,
social disparity analysis, and knowledge transfer. Through this process, she fosters in her
students a commitment to excellence, and a
sense of responsibility to work towards the
common good and social justice. Many of the
44 graduate students for whom she has been
a principal research supervisor have gone on
to assume positions in academe, policy and
administration, and in turn, are assuming leadership roles in research and health care.
Joan believes that university schools of
nursing have a social responsibility to educate
leaders who are capable of charting the
course in Canada's health care system. To
this end, she has been committed to the
mentorship of students to prepare them to
take on this role in the future. Through her
mentoring relationships with students, Joan
provides them with opportunities, guides
them into new discoveries and, through her
own scholarship and research, demonstrates
that the privilege of a university education
carries a responsibility of service to the
larger society. Development
Holistic Generosity
Lily Lee graduated with her BSN from UBC in 1956 and has participated
in the School's development ever since. A well-known member of British
Columbia's business and professional community, Lily has also played an
active role in supporting academic excellence in the University of British
Columbia, attending alumni achievement events, and traveling with
UBC's Continuing Studies. In 2000, Lily was invited to join the School's
Advisory Council, a high level forum from which she offers ideas and
support to assist in the development of the School's future mission, vision,
and mandate.
"Lily is a strong supporter of the School,"
says Director, Dr. Sally Thorne. "I've had many
opportunities to meet with her and discuss
our educational and research initiatives. She
has consistently pressed the School to play
a major role in advancements around such
issues as culturally sensitive care across an
increasingly diverse community, and the
study of complementary and alternative (or
non-Western) therapeutic approaches to
health promotion and chronic illness care.
She has wonderful ideas and is always challenging the School to expand its scope
into new and innovative domains of practice."
This past year, Lily decided to add financial
assistance to the excellent support she
already gives the School. Toward this end,
she established an endowment that will fund
scholarships to help students entering
the nursing program. "It is to provide for those
students who might otherwise not have
the resources to fulfill their dreams of going
to university," she says.
According to Sally Thorne, "Lily Lee's wisdom
has been invaluable to us, and we are thrilled
that she has now come forward with a major
donation in support of nursing students." The
award has been modeled on a similar one
established by Lily's husband, former UBC
Chancellor Robert Lee, for the Sauder School
of Business, which was previously known
Alumna, Lily Lee, establishes entrance
scholarship for School of Nursing students.
as the Faculty of Commerce and Business
Administration. Lily, her husband, and the
entire Lee family have made exceptional
contributions in so many ways over the years
to support their alma mater.
The UBC School of Nursing extends its
sincere appreciation to Lily for all the hard
work she has put into furthering nursing
practice and education over the past several
years. Her wisdom and advocacy on behalf
of the School have been invaluable and this
latest contribution will be a lasting legacy
that will honour the widespread generosity of
spirit that Lily and her family have shown.
The School of Nursing is privileged to have
an excellent base of "Friends" who show a
sustaining interest in our activities. What
we ask of them is "wisdom, advocacy, or financial support." Lily is one of those rare people
able to contribute all three in equal measure!
The School looks forward to continuing to
receive the benefits of her friendship and to
being an effective steward for her timely
contribution to future nursing students.
Pioneering Policy
Continued from page 1
Nancy Garrett, Sally Thorne, Richard Splane,
Verna Splane and Shirley Stinson in an
historic, reflective dialogue at the University of
British Columbia.
In "retirement," she and husband Dick
Splane continued their efforts to document
and advocate the "Chief Nursing Officer
Movement" to ensure that nurses had input
into government policy in as many parts
of the world as possible.
A longtime friend and supporter of the UBC
School of Nursing, Verna currently holds
the position of Honourary Professor and maintains an active role in the activities of the
School. In November, 2004, the School of
Nursing was delighted to be able to celebrate
with her the "first 90 years" of her remarkable
career. In honour of the occasion, we hosted
an "Afternoon of Dialogue and Reflection"
in which a selected group of senior nursing
dignitaries and historians reflected upon
the meaning of Verna's contributions and
brainstormed the ways in which the insights
derived from her exceptional career might
be applied to today's policy challenges. The
School of Nursing salutes Dr. Verna Huffman
Splane, and looks forward to her continuing
mentorship as nursing takes its rightful
place in shaping the policies that influence
the health of the world's populations. Undergraduate Profile
Nursing for Social Justice
Listed at the top of Meaghan Thumath's
resume is one of her core beliefs. She is a
firm believer in holistic, evidence-based
nursing practice. "At UBC I learned to respect
the whole person," says Meaghan. "The
determinants of health care are important.
Clients are not just a pregnancy or a case of
herpes, they are living people and part
of a family." It's essential to Meaghan to
discover a client's top priority through
communication and self-assessment. "Maybe
their next meal is more important than
their gonorrhea."
Experiences such as her time as a Youth
AIDS mentor at the Chilliwack needle exchange
and meeting with nurses at the Healthy
Beginnings (HB) project have helped fuel her
desire to work for social justice. Although
she originally planned on a career in international relations, her interactions with the
nurses at HB following the birth of her son
sparked the realization that nurses can
be activists. "It didn't occur to me that nursing
could be such a political act," Meaghan
says. "I didn't even register that my needle
exchange supervisor was a nurse." She
respected these nurses because "they lived
and breathed the social activist theories I
admired but didn't know how to put into
action." And the HB nurses didn't just treat
illness; they promoted health to healthy
people in order to prevent illness. "These
nurses did a lot of teaching," she says. "They
helped and supported my partner and me
and respected the knowledge we already had."
In her undergraduate program at the UBC
School of Nursing, this holistic, evidence-
based approach was further reinforced by
her preceptorship at St. Paul's Hospital
in Vancouver in the unit specializing in HIV-
AIDS. "It was inspiring to be there because
it was social justice and activist theories
come to life. Nursing is a political act, working
with and for marginalized people."
While at St. Paul's, Meaghan made contact
with Dr. Jeremy Penner who has run a partnership for the last two years with la Clinique de
Sante Lumiere (CSL) in Les Cayes, Haiti
to help treat and educate health care
professionals and the public about HIV and
STDs. "The program needed help developing
HIV health care and invited me to consult
and learn through the nursing portion of the
project." Meaghan participated in pre- and
post-test counseling for HIV, took mobile testing units and medication to rural areas, and
did education sessions for not only nursing
staff but also housekeepers, cleaning staff,
HIV support groups and others. "The idea was
to decrease the stigma about HIV and teach
HIV basics." They taught nutrition and health
promotion, and gave out free medication.
Each clinic saw 85 to 200 people in areas not
normally served by doctors or nurses.
"In Haiti, clients have to pay about $2 US to
see a physician," says Meaghan. This makes
consultations with physicians inaccessible
to anyone lower than middle class, thus
extending the detection of HIV until cases are
in advanced states. "But," she says, "to see
a nurse is free, so the scope of practice a
nurse in Haiti has is much wider." By developing treatment guidelines for nurse-led primary
care for HIV, Dr. Penner, Meaghan, and the
team were able to train nurses to run HIV
tests and recognize and diagnose symptoms
in the early stages.
"We brought our clinic to them," says
Meaghan, "to the churches, the other HIV
clinics, and the rural areas. We talked to HIV
support groups and invited them to come to
our clinic." Meaghan describes an inspirational
meeting with Maxon, a man who was an
unofficial employee of CSL, a father, husband,
and a man living with HIV. He further motivated
Meaghan because "he was doing everything
I'd ever read in the literature about how to
run a program." Without ever having heard of
them, he was practicing application of
the determinants of health. He did a needs
assessment on each community he visited,
tried to get the basic needs—like food —
met, and communicated directly with the
people. "He knew that the best way for
the clinics to provide meaningful service to
HIV groups was to include them," says
Meaghan. "'Social development theory' was
alive in Maxon. He was NURS 413: Community
Health Nursing and Population Health."
For Meaghan, a big part of community health
nursing is networking and supporting people
like Maxon and his project, Assistence de
Secours. During her BSN studies, Meaghan
was encouraged to explore global networking
when she was awarded the Helen Mussallem
travel bursary to attend the International
Council of Nurses Biennial Conference in
Geneva, Switzerland in 2003. There Meaghan
met and interacted with some of the most
prominent leaders in international nursing.
She also gained a sense of nursing activities
relating to international health issues on
such topics as health policy and nursing shortages. "I got a good sense of nursing in the
world and was inspired that a nurse has a
voice in health care and can influence policy."
Putting her scholarship into practice, Meaghan
knows that the implementation of health care
projects is a long term initiative, which is why
continued on page 7 Graduate Profile
What's in a Decision?
Does it seem natural that someone
who grew up in the Interior of BC
would struggle to choose between a
career in forestry or nursing?
Family and friends told Fuchsia
Howard that she'd make a good
nurse. She knew she liked
people, so nursing seemed like the
right choice. Fuchsia chose
the University of Alberta for her
undergraduate work. "I loved
the sunrises and sunsets," she says,
"but it was too cold!"
After four years of working in an acute care
unit at Vancouver General Hospital, Fuchsia
got the itch for school once again. "I loved
working with the people and enjoyed the high
pace. It was never dull." VGH even funded
MSN graduation means "halfway there"for PhD
student Fuchsia Howard, RN, MSN.
her critical care program course at BCIT which
led to her work in the Trauma Special Care
area. "Those patients were more acutely ill,"
Fuchsia says. "I only had one or two patients
so I really got to know them. I could spend
the time I wanted with them." Eventually, her
love of learning drew her back to the university
to expand her scope of nursing knowledge,
and she entered the MSN program at UBC. "I
was terrified," she says. "I was scared I'd
forgotten how to write."
At the same time that Fuchsia was considering a return to school, School of Nursing
Professor, Dr. Joan Bottorff, and her team were
offering a fellowship for a master's student to
assist with their study of breast symptoms in
South Asian women. Fuchsia had always been
interested in women's health. "I had some
background in surgical oncology and that is
where I wanted to focus my research."
The fellowship through the Nursing and Health
Behaviour Research Unit and the Canadian
Breast Cancer Research Alliance allowed
Fuchsia to work as a research assistant. "For
my master's thesis I was able to investigate
Punjabi immigrant women's experiences of
breast cancer."
Her master's thesis focused on the importance of family—how a woman's individual
decision is made within the family and how
her breast cancer happens to the whole
family. "Community and family are so important." Fuchsia's findings provided suggestions
to nurses and other health professionals
on how to better interact with these women
and provide culturally sensitive care.
Had it not been for her funding, Fuchsia
would not have been able to accomplish all
she has. "I was able to do my MSN full
time which opened doors for me. I was able
to be involved with things happening in the
School, attend lectures, participate in events
outside of class, and meet people doing
research in similar areas." As one of the MSN
representatives to Faculty Caucus, Fuchsia
gained insight into the larger context of the
UBC School of Nursing and the importance of
working as a team. "The School does this
well," she says. "There is a commitment to
working through things and doing them right."
Along with her research fellowship, Fuchsia
received a Graduate Entrance Scholarship and
the Golden Jubilee Scholarship from the
School of Nursing. In addition, Dr. Bottorff's
research program was able to provide her with
travel support, allowing her to attend the
International Conference on Cancer Nursing
in Australia this past summer where she
presented her qualitative meta-study,
Experiences of Breast Cancer in Ethno-Cultural
Groups. "The financial support is huge," says
Fuchsia. "I wouldn't have been able to be a
full-time student without it. I didn't once have
to stop thinking of my studies." Further,
the recognition reinforced for Fuchsia that the
School valued her as a student and believed
in her abilities.
Graduating with her MSN degree in late
2004, Fuchsia has continued on into the doctoral program, and will continue to develop
her capacity as a researcher in the field of
breast cancer. "I'm working in the field of psychosocial oncology, which has to do with how
people cope and adapt to cancer. Nowadays
women who have a family history of breast
cancer and meet specific criteria can opt to
have genetic testing. I'm interested in how
women who learn they carry the genetic susceptibility gene, BRCA 1/2, come to make
decisions about risk-reducing mastectomy."
Currently, women have few resources for decision-making in relation to their options. They
can watch and wait with increased screening,
opt to have the breast and/or ovaries removed
or opt to have drug therapy. "It's not clear
how women come to these decisions," says
Fuchsia. "By knowing more about how they
do so, we can help them make the best decision for them." As an experienced practitioner,
Fuchsia knows how useful this knowledge
will be in helping nurses provide care that
really helps women cope with these complex
new scientific and ethical challenges in the
best way possible. The School of Nursing
is delighted to have graduate students such
as Fuchsia who are passionate about nursing
practice and committed to generating knowledge that will enhance the capacity of nurses
to make a real difference. We are awfully
glad she didn't decide on forestry! New Faces in Research
Geertje Boschma, RN, PhD
A Fascination for History
Dr. Geertje Boschma, Assistant Professor, comes to UBC from the
University of Calgary, where her latest book, Faculty of Nursing on the
Move: Nursing at the University of Calgary 1969-2004, has just been
released. "Historical research into the evolution of academic nursing
looks at how the events of nursing in the past inform how we know
nursing today," says Geertje.
Geertje hopes to further develop her program
of historical research in nursing and mental
health care, and emphasizes that the UBC
School of Nursing's support and enthusiasm
for the exploration of nursing history was
one of the reasons she wanted to teach at
UBC. "Part of coming here was the opportunity
to make historical topics more available
to students."
In her earlier book, The Rise of Mental
Health Nursing: A History of Psychiatric Care in
Dutch Asylums, 1890-1920, which won the
2003 Lavinia L. Dock Award of the American
Association for the History of Nursing,
Geertje revealed some important findings.
Although she had expected to find that mental
health nursing in Dutch asylums was
shaped by psychological knowledge, instead
she learned about the extent to which it
was shaped by a general hospital example.
Geertje's most recent project has been
funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and
focuses on how families and the public in general have experienced mental health care.
In the future she hopes to organize a seminar
series, with the help of the BC History of
Nursing Professional Practice Group, on a variety of historical topics and to make these
discussions open to faculty and students.
Dr. Geertje Boschma, assistant professor,
looks toward a future of history.
"I'm enthusiastic about historical research
because it helps us gain a perspective on
where we are today. It's hard to understand
what's happening in nursing without a
historical perspective" Geertje notes. "In my
teaching of undergraduate and graduate
students, I hope that I can enrich the program
by including historical research into an understanding of nursing today. With a historical
context, students get a broader perspective of
where nurses come from, something that has
often been excluded over the last decade in
many nursing programs." In this 85th anniversary year of the UBC School of Nursing's
legacy, it is most fitting that we have a new
historical research champion in our midst.
Undergraduate Profile
Continued from page 5
she will return to Haiti next summer. Meaghan
appreciates Dr. Penner's commitment to visit
Haiti every four months and says "It's the
model of development I most respect. Longer
term and partnership works—it's all about
me learning from the nurses there as much
as teaching them."
Meaghan learned a few techniques from
GHESKIO, the National Haitian HIV and STD
research and policy development body,
which she'd like to adapt to her practice in
Canada. "They had a great training model,"
she says, for putting lab technicians, physicians and clinic staff through HIV training
to develop consistency. "We have guidelines
too, but they did a really good assessment
of the client and of finding out what the client
already knew before they administered the
HIV test. They had a neutral way of delivering
a positive result." After each positive result
they ensured that a person living with AIDS
and hired by the clinic was available to talk to
the new patient.
Meaghan also gained diagnostic knowledge
that will help her in her work at St. Paul's.
"Before I left for Haiti, I didn't really have any
knowledge of malaria, typhoid, and other
tropical illnesses." And, because HIV goes
untreated for long periods of time in Haiti,
Meaghan saw lots of end-stage HIV. "Now
that I've seen what happens when it's left
untreated, I can better detect the signs
here at St. Paul's."
From coordinating the Vancouver Native Health
site for the 2003 Papalooza Women's Health
Week in the Downtown Eastside to volunteering as the vice chairperson of the Vancouver
Community Health Advisory Committee,
Meaghan strives for social justice for all members of society. "It's a real honour to work
with these people. I learn so much and I feel
almost selfish because my clients are
amazing. The things they do everyday are
incredible. People are grateful to me, but I
am the one who is grateful."
At UBC School of Nursing, we are thrilled
that students like Meaghan find the educational foundation they seek. And as you might
imagine, the School is left so much richer for
the inspiration they leave behind. Clinical Practice Innovation
Breaking Down Barriers
Between Hospital
and Community Health
"I believe we have a huge personal
responsibility in our own health," says Holly
Kennedy-Symonds, RN, MHSc, and Clinical
Nurse Specialist for Heart Health and Chronic
Disease Management for the Fraser Health
Authority. "Some people take better care
of their cars than they do of themselves." One
way we can get people to take care of
themselves is to educate them. The Fraser
Health Authority Healthy Heart Program
is a cardiac prevention, rehabilitation, and
education program that works with a
variety of community partners to do just that.
In the early 1990s, Holly began to build
Healthy Heart, a cardiac health management
program, at Shaughnessy Hospital in
Vancouver, drawing upon knowledge gained in
her Master's degree in Health Sciences at
McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Due
to hospital closure, the program and staff,
along with Dr. Schamberger and Holly, moved
to St. Paul's Hospital. At the same time,
Burnaby Hospital received a "Closer to Home"
community partnership grant to develop a
cardiac prevention and rehabilitation program
based in community development. The project
triggered multiple partnerships with the City
of Burnaby, Parks and Recreation Department
and Health Department, Burnaby Hospital,
and Burnaby School Board. "Community
development is of high interest to me," says
Holly. "I've consulted on program development
for Richmond Hospital, Peace Arch Hospital,
Surrey Memorial, Prince George, Prince Rupert,
Vancouver Hospital, Victoria and Kelowna."
In her role as an adjunct professor with the
UBC School of Nursing, she also supports
students wanting to learn more about cardiac
health promotion and management.
Over time, the Fraser Health Authority
Healthy Heart program has evolved from the
singular focus on cardiac rehabilitation
to Healthy Heart Risk Reduction, including
diabetes care. "The program services
include a cardiac rehabilitation program with
RN case management, surveillance and
group exercise training, heart function clinic,
lipid clinic, stress management, smoking
cessation, 24-hour blood pressure, and weight
management nurse clinic," says Holly. "We
have a pre-diabetes program that assists
people to identify insulin resistance and
reduce risk for diabetes, a diabetes management program including diabetes and
pregnancy, management strategies for Type
and II diabetes and insulin therapy/adjustments." Some people have both heart disease
and diabetes. They join the exercise program,
learn to be volunteers and stay within the
community long after their treatment is done.
Holly believes that there are many more
people who could benefit from this kind of
program than are currently referred to it by
their family doctor. She is eager to overcome
barriers of geography, attitude, and service
delivery structure to reach as many people
as possible. Those who have taken part in the
program have demonstrated a high level of
satisfaction with what they have learned. They
report learning the skills of self-care from the
training and coaching they receive and a
greater sense of confidence in their ability to
make good decisions about their health.
Importantly, they also identify the many ways
A healthy heart is a happy heart as far as
Holly Kennedy-Symonds, adjunct professor,
School of Nursing, is concerned.
in which the program creates cost savings to
both patients and the health care system.
"We focus on what a patient's needs are,"
says Holly. "When we do the assessment we
ask, 'What do you know about your health?
What are your risk factors? Your targets?'
We respect the people who come in here.
And we are committed to being the 'guide
on the side' instead of the 'sage on
the stage' through engaging our patients in
partnership in health."
The UBC School of Nursing is proud of the
commitment of clinical practice experts
like Holly, and celebrates the contribution they
make to our learning team.
Touchpoints is published by the School
of Nursing, Faculty of Applied Science,
The University of British Columbia.
Editor: Sally Thorne
Associate Editor/Writer: Julie Lees
Editorial Advice: Dr. Marilyn Willman
Design/Production: Tandem Design Associates Ltd
Printing: Rhino Print Solutions
The UBC School of Nursing
T201-2211 Wesbrook Mall
Vancouver, B.C.  V6T 2B5
Tel: 604-822-7417
Fax: 604-822-7466


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