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Virtual memory trees offer a place to mourn loss of loved ones

This year, Interlake-Eastern RHA’s palliative care program is providing a number of ways to honour people who have passed away.

To submit a virtual memory tree submission, people can visit

Messages submitted will be posted on the virtual memory tree webpage. 

Lifelong friends launch nursing careers in Ashern

A pair of lifelong friends has already marked many milestones over the years and they’ve just embarked on a new adventure together — a career in nursing.

Kaylee Smith and Taylor Buors, who grew up together in St. Laurent, both completed their first day as full-time nurses at Ashern Hospital on Sept. 12. Although they’ve ended up on the same career path, they took different routes to arrive at their destination.

Smith, a registered nurse, graduated in October from the bachelor of nursing program at the University of Manitoba. But her journey started even earlier with summer employment as a health-care aide at Stonewall Hospital.

“Here I was able to hone some of my clinical and professional skills,” she said. “I also met some of the most helpful and kind health-care professionals who took the time to teach me how to care for patients at the bedside.”

Then for her internship, Smith gained experience in primary care throughout the region.

“In this position, I was able to work within my home community of St. Laurent where I got to better understand the challenges in delivery of primary care to an underserved community and how the health-care team works so hard to provide the best care possible, including prioritizing the French language program,” she said.

“I also had the privilege of experiencing the leadership side of primary care. It gave me an appreciation of how hard our leadership teams work to serve our communities in the best possible way.”

Smith expressed gratitude for these foundational work experiences, as well as for resources that helped along the way, such as the Home for the Summer program offered by Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority.

“I also had the opportunity to work as a health-care aide full-time for several summers through generous funding from the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) in collaboration with Indigenous Human Resources at IERHA. The Grow Your Own Bursary program was essential for funding my education but also in ensuring that I would work within my communities and give back some day,” she said.

“These resources were so impactful throughout my education in preparing me for my career every step of the way. I was able to gain valuable clinical and leadership experiences as a student through the various positions, and the funding allowed me to worry less about tuition and more about focusing on my courses and eventually giving back to my communities.”

Looking back, Smith always knew she wanted to work in health care but was particularly drawn to nursing.

“Nursing is very hands-on and you get to be personable with patients and clients,” she said.

“There is also so much opportunity for growth, whether that be moving into leadership or there is always an opportunity to continue learning as you move into different fields of nursing.”

At the same time, she is also grateful for the chance to work in the Interlake.

“As a new nurse, I wanted the feeling of working close to home while still gaining a wide variety of clinical experiences. Here at Ashern, I get the opportunity to work closely with a large Indigenous population and serve the surrounding communities, including my own,” said Smith, who now lives in Eriksdale.

“I feel proud to be a part of the growing number of Indigenous health-care professionals within our region and to feel supported.”

Similar to Smith, Buors always knew she wanted to pursue a career that would allow her to make a positive impact on other people’s lives.

“Nursing is a profession where you are able to do that every day — this is what initially drew me to the career. I enjoy nursing because you get to meet people from all walks of life and are able to be there and help them during a time of need,” said Buors, who graduated in June from the University College of the North in Selkirk.

“In addition, I like that it is very hands-on and that every day brings a new challenge. I like that there is so much opportunity for continuous learning and growth within the profession.”

Ashern Hospital is already familiar ground for Buors, who completed a three-month senior practicum placement there, with the majority of her shifts in the emergency room.

“This is integral to me as a new nurse because I am able to continue to enhance my clinical knowledge, critical thinking skills and gain more hands-on experience, all while being in a rural hospital close to home. Working at Ashern Hospital gives me the opportunity to provide health care to a large Indigenous population and many surrounding communities within the Interlake-Eastern region, including my own,” said Buors, who continues to reside in St. Laurent.

“It felt really good to obtain full-time permanent employment within the IERHA as a new grad nurse. I am proud to work at a hospital that serves so many communities within the Interlake-Eastern region.”

In addition, Buors expressed gratitude for the help she received from the Manitoba Métis Federation throughout her post-secondary education.

“The MMF partnered with the University College of the North to deliver the nursing program in Selkirk. They funded myself and 13 other Métis students throughout the entirety of the program. This resource meant a lot to me and was crucial during my education, as it allowed me to focus solely on my studies and excel within the program,” she said.

“I strongly encourage others to utilize available programs and funding that is offered to post-secondary students pursuing a career in health care. All of the support that is out there truly helps in being successful throughout your program and chosen career path.”

Adding to the excitement of embarking on her new career, Buors is energized by the opportunity to work with her long-time friend.

“It feels great to work in the same hospital as Kaylee, especially since we grew up together. I feel proud to work alongside her since we share similar values to provide holistic, ethical and compassionate care to our patients,” she said.

“It is also nice to have someone that is new to the profession that I can go to for support, especially with all the challenges working in health care brings.”

Similarly, Smith shared her excitement about starting her nursing career alongside Buors.

“It feels amazing that even though we took different paths after high school, we still ended up in the same career — let alone at the same facility,” she said.

“I’m glad I have a friend, a colleague and a carpool buddy to share these new experiences with as we begin our careers.”

Opportunities for nursing education in the Interlake

Tanya Cheetham, chief nursing officer and regional lead for acute care and public health for Interlake-Eastern RHA, draws attention to opportunities in the Interlake to obtain nursing education close to home.

The recent Assiniboine Community College course in Arborg, held in conjunction with Fieldstone Ventures and IERHA, brought 25 nursing students to the region.

“They were able to complete their senior practicums — and for those who reside in the region, they were able to obtain positions in their communities, whether it was acute care, home care, long-term care or dialysis,” Cheetham said.

“To date, IERHA has hired 16 students from the Arborg program. We have also hired two licensed practical nurses students from the University College of the North program and six registered nurses from either University of Manitoba or Red River College.”

A recent communication from the University of Manitoba suggests that 86 per cent of students obtain employment where they have completed their senior practicums, she added.

“Evidence indicates that people never know something as thoroughly as when they have to coach or teach others; therefore, having students in the work environment strengthens the knowledge and professionalism of the existing workforce. Coaching and mentoring junior staff and students is a professional expectation of all nurses by their regulatory bodies. We thank the nurses and care teams that welcomed students and supported them in their learning journey,” Cheetham said.

“We welcome nursing students to the IERHA and will provide safe environments that foster learning and growth. Once the students complete their practicums, we want them to begin their nursing careers in the IERHA.”

To learn more about education opportunities in health care, visit www.ierha.ca/careers.

Out of province surgical options

If you are currently waiting for surgery, you may be eligible for treatment outside of Manitoba.  The province has agreements in place with trusted health care providers for certain services. If you are willing to travel, you may be able to access the care you need sooner. To find out more, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/dsrecovery/options.html and then fill out the e-form or email patientnav@gov.mb.ca.

Time to book your flu shot!

Mark your calendars! It’s once again time to book your flu shot.

Public health will host more than 70 flu clinics in 42 different communities across the region this year. This year’s seasonal influenza campaign will start on Oct. 31 and continue through to Dec. 3.

Along with seasonal influenza, people who are eligible for their pneumococcal 23 vaccine can also schedule appointments through the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-844-626-8222 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. You can also book online by visiting Home – #ProtectMB

You can find the flu clinic schedule at Flu Shots (ierha.ca)  

And, yes, you can get your COVID-19 shot at a flu clinic this year if you’re eligible.

COVID-19 vaccines will be available for people aged six months and up at flu clinics. Bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccines will be available to all adults. Bivalent means this vaccine has been developed to provide protection against two strains of COVID-19: the original strain of the virus and the omicron variant. You must have completed your primary vaccination series before receiving the bivalent booster vaccine.

Please note:

  • Limited. Appointments are welcome and encouraged.
  • You must wear a non-medical face mask to your appointment.
  • Please practise good hand-washing and social distancing.
  • Do not come to your appointment if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
  • Please come right at your appointment time to avoid congestion.
  • Bring your Manitoba Health Card and wear a short-sleeved shirt.

For more information on this year’s flu clinics, visit our Flu Shots (ierha.ca)

Interlake-Eastern RHA is pleased to present the 2021-2022 Annual Report.
      

September 30 has been designated the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a federal statutory holiday in recognition of the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools. The history of this day builds upon the important work of the Orange Shirt Society and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. It is a day to witness, recognize and honour Indigenous victims and survivors of the residential school legacy and inform further action in the spirit of reconciliation.
Across Manitoba we offer health care services on the original lands of First Nations, Inuit and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. We dedicate ourselves to collaborate in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in the spirit of reconciliation and to the creation of health care environments that are safe, accessible and equitable for the populations we serve.
      

Do you know someone interested in an exciting career in health care? If so, they may want to check out the Selkirk Community Health Office’s Home Care Job Fair on Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  to learn more about a career in home care.

“Home care is about helping patients with the supports they need to stay in their homes safely as they age,’’ says Tricia Tyerman, clinical team manager for Selkirk home care. “The Home Care Job Fair offers an opportunity for interested people to learn more about home care and receive help applying for positions within the program.”

Home care services are provided by the regional health authorities in Manitoba to those who require health services and assistance with daily living. Home care will provide an initial review and assessment of patients’ individual needs to determine what services are needed. Resource co-ordinators help co-ordinate that service with clients and their families.

Home care resource co-ordinators share why they enjoy their jobs in home care.

“I like how the small actions we make have a big impact on clients. For example, us going once or twice a day could be the difference between them staying in their family home and having to move,” says Lauren Airey, home care resource co-ordinator.

Lorraine Lowen, another resource co-ordinator, says her reasons are very similar for why she enjoys working in home care.

“Working in home care is important to me because I enjoy working with people, and it gives me a sense of purpose to be able to help them stay in their home as long as possible.”

Interlake-Eastern RHA is hiring licensed practical nurses, health-care aides and uncertified health-care aides into the home care program.

To apply for positions, visit www.ierha.ca/careers and click “View/Apply for position.” On the job postings page, select “Community Care” under “Job Postings” to view home care positions.

For more information, contact Human Resources at hr@ierha.ca or Kerri Simcoe, human resources generalist, at ksimcoe@ierha.ca or 204-485-5436. More information is also available online at www.ierha.ca.

Please note, phone services back in service at East Gate Lodge Personal Care Home and the adjacent Stony Plains Terrace. Bell MTS identified and fixe the issue with one of their cables.

The medical officer of health has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at Red River Place and Gimli Betel over. The facilities received a thorough cleaning and are accepting visitors.

The medical officer of health has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at Tudor House Personal Care home in Selkirk and Ashern Personal Care Home. Outbreak protocols are in place and visitation is restricted.

An unplanned staff vacancy in the diagnostics department has resulted in the temporary suspension of diagnostic services in Eriksdale’s E.M. Crowe Memorial Hospital until Sept. 26.

A physician is available in Interlake-Eastern RHA to take call in Eriksdale’s emergency department but without access to diagnostic services, emergency department services cannot be provided during this period.

Ambulances will be redirected to the nearest or most appropriate emergency department. To view emergency department schedules, please visit: https://www.ierha.ca/emergency-department-schedules/

Inpatient admission to the hospital and delivery of primary care services in Eriksdale are unaffected. People are being directed to Ashern or Arborg for diagnostic care during this period of temporary service suspension.

The RHA is working closely with Shared Health Diagnostics to address the staffing shortage that is affecting service delivery so emergency department services can be resumed in Eriksdale. Discussions with the local municipality and First Nation health directors regarding access to health care services are ongoing.

Shared Health Diagnostics has invested in establishing training opportunities in northern and rural Manitoba to encourage employment of local residents. Anyone interested in learning more about medical laboratory assistant training opportunities with Herzing College or Robertson School of Health can contact info@ierha.ca or visit https://www.ierha.ca/careers/educational-opportunities.

The COVID-19 outbreak on the medicine unit at Selkirk Regional Health Centre was declared over by the medical officer of health on Saturday, September 10, 2022.

The COVID-19 outbreak on the Appleyard unit at Rosewood Lodge in Stonewall has also been declared over by the medical officer of health as of Monday, September 12, 2022.

The units have undergone thorough cleaning and regular visitation can resume.

Effective immediately emergency department services at Pine Falls Health Complex are temporarily suspended.

Individuals seeking emergency care are directed to call 9-1-1 or their local 10-digit emergency number in the event of a medical emergency.

On July 18, Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority partnered with Shared Health Emergency Response Services to implement an innovative model that saw paramedics join the care team in the Pine Falls Health Complex emergency room to maintain care delivery. This model was introduced with the assumption that the regional health authority would be able to recruit nursing staff and schedule clinicians who are able to requisition diagnostics and prescribe. Despite best efforts, significant nursing vacancies still exist and the regional health authority has experienced recent physician departures. Combined, these vacancies undermine the effectiveness of the model and put the safety of patients at risk.

“Interlake-Eastern RHA will continue to pursue this model of care in the region. The region extends its thanks to the paramedics who volunteered to participate and to Shared Health Emergency Response Services who helped us successfully establish and maintain a working emergency department and responsive care team,” says Interlake-Eastern RHA CEO, Marion Ellis.

“The RHA acknowledges the gratitude that communities have expressed for the ongoing efforts of nurses, paramedics, physicians and other staff to maintain access to care at the emergency department in Pine Falls and across the region during these challenging times.”

Care for inpatients at Pine Falls hospital is unchanged and the hospital will continue to admit patients in need of care. Dialysis and laboratory services remain available according to their usual schedule. Ambulances will be redirected to the nearest or most appropriate emergency department.

Ellis also points out that nursing staff in Pine Falls Health Complex continue to develop emergency department skills with education and training as a means of preparing for the resumption of emergency department service.

“Interlake-Eastern RHA is maintaining efforts to recruit nursing staff to work in the facility. We are committed to resuming emergency department care in Pine Falls Health Complex,” says Ellis.

Until emergency department services can be resumed, hours of access at Pine Falls Health Complex’s primary care clinic will be extended to evenings and weekends. Visit www.ierha.ca and click “Find Us” and “Clinics” for clinic hours.

Residents should continue to watch IERHA’s emergency department schedules accessible at www.ierha.ca for updates.

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