Campbell River nurse and health administrator Pauline Bernard received a Health Care Hero Award from the 2019 BC Health Care Awards. Her crowning acheivement was the creation of the Sunshine Wellness Centre. Island Health photo

Campbell River nurse administrator named Health Care Hero

Pauline Bernard receives a 2019 BC Health Care Award

Pauline Bernard has received the Health Care Hero Award at the 2019 BC Health Care Awards.

As a frontline nurse, nurse clinician, diabetes educator, administrator and leader in the Campbell River and Comox Valley region, Bernard has used her collaboration and leadership skills, and determination to drive concrete and tangible improvements to her community’s health care services, an Island Health press release says.

Her crowning achievement just may be the Sunshine Wellness Centre. For years, Bernard observed people in her community struggling to manage chronic illness, in part because related services were disjointed and offered at different locations.

“Pauline’s innovation, vision and commitment has directly resulted in improved care for people living in the communities she has served so proudly,” says Dermot Kelly, Island Health Executive Director for the Comox Valley, Strathcona and North Island region. “I am so very proud and honoured to know Pauline and she and her work is to be celebrated at the highest level.”

The BC Health Care Awards celebrate excellence and innovation by recognizing teams and individuals whose achievements and actions inspire others. An independent panel of 19 judges made up of leaders from BC’s business, academic and health care communities selected the winners from more than 100 submissions.

Bernard’s vision was to create a chronic disease management community with a range of specialized services co-located at one integrated clinic. When space became available at the Campbell River Hospital, she saw opportunity. She met with representatives from all the chronic disease management services and sold them on the benefits of moving to a new, integrated, one-stop chronic disease management unit.

She presented to a variety of groups to raise money for the renovations, secured funding from the Campbell River Hospital Auxiliary and then brought her proposal to hospital leadership. Within a few months, the Sunshine Wellness Centre was a reality.

For her commitment to breaking down silos in the name of improved treatment for chronic disease patients, Bernard has been named this year’s Health Care Hero for Island Health.

The award was one of two 2019 BC Health Care Awards that Island Health received.

The Harbour Community Health and Wellness Centre earned a Gold Apple Award for Collaborative Solutions (shared with: BC Emergency Health Services, Island Health, SOLID Outreach and Lookout Housing/Health Society)

The overdose emergency has created a major strain on both public health and emergency response resources, and is beyond the capacity or scope for one agency or organization to effectively respond on its own. In response, Island Health joined with BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), SOLID Outreach, and Lookout Housing and Health Society to develop an innovative model for supervised consumption service for the Greater Victoria area that integrates primary care, mental health substance use services, and supervised consumption services all under one roof.

The Harbour Community Health and Wellness Centre is the first supervised consumption service within Island Health, and the first in Canada to fully integrate paramedics as part of a cohesive care team that includes harm reduction workers, nurses, persons with lived experience, and social program officers.

“I am so proud of these outstanding award recipients and all of the partners involved,” says Kathy MacNeil, Island Health President and CEO. “Their talent, drive to find solutions, and passion for the people we serve helps us to continually raise the bar in pursuit of health care excellence. Congratulations to Pauline and to everyone involved in the Harbour Supervised Consumption Service project for this well deserved recognition.”

“This well-deserved award recognizing the Harbour Community Health and Wellness Centre is about more than preventing overdoses; it demonstrates the collaborative work between agencies is making a difference to people in the community,” says Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer. “The dedicated staff and peers working there play a vital role in creating real relationships, providing life saving harm reduction services and supporting people to make changes when they are ready.”

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