Safety award for Car­bon­ear nurse

Heather Clarke’s ded­i­ca­tion pays off with pres­ti­gious recog­ni­tion from East­ern Health

The Compass - - NEWS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

Car­ing, friendly and help­ful are just a few words that many people at­tribute to reg­is­tered nurses.

Heather Clarke, a reg­is­tered nurse at Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal, fits that de­scrip­tion.

Clarke be­gan her 26-year ca­reer at that same hospi­tal, and has worked in sev­eral dif­fer­ent de­part­ments dur­ing that time, in­clud­ing medicine, surgery, pe­di­atrics and oc­ca­sion­ally the in­ten­sive care unit (ICU). Her 11 years in the emer­gency depart­ment has led to her re­ceiv­ing a pres­ti­gious safety award from East­ern Health.

On June 11, Clarke and 55 other nom­i­nees (in­di­vid­ual and group) were in­vited to at­tend the fourth an­nual East­ern Health’s CEO awards ban­quet. The win­ners were an­nounced as the awards were handed out, live.

That mo­ment be­fore her name was called, Clarke was very ner­vous.

A very mod­est woman with a friendly per­son­al­ity, Clarke doesn’t like any type of in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion. But, af­ter the win­ner was an­nounced, she walked up on the stage and ac­cepted the award gra­ciously.

“I was shocked,” she said dur­ing an in­ter­view with The Com­pass in her Car­bon­ear home June 16. “I was just sit­ting there when they an­nounced my name, and I just couldn’t be­lieve it.”

Al­though she doesn’t en­joy be­ing in the spot­light, Clarke said she be­lieves it’s im­por­tant to em­pha­size the achieve­ments of those she works with, as well as those within East­ern Health, and right­fully so. She ex­plained she is the first re­cip­i­ent of a CEO award from Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal.

Clarke earned a tro­phy and a cer­tifi­cate in the safety cat­e­gory, which is de­scribed be­low.

“(The nom­i­nee) shows an un­der­stand­ing for safety prac­tices, demon­strates a com­mit­ment to safety at all time through her work prac­tices and by par­tic­i­pat­ing in train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and ed­u­ca­tion ses­sions. Shows an un­der­stand­ing of safety prac­tices within a spe­cific workplace set­ting or on an or­ga­ni­za­tion-wide ba­sis; achieves vis­i­bil­ity re­gard­ing safety is­sues.”

These are qual­i­ties Clarke sees as im­por­tant in her pro­fes­sion, es­pe­cially since qual­ity care is a pri­or­ity.

Clarke has been a mem­ber of many com­mit­tees over her time at Car­bon­ear Hospi­tal, and her most re­cent en­deav­ours have added to a list of her de­serv­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics.

The LEAN com­mit­tee, a com­mit­tee that as­sists in mak­ing the emer­gency depart­ment more ef­fi­cient (see de­tail s h ere: http://www.east­ern­health.ca/We­bInWeb.aspx?d=2&id=1572&p=1032), is one Clarke is es­pe­cially proud of.

The com­mit­tee is still new, but Clarke and a co-worker en­gage in dis­cus­sion and plan on im­ple­ment­ing changes in the depart­ment soon.

Clarke is also the Car­bon­ear Hospi­tal rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Pub­lic Health Agency of Cana- da, where she col­lects data from pa­tients that ar­rive at the emer­gency depart­ment with an in­jury. It is vol­un­tary.

She is also the workplace rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the As­so­ci­a­tion of Reg­is­tered Nurses of New­found­land and Labrador.

The pre-ad­mis­sion and pain clinic team at Car­bon­ear hospi­tal was also nom­i­nated for an award — the team ex­cel­lence award. The Aria im­ple­men­ta­tion team with the cancer care pro­gram won that cat­e­gory.

Per­sonal care

Clarke be­lieves a very im­por­tant part of her job is the ded­i­ca­tion to pa­tients and their fam­i­lies.

“Emerge ev­ery­day is re­ward­ing,” she ex­plained. “See­ing that we’re help­ing people and we’re do­ing a good job is re­ward­ing.”

It has been 11 years since she be­gan work­ing in the depart­ment, but it is not a mo­not­o­nous job.

“It’s a very busy depart­ment,” Clarke said. “It can be frus­trat­ing at times, but we just try to do the best we can. It’s great when we see some of the good we can do.

When asked what was one event that stood out in her mind, she said there were many.

“A lot of cases I could even tell you what they were wear­ing when they came in,” she smiled.

Due to con­fi­den­tial­ity and pri­vacy rea­sons, she couldn’t pro­vide de­tails.

She is plan­ning on main­tain­ing her po­si­tion with the depart­ment, not­ing there is al­ways an in­jury or ill­ness com­ing in that she hasn’t seen in a long time.

“Ev­ery­day is a new day,” Clarke said. “And ev­ery­day is a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/The Com­pass

East­ern Health 2014 CEO’s award for safety went to Heather Clarke, a reg­is­tered nurse at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal.

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