Celebrating our nurses every week at Victoria Hospice

By Mischelle vanThiel
CEO & Executive Director

When I am in the community and people find out where I work, I always hear the same thing – praise and thanks for the quality of care we provide to patients and families when they need it the most. In this praise, there is one group that is always singled out – our nurses. I am intensely proud and humbled by the work done every day by such a dedicated and compassionate team of professionals. On behalf of everyone associated with this organization and those served by it, I would like to express our sincere thanks to every member of our nursing team for the heartfelt and skilful work you do every day.

Over the past 14 months, I have spent some time shadowing the staff and volunteers on the unit as they go about their daily tasks. This work brings back fond memories of when I used to follow my parents around the hospital wards when I was a kid. My mom was a nurse and my dad was a doctor, so I spent my childhood on wards and in research labs. Those were different days, when a curious and chatty kid could tag along, hop up on the beds and quiz patients on their symptoms, take their temperatures, pump the bulb on their blood pressure cuffs and listen to their hearts beat through the stethoscope. I was always so in awe of the impact the nurses made on every patient and family. The nurses always seemed to know just the right thing to say or do to help ease the distress and pain. Fluff a pillow, give a shot, offer a sip of water, lend an ear. Today, kids can’t tag along behind nurses at work, but some things don’t change. As I walk around our unit or talk to people in community, I am still in awe of the life changing and life sustaining difference excellent nursing care makes.

I know that your work can be hard, physically and emotionally. I watched my mother come home after 10 or 12 hour shifts and collapse exhausted into her bed, too tired to even kiss us goodnight. But despite the many challenges, after more than 30 years on the frontlines of healthcare, she still says there is no other job she would ever have enjoyed as much. I hope you feel the same way. I hope you know the difference you make. I hope you see the lives that you touch and the ripples you create.

This past Saturday I attended a wonderful community fundraising event called Anneswer to Cancer. The event is put on by Brett Hyslop and Steph Steiner in memory of Brett’s mother Anne, who died of cancer here at Victoria Hospice in 2009. Brett was so moved by the outstanding care his mother and his family received during their time with us, that he wanted to do something to thank us. So, he created an event that this year alone raised over $60,000 for Victoria Hospice ($180,000+ over the past 4 years combined). You should have seen it! Hundreds of kids playing their hearts out for us. Tens of thousands of dollars were raised from bake sales, lemonade stands, returned bottles, and kids going door-to-door, all to thank you for the amazing work you do. So when it gets hard, when you get fed up, when you start to wonder if it is all worth it, check out the Anneswer to Cancer pictures on our website. Look at all of those beautiful, shining young faces, read the posters they made, listen to Brett’s tribute to his mother, and know that you are valued, appreciated and admired.

To all of our staff, volunteers, Board members, patients, families, friends and supporters, please join me in taking this opportunity to formally celebrate our wonderful nurses. Happy National Nursing Week!

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Quality palliative and end-of-life care for all: Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for those facing life-limiting illness, death and bereavement through patient and family centred care, education, research and advocacy.