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A publication for Staff and Physicians of IH

IH makes top employers’ list


Make a splash... Win an Excellence in BC Health Care Award !

Nominations are now being accepted for the 7th annual Excellence in BC Health Care Awards Presented by the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC), the Excellence in BC Health Care Awards celebrate excellence and innovation in BC’s health care community. Nominees must work within an HEABC member facility and nominations must be for work done in service to or on behalf of an HEABC member employer either as an employee or contractor. Some awards are for projects that are improving health care delivery and some are for individual health employees who inspirations to those around them. Award categories are: Top Innovation – Affiliate, Top Innovation – Health Authority, Workplace Health Innovation, Collaborative Solutions and Health Care Hero.

Nominations deadline: Thursday, February 28, 2013

To learn more and nominate online, visit

Nominate a deserving person or team today! P R E S E N T E D


Dr. Halpenny talks about our organization as he sees it from his day-to-day perspective.

What’s your plan for a positive work place in 2013? Read this month’s responses.

A simple “Hello, my name is…” can change everything.

Interior Health makes the BC Top Employers for 2013.

Thoughts on moving the health-care system from a provider-centred system to a place where patients are the true centre of care.

Excellent care is provided to a patient who experiences the sudden onset of a stroke.

Shining a spotlight on the many communities that make up where we live, work, and play.

Snapshots of our staff in action over the last month.

What are KLH staff Diane Riel and Eve Burkart doing? See p.18 to find out!

The @InteriorHealth newsletter is a monthly publication created by the Communications Department of Interior Health. Past issues of @InteriorHealth can be found on our website under About Us/Media Centre/Publications & Newsletters. If you have story ideas for future issues, please e-mail: – deadline for submissions to the March 2013 issue of the @InteriorHealth newsletter is February 15. Editors: Amanda Fisher & Breanna Pickett IH Communications Contributors: Lisa Braman, Lesley Coates, Susan Duncan, Karl Hardt, Megan Kavanagh, Erin Toews, Kara Visinski


y message this month starts on a very sad note. We lost Janice Buller, one of our dedicated Home Health nurses from Lillooet, following a tragic accident on January 17. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and especially to the young son she has left behind, as well as the many staff members in Lillooet she worked so closely with every day. life ds some workDr. Halpenny fin mountain – i balance on the at Big White Sk y” da “a fantastic . 20 ary Resort on Janu

At Interior Health, we want to set new standards of excellence in the delivery of health services in B.C. and to also promote healthy lifestyles and provide needed health services in a timely, caring, and efficient manner. To achieve this, we are guided by the following strategic goals: Goal 1 Improve Health and Wellness Goal 2 Deliver High Quality Care Goal 3 Ensure Sustainable Health Care by Improving Innovation, Productivity, and Efficiency Goal 4 Cultivate an Engaged Workforce and Healthy Workplace The articles featured in the @IH newsletter are great examples of how we’re achieving our goals … and realizing our vision and mission. Read on!

Looking back over the last few weeks, it is clear we hit the ground running after our Christmas break. As you know, there is never a shortage of projects to tackle when it comes to making improvements in health care. One that I am particularly excited about is focused on our research efforts and how we take a more involved and coordinated approach within IH. With that in mind, we’re in the midst of an environmental scan of research initiatives underway and how they align with one another. This preliminary work is a first step in developing a research strategy for the organization. On January 18, I was in Vancouver for Leadership Council with my health authority CEO peers. This is a monthly meeting, chaired by the Deputy Minister of Health, that also includes senior executives from the Ministry of Health. It provides a forum for discussing provincial initiatives, approving policy, and addressing common issues. This month, we had an opportunity to review the draft Public Health Plan for B.C. which is a guiding document to help us identify and set new priorities, make strategic investments, and increase focus in areas that contribute to a strong, effective public health system. On a related note, we also discussed the next phases of Panorama, the new public health clinical information system for B.C. Panorama provides the tools to collect, share, and analyze a wide range of health information critical for managing population health issues and communicable diseases. The first module,

Inventory Management of Vaccines, was introduced in 2010. The next two phases will be implemented beginning in May/ June 2013 and include Immunizations and Family Health (Phase I) followed by Case and Outbreak Management (Phase II). After Leadership Council, I was back in Kelowna for our monthly Senior Executive Team (SET) meeting. We are fortunate to often have presentations from some of our community partners on the agenda. At this meeting, representatives from the Red Cross joined us to provide an impressive overview of their services. It was a good opportunity to consider how we might enhance our partnership going forward. During the meeting, we also discussed our response to some of the most significant issues we have been managing of late. These include Summerland Seniors Village and Crossroads Treatment Centre in Kelowna which have had widespread media coverage. Both are challenging situations and our staff and senior leaders are working diligently to take appropriate action and find solutions that are in the best interests of our patients and clients. January ended with a team-building session for SET. This is an important part of our action plan for engagement because it is helping us find ways to work together more effectively, and to recognize and value the strengths each of us brings to the table. I hope you are making similar progress in your own teams as you work through your action plans. In closing, I would like to say how pleased and proud I am that Interior Health has been selected as one of BC’s Top Employers for 2013. We are always striving to engage and support our employees, in everything from career opportunities to comprehensive compensation and benefits plans, and we make this a priority because it helps build a more positive work environment over the long-term. I think you all deserve a pat on the back!



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What’s your plan for a positive workplace in 2013? In keeping with our commitment to make engagement part of our every day, each month we are posing a new topic for discussion that’s linked to the 12 Gallup engagement questions. Your Opinions Count @ IH is a way to keep engagement top of mind, and to let us know what it means to you. Here are a few excerpts from what we heard in response to January’s topic:

“… Our Surgical Bookings office has started a ‘Gratitude Jar’, in which you start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that have happened at work and/or in your personal life over the year…” “During challenging changes I am keeping upbeat, telling my co-workers that I believe the change will be great and that they CAN do it!” “Two workgroups have undertaken a friendly 18 week weight loss competition. Our goal for 2013 is more health, less stress!” “I am and have started singing while I work. It seems to make the patients happy and makes me happy and makes my job go by faster and nicer…” “… Maintain a happy positive attitude when I walk through the doors to come to work. BE PLEASANT to all the staff I encounter …” Visit the Engagement web page on the InsideNet to view the complete list of responses. All other discussion topics and responses are also available to view since Your Opinions Count @ IH started in January 2012. The February topic for discussion is…

What does “quality” mean to you? Feel free to share examples! Please send your feedback to and we’ll share excerpts in the next @IH, along with a new topic for discussion.

In Our Own Words by: Meggie Ross


am a nurse. I have worked in both acute care and community settings over the past 30 years. Recently I have been on the receiving end of care for my own, or a family member’s, health needs. I am happy that most interactions with our wonderful and dedicated staff were very positive; a smile and some small talk to make us feel at ease, followed by thoughtful and skilled care. Sadly, I am dismayed by the number of care providers (all types – nurses, physicians, technologists) who failed to introduce themselves. Introducing ourselves is something we all know how to do. Our parents and kindergarten teachers taught us that skill when we were young. A simple “Hello, my name is…” marks the beginning of most valued social interactions. Why are we sometimes forgetting this in health care? Yes, we are often busy and many of us work in stressful environments. Yet in all but the most emergent of situations – cardiac arrest for example – our first interaction with a patient and their family should begin with an introduction. To do otherwise is at best insensitive, at worst dehumanizing, and emphasizes the power imbalance between patient and care provider. In my experiences, when health-care staff focused on the task at hand without providing a greeting I felt depersonalized – and I work in the system! Now imagine someone who is bewildered by the environment, worried, or vulnerable as many of our clients and patients are. Taking a moment to engage with our patients, clients, and their support persons through an introduction can make all the difference in the world. It sets the stage for good communication, mutual respect, and ultimately, a more positive health-care experience. Now you might be thinking: “I have an ID tag – why do I need to introduce myself?” True, most staff have a photo ID card; however, not everyone wears it and often their name and photo are not visible. Have you ever been talking to someone and found yourself twisting your head to try to read a name tag dangling backwards on the end of a lanyard? Name tags, even when visible, do not create the same connection that comes from a sincere “Hello, my name is…” Health care is about healing, teaching, and providing comfort. We need to remember that our clients and patients are often anxious, scared, sad, and vulnerable. We can help ease those feelings with just a few simple words. “Hello, my name is Meggie Ross.” Thanks for reading this and I hope I have given you something to think about.

Meggie Ross (right), Public Health Nurse in Penticton, says taking a moment to introduce yourself helps put patients and families at ease.

Now and then, we get great submissions from employees throughout IH that we want to share with you. “In Our Own Words” is a new feature that helps us do that. Please be sure to let us know if you have something to say.

A Feather in Our Cap IH Makes BC’s Top Employers!


nterior Health has been named one of BC’s Top Employers for 2013! This special designation recognizes the British Columbia employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

“I am thrilled that Interior Health has been recognized as a Top Employer in B.C.” says John Johnston, Vice President, People and Clinical Services. “This acknowledgement tells the rest of B.C. and the country what we already know: IH is one of the best places to work in the province. I hope all our staff are proud of this and realize it is their dedication and professionalism that made this possible.” To be announced on February 8, 2013 in a special feature in the Vancouver Sun, the BC’s Top Employers annual competition considers a variety of criteria like recruitment and retention, as well as high employment standards and performance in several areas, including: physical workplace; work and social atmosphere; health, financial and family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement. “I would also like to acknowledge the work of Vincent Yew, Human Resources Business Partner and Sherri Lampman, Administrative Assistant for their work in pulling our application together,” says John. Interior Health has been selected from hundreds of other organizations. Take a look at the reasons why we were chosen by visiting the Interior Health Top Employer page and clicking on the Top Employer tab.

Vincent Yew (above left) managed the IH application to this competition. He credits Bryan Redford (above right) and Sherri Lampman (right) as also being instrumental to receiving this award.

The full list of this year’s Top Employers for B.C. can be viewed at

Bringing the Patient Experience into Cardiac Care


arol Laberge has literally helped save thousands of lives.

But in three decades as a critical care nurse, half of them working in the cardiac angioplasty program at Fraser Health, there was always one nagging question. “I always wondered what the patients were thinking about as they were going through the experience,” says Carol, now Interior Health’s Director of Cardiac Services. “On one hand we told patients they could potentially die if they didn’t have the procedure done, and then a few short days later, we would tell them they’re okay and send them home.” “The health-care system has always really been a ‘provider-centred system.’ What would it be like if it were more patient-centred?” wondered Carol. “How do we get inside a person’s head to really understand how patients make meaning of their experiences? How might that change the care we provide?” She got the chance to investigate the answers to some of those questions when she enrolled in the applied doctorate program in Human and Organization Development at the Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. The result? A PhD dissertation entitled The Lived Experience of a

Heart Attack: Individual Accounts of Primary Coronary Intervention Survivors. The thesis looked at what sense and meaning rural residents make of their experience of having a heart attack and receiving an angioplasty procedure.

Carol Laberge spent 15 years in cath labs like the one at KGH, wondering how the patients' experience might inform the kind of care we provide and the way we provide it.

The findings won’t surprise anyone from a rural area who has received health care in an urban setting and then returned home. There are the consequences of weather and geography in remote locations. And then there are the post-procedure consequences. Feelings of operating in a fog. Disbelief. Reconciliation with one’s mortality. A sense of not knowing, or of not being given enough information to understand what to do next.

In the course of the research, Carol asked study subjects to write poetic compositions to describe the emotions they felt. What she received was heart-wrenching.

Damaged animals in a cage, Illness infects my heart. Two companions, life and death, walk together. Expose my body, expose my heart, but don’t expose my soul, I’m not dead yet. Now Carol and her colleagues are beginning to apply the learnings from her thesis in the development of the Interior Health Cardiac Program.

The necessity of medical evacuations of patients like this one illustrate the geographical challenges rural and remote patients face.

A more robust transport system has been set up to ensure all patients receive access to the care they need. But much of the work has focused on how to help rural patients deal with the aftermath of a cardiac incident. The KGH-based cardiac program has established a 1-800 number for patients to get follow-up support. They’re working at improving communications with referring physicians and other service providers. And they wrote their own cardiac education booklet to complement the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Recovery Road book for patients having undergone cardiac surgery, now taking place at Kelowna General Hospital. “My idea is I want patients to have a toolkit that they can take home with them that will help address the real needs they have and the experience they are going through,” says Carol. There is a lot more work to be done, but by bringing patient stories to life, Carol and the future researchers who will build on her work are moving the health-care system to a place where patients are the true centre of care.

Print your T4 from i-Site. Protect your privacy; print at home. Questions? Contact the Payroll Department.


Doctor, Nurse ‘Blessing’ to Patient


hen Evan Jensen walked into the Royal Inland Hospital Emergency Department, he was dazed and his speech was garbled.

He had shown signs of a stroke and his wife, Kristina Schwende, called the nearest hospital, which was Ashcroft, and described Evan’s symptoms. She was advised to take him directly to Kamloops. Staff were waiting for him when he arrived and he was seen almost immediately. “I was not expecting a great experience,” admitted Kristina, noting the couple had just moved from the Lower Mainland to the Walhachin area, about 45 minutes west of Kamloops. “But it couldn’t have been better.” A “fantastic” ER nurse took charge of Evan’s care after admission. “She was so confident and intelligent, yet she had this great sense of humour,” said Kristina. “She answered all our questions and put us at ease.” “I really wish I had got that nurse’s name,” added Evan. “She was fabulous. I’ve been in the hospital a number of times in my life and she was far and above the best nurse I’ve ever had.” His experiences with medical professionals began in 1986 when he suffered a severe head trauma during a hockey game that left him in a coma. A few months later, an aneurysm developed and brain surgery followed. The incident last summer, diagnosed as a transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke), is believed to have resulted from the original injury site. With the help of RIH Health Service Director, Kris Kristjanson, @IH was able to discover the nurse handling Evan’s care that day was RN Diana Hauser.

Walhachin couple Kristina Schwende, left, and Evan Jensen meet Royal Inland ER nurse Diana Hauser to say thanks for her excellent care when Evan suffered a stroke in August 2012.

Evan and Kristina were able to meet Diana again in the middle of January during her regular shift in the ER. They were all smiles as they connected briefly and were able to thank her for her excellent care. Diana told Evan she was happy to see him looking so well. She said her approach in the ER last August is what nurses do because they believe strongly in patient-centred care. Dr. Russ Mosewich was the neurologist on call which, in the words of Kristina and Evan, was great luck for them. “I have never in my entire life seen a doctor, especially a specialist, who was more willing to help his patient than Dr. Mosewich,” said Kristina. “He showed a genuine interest in my welfare,” said Evan. “I was also able to get in for a follow-up visit and it was pretty helpful to get a debriefing of what happened that day.” Kristina is now a member of Patient Voices Network. She said she wants to give back where she can to the health-care system. Today, the couple remain loyal fans of the system and particularly the ER nurse and neurologist who gave them great care when they needed it most. “We are both so grateful to Diana and Dr. Mosewich. They are a blessing to their patients and professions.”



Situated on the edge of Lake Windermere, in the valley between the Rocky and Purcell Mountain ranges, Invermere is the economic hub of the Columbia Valley and boasts a healthy tourism industry. With Fairmont and Radium hot springs nearby, Invermere offers spectacular mountain scenery and outdoor activity.

At a glance Population: Approx. 3,000 Health Services: Invermere District Hospital and Invermere Health Centre. There are also community and residential programs and services. Economy: Mining, agriculture and lumber, tourism, real estate.

Recreation and culture

Year-round recreational opportunities include skiing, snowmobiling, whitewater rafting, and golf. Also a birdwatcher’s paradise, Invermere celebrates the return of over 250 species of birds with its annual Wings Over the Rockies Festival each May.

In our own words...

"The secret to making a house a home is to surround yourself with things that make you happy! I am fortunate to work and have my home in the Columbia Valley, surrounded by all its mountains and beauty.� - Shelan Verge, Housekeeper, Invermere & District Hospital

Mt. MacKenzie - Revelstoke Submitted by: Tracey Walderr

Kalamalka Lake - Vernon Submitted by: Aaron Toma

Deadman Falls - Kamloops Submitted by: Janice Laplante

Kootenay Pass Summit – Creston Submitted by: Vicki Staples

Where We Live & Work ... A Spotlight on Our Communities Our employees regularly share photos of the spectacular scenery that surrounds them wherever they are in the IH region. Majestic mountain ranges, pristine pine-fringed lakes, blossom-filled orchards, abundant vineyards, and thick forests alive with wildlife are just some of the beautiful things that make up these places we call home. Covering over 215,000 square kilometres, Interior Health is diverse in nature and composed of vibrant urban centres and unique rural communities. This @IH feature shines a spotlight on many of these places ‌ and perhaps will entice you to add them to your travel wish list. This month we feature photos near: Revelstoke, Vernon, Kamloops, and Creston.

Submit your photos of the beautiful places that make up IH:

snapshots from the region ...

read y French Nurse Am blic h u lt P a s e p H o c e Kamlo d Publi n th a t ) a ft t e n (l e v y McLean y Week e Mom Kelle e during a Literac im a J to little it. Health un

Erica Wang, Clinical Ph armacy SpecialistCardiology, recently pa rticipated in a video shoot at KGH about the benefits of electronic health record s. A “near miss� story submitted to the Patient Voices Network resulted in Ca nada Health Infoway producing a video fea turing the patient.

Team members Shane Dyck and Gabriella Munegatto, from RIH Food Services, help prepare more than 1,200 meals per day! Food Services accommodates up to 45 diet types and nine textures including diabetic, renal, and gluten-free diets, as well as allergies, and often a combination of any of these.

Kootenay Boun dary Perinata l educator A Mckenzie (m ndrea iddle) recent ly orchestrat Code Pink – pe ed a diatric emerge the Kootenay ncy – simulat ion at Lake Hospita l ED. From le Tina DeJong, ft, RN Dr. Rahul Kh osla, and Mat RN Sandra Fu ernity lle Code Pink sim rton hone their skills duri ng this ulation.

al Rural Educator l (right) and ED Clinic KLH ED RN Diane Rie ng at a recent ini some valuable tra ed eiv rec rt rka Bu e Ev new und protocols for the education session aro spital in Nelson. Ho ke La y na ote Ko m the decontamination roo

Anna Toon (left) and Nancy Comeau, nurses from Penticton, are heading off to Rwanda and Tanzania in early February. They will take about 60 pairs of donated scrubs and other supplies with them for health-care workers that don’t have uniforms or protective clothing.

Engagement Makes Me Smile!

Thank you for sharing! Watch for the Gallup poster contest in next month’s issue.

February 2013 - Interior Health  
February 2013 - Interior Health  

Edition 129