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As we celebrate Occupational Therapy (OT) Month, we would like to recognize the contribution of student fieldwork educators to Vancouver Coastal Health and to the profession of occupational therapy.
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Exposure to our clinical programs can be an effective recruitment strategy to attract graduating occupational therapists and rehabilitation assistants to come to work at VCH.  However, fieldwork education requires a partnership between fieldwork educators and students to prepare for the demands of practice and to support graduation.  By providing practical experience and exposure to our programs we are investing in our future colleagues.
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Each year we make a call out for fieldwork placements, shadow opportunities, and clinic visits and each year occupational therapists generously extend offers to support student learning. Richelle Emery, OT Practice Coordinator for Vancouver Home Health, highlighted that even “though VC (Vancouver Community)  is currently going through huge changes, is dealing with many staff shortages and has an increasing workload, the OTs automatically offer to preceptor OT and RA student placements. I believe that VC OT value student education and see the benefit of the unique practice setting they work in."
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This year the University of British Columbia acknowledged the contribution of a VCH occupational therapist, Denise Kendrick, by awarding her the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Fieldwork Educator Award of Excellence. This award recognizes exceptional practice teaching and student mentoring in the workplace. The nominator wrote: “Denise's ability to create a safe space for learning not only supports the development of clinical reasoning and practice skills, but fosters confidence and self-compassion as students move through the often-challenging journey of becoming occupational therapists…The profession of Occupational Therapy is richer due to her commitment to clinical education."
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#OTMonth #OccupationalTherapy #OccupationalTherapist #OT #AlliedHealth #Recognition
Gail, Activity Worker at VCH and winner of the Award of Excellence - Exceptional Care, at this year's People First Awards, shows her colleagues and patients every day that “being caring is at the heart of what we do."
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Here's what Gail's colleagues have said about her and how she models our VCH values (We Care for Everyone, We are Always Learning, We Strive for Better Results). “Gail knows everyone individually, their likes and dislikes, and what is likely to cheer them up. She is so present with our patients, and so giving of herself. She turns WP5 (Willow Pavilion 5) from a hospital ward into a place that people can live for a while with some sense of community and connectedness."
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Gail shows she cares for her colleagues by supporting them in their day-to-day practice and sharing her expertise. She also puts extra effort into caring for patients' families as well.  As one family member said, “she made our family feel at home while understanding the hospital setting is distressing."
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She believes in staying curious and is always open to innovative ideas and ways to improve care. “Gail has been working with me to champion innovative research (social robot research, using music & headphones). She made our research robust because she has the attitude - yes, together we can."
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Gail inspires her colleagues every day by going the extra mile to make VCH a great place to work and receive care. “Gail has the heart and energy of a lion; determined to help those in her care feel respected, included and cared for. Gail gives more than 100% each and every day and changes lives each and every day."
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We asked Gail what inspires her to live our values every day. “I do it for the clients – their needs come first. I always start by asking the clients what's bothering them, what they need to be happy and I act on that. They (all our clients) are a person, not a number." At VCH, we believe in caring for everyone – our patients, their families, our colleagues and ourselves.
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Thank you, Gail for providing exceptional care and being an inspiration for all! To watch a short video tribute for Gail from her colleagues, visit the link in our bio!
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#PeopleFirstAwards #Caring #Learn
While some say laughter is the best medicine, for Richmond music therapists Eva Wong and Alexina Davis, music and song are powerful tools for helping patients, residents, and clients connect in a unique way. “Music breaks down barriers," says Eva, “When we play to patients, it helps create a special connection and creates trust, which can then lead to patients speaking honestly about their experiences and how they're feeling."
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On some units such as the stroke unit, where many patients are non-verbal, music provides a gateway. “We've seen case after case with non-verbal patients that when we're playing the music or songs that they know, they can sing the whole song with lyrics! Because singing uses the entire brain, individuals who cannot speak post-stroke may be able to tap into other parts of the brain and sing," she says, adding that music can be a way to encourage these patients to say a simple hello to their loved ones or care team.
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When rehabilitating patients, Eva and Alexina have also found that music can help provide incredible motivation—using the rhythm of the guitar to give them confidence, endurance, and even a steadier gait when walking to the beat of the music.
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For Alexina who works on the acute, shorter-stay units, it's all about the connection that music provides. “It's all about bringing normalcy to their day," she says. “It lightens up the mood for everyone on the unit when music fills the halls. Often times, our staff aren't able to spend as much time with patients as they would like. My job is to connect with our patients, pick songs that will lift them up and provide comfort, and then breakdown the barriers so we can have a meaningful conversation."
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Alexina says it's that sense of connection that music brings that not only impacts a single patient's journey—but how they connect with each other on the units. “Patients really enjoy coming out of their rooms and being with other patients that are on the same journey and hearing about their experience. Music provides that opportunity to connect and motivate each other."
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#MusicTherapist #MusicTherapy #Richmond
As a new grad Sonographer, Madeline made the move from small-town Ontario to Vancouver to work at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). She wanted to start her career at a tertiary center where she could really test her skills and grow as a new grad. “For me, VCH was the right choice as I would be able to work at a teaching center and enjoy a good work/life balance.”
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Madeline loves her job as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer because there are always new and challenging cases that force her to think on her feet and test her skills. “There is always something new to learn in this position,” says Madeline. Over the past five and a half years working at VGH, she’s experienced countless exciting and inspirational moments supporting patients.
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Madeline describes the ultrasound department as incredibly supportive and her amazing colleagues who are always willing to lend a helping hand. She loves the diversity of the department and says there are staff members from countries all over the world.
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Madeline embodies the VCH Value – We Care for Everyone and treats every patient the way she would want to be treated as a patient.
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#SonographyWeek #Sonography #Sonographer #AlliedHealth #VGH #Vancouver
“It's about being a voice for our patients and advocating their needs," says Christine Deziel, nurse for the Drug and Alcohol Resource Team (DART). “It's the opportunity to help be the vehicle for change and support clients, their families, and our own staff with their understanding of addictions."
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Evidence-based addiction treatment, education, harm reduction and supportive care: these are the pillars of the Richmond Hospital DART team—a specialized resource team that provides services and treatment for any patient where there is an identified concern about substance use and are admitted to ER and inpatient units at Richmond Hospital.
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DART provides assessments to hospital patients at the bedside, initiates treatments such as opiate agonist treatment and anti-craving medications and assists with withdrawal management. The team also supports the units with discharge planning and connects patients to community clinics and resources for ongoing care. “We're a consult-based team—we have the expertise to offer addictions treatment and medication suggestions to support the teams in ER and on the units caring for the patients," says Preeti Sawa, clinical coordinator.
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Over the past two years, the DART program has focused on making some enhancements to the program so they can better support both patients and families as well as staff. “With enhanced coverage, we have more time to spend with clients—to really get to know them and meet them where they're at," says Christine. “Often clients we see in hospital end up coming to programs that we also facilitate in the community—it's nice to create that consistency and continuum of care with our patients so we can build trust and support them in their journey.”
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While the DART team's main focus is supporting clients with addictions and substance use, they also share their expertise with staff on the units, multidisciplinary teams, as well as families to help share information about addictions and how we can all work together to support those who are struggling.
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#DrugandAlcoholResourceTeam #RichmondHospital #Richmond
This year the Emergency Nurses Association of BC (ENABC) Conference was held in beautiful Penticton, BC. The conference was filled with two exciting days of inspiring speakers, hands-on education and meeting Emergency Department (ED) nurses from other hospitals. Lori, ED Manager & Lara, Nurse/Educator, both from VGH presented at the conference and shared insights about the new and innovative initiatives they are part of at VCH.
Thank you to our VCH nurses that came over to support the VCH booth!
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And a big thank you to our dedicated emergency nurses for everything you do for our patients - Happy Emergency Nurses Week! - 
#EmergencyDepartment #ED #RegisteredNurses #RN #Conference #Penticton #ENWeek
As a Registered Nurse, Liz wanted to be exposed to as many interesting opportunities as possible - working at VGH, a Level 1 Trauma Center allows her to do just that.  As a result of working with the Burns, Trauma and High Acuity Unit (BTHA) at VGH, Liz had the unique opportunity to present in a village in Kenya about burns and refresh their practice with regards to pain management.
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On the BTHA Unit, Liz appreciates her team and clinical educators who are always there to provide support. No matter what the profession – physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, managers, charge nurses, dietitians, etc., they all support each other.
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Liz is part of a team that works together to advocate for excellent patient care. “It is amazing when you see positive results from working together.” She feels inspired at work when a sick patient turns the corner and gets discharged as a result of the collaborative care provided.
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Liz believes the VCH Values (We Care for Everyone, We are Always Learning, and we Strive for Better Results) are very evident at VGH. “VGH takes in and cares for patients from everywhere – other Health Authorities, other provinces, other countries, other walks of life, and marginalized populations,” shares Liz.  She is grateful to be part of a team and organization that is continually improving practice and striving to provide the best care possible.
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#RegisteredNurse #RN #Nurse #BTHA #VGH #Vancouver
This week we’re celebrating a discipline that works in the dark – literally! Happy Sonography Week to all our outstanding Sonographers across VCH.
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We chatted with one VCH Sonographer, Lisa who works in the Ultrasound, Radiology Department at VGH. She loves the problem-solving aspects of her job. “There are scans for the abdomen, pelvis, fetus, and blood vessels and each exam is tailored to the patient’s needs.”
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As a Sonographer, Lisa works with patients one on one to get a better sense of what’s going inside the patient. “The human body has always fascinated me and ultrasound allows me to see everything internally!” She describes her typical days as exciting and rewarding when she can provide evidence and help with a patient's diagnosis.
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Lisa says there is no shortage of teamwork in her department. “I get a lot of support from my colleagues and the radiologist. If I am stuck on a challenging case, there is always help.” Her department meets regularly to discuss how they can better support patients as well as team members.
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#SonographyWeek #Sonography #Sonographers #AlliedHealth #VGH #Vancouver