Sechelt Hospital

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Vancouver Coastal Health director of operations for the Sunshine Coast, Lauren Tindall.Vancouver Coastal Health director of operations for the Sunshine Coast, Lauren Tindall. Photo by Cathie Roy.

At the head of the newly renamed Sechelt Hospital is a dynamic career nurse who manages to keep many health-care balls in the air at once. Not only does Lauren Tindall oversee the hospital, but in her capacity as Vancouver Coastal Health director of operations for the Sunshine Coast she also oversees all other health services in our area.

Lauren is a transplanted Australian who visited Vancouver in 1993 as a backpacking student. One look over the city and she knew she’d be back.

“’I’m going to live here one day,’ I said.”

And when the chance came at a recruiting session in Sydney in her home country 15 years later she jumped at the chance. It was a time when the entire world was in flux.

“I was on the first QANTAS flight out of Sydney to North America after 9/11,” she recalled.

After several years of intensive care, emergency and trauma room nursing both in Australia and Canada she was looking for a change. Before arriving in Vancouver a brief stint in education convinced her the academic route wasn’t the answer. Management was the path of choice and she completed her masters of health administration.

“Ironically Gerry Latham, the former head of this hospital, was my first manager. I was very lucky she took a chance on me,” Lauren said.

She considers herself fortunate to work with a skilled staff, a hospital foundation (she calls it the foundation of fabulousness) and a health care auxiliary that raises more money per capita than anywhere else in B.C.

Lauren is quick to outline what makes Sechelt Hospital second to none for its size.

Of immense importance is the public connection to the facility.

People are quick to tell you what works and what doesn’t with health care on the Coast, Lauren said. Information she is grateful to get and where feasible act upon.

“While it’s never possible to fulfill every wish we have a great hospital here,” she reflected.

Not least in importance is the type and quality of the equipment in the hospital. She outlined some of the latest changes.

The CT scanner, the public pushed hard to get several years ago reached the end of its useful life. On April 10 a replacement made possible by the foundation, VCH and the auxiliary was installed.

The auxiliary has provided a new ultra-sound. On the horizon is new echocardiogram software; training is taking place now for a person to run the new procedure. Also the Rotary clubs on the Coast provided a digital X-ray machine.

But, Lauren said, ultimately it’s the 700 team members that make the difference to the delivery of health care.

“They’re just an amazing group of people. All of the health care personnel on the Coast. We look after people from the time they’re born until they leave. Everyone really does want to achieve the best for all,” Lauren said.

On the horizon is a clinical and systems transformation. The new computer program will allow 33 sites within VCH, PHC and PHSA to become linked. It’s a massive change that will see the hospital become virtually paperless.

Almost every facet of patient care will be computerized — from the doctor’s initial order to the medications and procedures ordered. Records will be transferred electronically eliminating delays in follow-up care.

Sechelt will be the first site to become live on the new system. Lauren anticipates the change to be rolled out in 2016.

“While it’s never possible to fulfill every, wish we have a great hospital here.”

Other requisites for the hospital include completion of the expansion and upgrading of equipment as required. Lauren is keenly aware of the role money plays in all the plans.

As a member of the community Lauren considers it her duty to be a good financial steward and get the most possible for limited tax dollars.

“Ultimately it’s the people I work with and the people we work for in the community that makes this a wonderful place to be,” Lauren said.

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