Emergency departments (ED) and intensive care units (ICU) are specialized areas of a hospital requiring different skills and knowledge. Meet Maggie, a registered nurse who works in the ICU at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and the ED at Richmond Hospital (RH).
“I enjoy being at work and working alongside my colleagues who all share the same goal," she says. “We are all here to serve our community and provide the best care for those in need."
Maggie has worked in the ED in Richmond for close to 10 years and expanded to the ICU last July. “The strive for knowledge and opportunity to provide even more compassionate and competent nursing care was my motivation to make the move."
Starting off in a new unit with new team members can sometimes be intimidating. Maggie recalls an exciting moment when an ICU physician knew her by name and offered her pizza. “I'd only been working there a few months, and he knew who I was even though I wasn't wearing my name tag in the COVID-19 unit. In that moment, I knew I was part of the team," she says.
A supportive work environment is a key factor to ensuring our staff's success and morale. The staff welcomed Maggie's questions and encouraged her to voice her thoughts and opinions. “I feel extremely supported at Vancouver Coastal Health," says Maggie. “Every day my colleagues are there to offer their help. It doesn't matter if they know me or haven't seen me before."
Working in an ICU during a pandemic can be a bit daunting, but this is where Maggie really saw the VCH values (we care for everyone, we are always learning, we strive for better results) shine through. “In our department, we value family-centered care and involve the family as much as possible," she says. However, VCH had to limit visitors to protect staff and patients during the health crisis. But with the help of the team, social worker and a simple phone call from the primary care nurse, family members still felt included in the care planning.
“VGH is a teaching hospital, so here we strive for knowledge. We are all teaching and learning together, especially in our unit where our intensivists are teaching their team of residents. I take opportunities to listen in and learn from the best," says Maggie. “I take pride in working with one of the province's top leading ICU teams at VGH during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are learning many things about the disease, and I take comfort in knowing our team strives for better patient outcomes and results."
During the pandemic, the majority of stores in downtown Vancouver boarded up their storefront. Maggie read a VCH News Story about a fellow colleague, Izzy, a Respiratory Therapist (RT) at VGH who channeled her creative side to paint a mural inspired by the work of RTs during the pandemic. Maggie was able to get the contact for the storefront owner, Kimprints, and was also given the opportunity to step out of her comfort zone and paint her own mural.