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Diary of a day: Nancy, Registered Nurse, Public Health


In celebration of Nursing Week, nurses from across Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) are taking us along for their shifts,giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the important work they do, alongside their interdisciplinary teams, to care for our patients, clients and residents.

Originally from the Kootenays, Nancy Skucas lives on the beautiful unceeded territory of the Squamish Nation with her family. Having been a Registered Nurse in a variety of settings including acute care, primary care, women's health, sexual health and travel medicine, Nancy now works in Public Health as a Nursing Support Services Coordinator. She uses her passion for her community to support children and youth with medical complexities to live in their homes and in their communities.

Nancy recently took us along for one of her shifts,documenting her day to give us a behind-the-scenes look at her role. Here's what she shared:

8:15 a.m.

After a stroll to drop my kids off at daycare, I hop into my vehicle and head to work. On a crisp sunny day, nothing beats the drive over the Mamquam River and the beautiful view of the Stawamus Chief and Howe Sound.

8:30 a.m. 

This is my work home. I share my office with a wonderful colleague Kate O'Connor, Communicable Disease Immunization Coordinator for Sea to Sky. She is our go-to-gal for anything related to communicable disease, immunization and COVID-19. I also check-in with our admin team —they keep our building running smooth, greet everyone with a smile and ensure all of our asks are answered. They are our backbone!

8:45 a.m.

Work starts with a Zoom check-in, something new since COVID-19, but is great because it allows all of our nurses to get updated for the day ahead.

9:00 a.m. 

A quick meet with the Squamish Nation Public Health Nurse, Liz Grant. I work with her frequently as some of the children on my caseload reside on reserve. We discuss a child who has diabetes and figure out a joint plan to meet with the family for some education.

9:30 a.m. 

I hop in my car take a trip up to a local school where I meet with the Physiotherapist for the school district to observe a child and apply for the At Home Program. I gather information and assess the child's abilities in four functional activities of daily living so I can start writing an application and submit to Ministry of Children and Family Development. If approved, the program will allow the family to have access to respite services that best suit their needs, or a range of medical benefits that would apply to the child.

11:00 a.m. 

Back at the office, it's time to start charting and catch up on emails. These range from requests for seizure training, diabetes teaching, care coordination for kids in remote communities as well general Public Health questions from my families I work with. Because we work with various populations, we have to be excellent communicators and critical thinkers. We are always problem solving and juggling multiple things at one time.

11:45 a.m.

As a busy mom of two, my lunch hour is my time to get some exercise. Our team meets up for a hike in the bluffs. A quick hike up some stairs we are rewarded with a beautiful view of the Howe Sound. It's a great time to chat about everything non-work related and really get to know my colleagues.

12:35 p.m.

Off to Pemberton. I'm training an Executive Assistant on how to check a blood glucose, administer insulin, follow the care plan and manage a low blood sugar for a child that has diabetes. This is what is considered a delegated practice; I train them and ensure they have sufficient knowledge to safely perform the task and intervene. This is part of the job I love – going into different communities, connecting with the staff who do a fantastic job at keeping these kids safe at school.

2:00 p.m.

A quick stop off at the Pemberton health unit where I check in with the Public Health Nurses who are following another child on my caseload. Leah Dube and Sarah Nuemeller, both Public Health Nurses are in the midst for prepping for the COVID-19 clinic tomorrow in Pemberton.

4:15 p.m.

Time to head back to Squamish. Usually I would join the Zoom afternoon check out. Most of the drive I spend reflecting on my practice, my day or prioritizing my work. Tonight, I'm more easily distracted by the views. Something about the lighting at this time of the evening makes everything seem so peaceful and calm.

I'm fortunate to work in the Sea to Sky corridor and, as cliché as it sounds, I truly work with an amazing team. From our manager Colleen Moberg and team leads Kristine Good and Jenn Bridge — we are so lucky to have such great support and leadership. There is nothing better than loving where you live and work and providing care to clients in your own community.

5:45 p.m.

Home. I take a quick breath, take a quick sip of my water, and gear up for the craziness that will ensue after my kids get home.

SOURCE: Diary of a day: Nancy, Registered Nurse, Public Health ( )
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