Karen Ann Boodle — Quality Improvement & Information Management

How did you get to where you are now?
I was born in Powell River and completed my nursing training at Malaspina College. A friend doing a preceptorship at SPH said that the nuns prayed every morning and I loved the idea of beginning work with someone praying over our day. I started at SPH in 2000 as a ward nurse, first in the geriatrics program then the medicine unit. I became the CNL for “the HUB” which was an 8 bed unit that focused on pulling patients out of emergency each morning as a way of improving access and flow. As part of that role I began doing placement for all the patients in the medical program which eventually evolved into my becoming the CNL for patient flow and access. Through my work on a project called TeamCARE, I joined the Quality Improvement team and became a permanent member at the start of 2014. I’ve since gone through the Quality Academy and some fantastic courses put on by the Institution for Health Care Improvement focusing on QI methodologies and improving patient flow and quality in health care.

What’s your role at PHC?
I’m a quality improvement specialist, currently working on a real time demand capacity project to support our team’s ability to facilitate discharges and manage patient flow. We’re standardizing TeamCARE Rounds and the daily bed meetings to help better match patients with the resources they need. Obviously, our sickest patients shouldn’t be in the ED hallways, particularly if there’s a patient elsewhere who doesn’t need an acute bed.

I’m also working on a multifaceted project called Ideal Transitions Home which supports patients being discharged from the medicine department. One piece of this project came from the results of patient surveys which indicated that they didn’t feel adequately prepared to leave the unit. The Medicine Program’s interdisciplinary team created an initial set of educational documents for patients returning home or going to a facility. The feedback we’ve received from patients has transformed this document and has led to a more personalized information package based on the needs of the individual.

How have you found the transition to an administrative setting?
Having a clinical background has made relating to the teams and speaking with all the different disciplines much easier. I certainly miss spending time with patients but I feel I’m supporting nurses to give better care, so in my mind I’m still working with patients, just one degree away. My role also provides opportunities to be involved with patient through advocacy groups which keeps that connection alive.

What’s the best part of your job?
The best part is working with so many different teams across the organization. I get to learn a lot from interprofessional rounds and the different aspects of patient care they deal with. I enjoy supporting the teams and as a result I’m very happy with where I am right now. 

If you could change one thing about your role, what would it be?
I wish the people I work with had more time dedicated to spend on these projects. While our staff are certainly interested and have great ideas for how to improve the quality of care we provide at PHC, they have to balance improvement work with other priorities. Given more time we would see the generation of creative solutions both at the frontline and system levels of our work.  

Had you ever heard of ThinkPHC as a front line nurse?
Not really, I think the structure of leadership in health care has historically kept front line staff a long way from high level decisions and oversight. However, it feels like PHC is on a path to decreasing that distance. Some of our leaders and executives are committed to spending time on the units which has helped them develop more of a connection to the frontline work.

Likewise, the practice improvement consultants from ThinkPHC are working more and more closely with the program areas to bring Quality Improvement and Change Initiatives into the units and give staff more of a voice and an understanding of why we do the things we do.

Is there anything people don’t know about your role that you wish they did?
Contrary to popular belief I don’t sit in my office hatching plots to disrupt the valuable work that is going on. As teams choose to develop and/or implement an innovative idea I am here to support the process. My success is measured only by the team’s success.