Sarah Carriere - Change Specialist and Peer Nurse Immunizer

Written by Evan Duxbury

How did you end up where you are now?

I was born in New Zealand and came to Vancouver 7 years ago. I wound up in the ICU and spent 6 years working there after taking the critical care program at BCIT.  My mind was always questioning why we do things the way we do and how we could do things better, so I started wondering about what nurses do with their questions? Who do we take them to?

My Leader in the ICU seemed to sense my curiosity and recommended the Quality Academy, [a program offered by the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council] which allowed me to get a taste of quality improvement projects: implementing and testing changes I think will make an impact.

Which project did you work on?

I investigated the “targeted temperature management protocol” which recommends lowering a patient’s body temperature within 4 hours after cardiac arrest to preserve brain function. I thought we could do better, so I mapped out a patient’s journey and the barriers they encounter. Through the Quality Academy, I developed a new protocol to cut that time down.

Do front line nurses often go into Quality Improvement?

I don’t think so. There’s a gap between clinical and administrative positions that makes it difficult to get experience in a field like this. When I applied for a Change Specialist position I knew I didn’t have the experience they wanted to see, but PHC created a 6 month mentorship pilot position to help me make the jump. If it works out, this could be a position that helps future clinicians in my position transition to quality improvement. I’m not aware of a similar position existing anywhere else in BC.

In my new role, I work on real time demand capacity, part of the patient flow capacity project. I love that I’m trusted and supported enough to experiment where failure is a real possibility.

What’s different about PHC?

PHC is a very supportive place to work. I feel like I’ve been given the tools I need, and that it’s ok to fail as long as I’m learning and growing. I know this process improvement research is something I want to do, so I’ve changed my schedule and searched for funding. But Providence has matched me every step of the way. As a result, I’m constantly asking myself what else I can do to help this organization.

What motivated you to become a Peer Nurse Immunizer as part of the flu campaign?

I love educating people about medicine and health, so for me it was a no-brainer. The issue of the flu shot, and vaccinations in general, is a really hot topic so I’m looking forward to being able to give people access to good information.

I think it’s critical we do everything we can to keep the people we serve healthy. I’m glad to be able to contribute.

If you could share one piece of flu advice with the public, what would it be?

If you’re unwell, don’t come to work!

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