“The best of care, close to home.” That’s the goal of health care professionals serving British Columbia’s rural northern region. It is also a motto that LaDonna Fehr holds close to her heart.
Growing as a full-time nurse, supervisor, and ultimately moving into an administrative role, LaDonna has helped the population of the North get the quality of care they deserve. She has overseen the implementation of vastly improved cancer care as well general nursing care in the North.
Improving health care delivery in rural areas is always a challenge, but LaDonna’s keen eye on health budgets, unparalleled ability to draw the most out of people and organizational balancing skills have gotten real results for both health practitioners and their patients. “She always seems to know how to provide the facilities, tools, education and services needed for the best care possible,” says Chief Nursing Officer Suzanne Johnston. “She builds positive environments for patients, but also for the staff who work there; she works on every detail to ensure a peaceful, positive space.”
“Since becoming the Regional Oncology Leader in 2005, LaDonna has proven herself to be a knowledgeable and caring nurse, with an acute sensitivity to the care needs of rural and remote areas,” says Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Ronald Chapman. “She has helped me see the best way to improve service to all northern areas and that is a skill she passes on to others on her team. For instance, when the region suffered a crisis that hindered pharmacy services to outlying areas, LaDonna developed an approach that helped us to regain and maintain pharmacy services for the region.”
LaDonna is proactive to ensure nurses have the resources to practice within the CRNBC standards of care. When recent guidelines showed improved patient outcomes for cardiac arrest patients who received defibrillation within three minutes, she secured an automated external defibrillator for a new facility. She implemented special training for nurses to use a new type of smart infusion pump. This change enhanced nurses’ skills and confidence while improving the safety of practice.
LaDonna helps people remain flexible. More importantly, her leadership keeps people engaged in their work and motivated to be lifelong learners. Her thoughtful approach for promoting and implementing nursing knowledge and research will bear dividends in the north for years to come. “She has been a driving force in developing the Nursing Model of Care Delivery that will be practiced at the Centre for the North,” says Education Resource Nurse Ava Hatcher. Data concerning patient outcomes, autonomy and empowerment and other matters was gathered and ultimately led to an innovative model of nurses rotating through clinical areas, spawning positive results in a number of areas—not least, patient outcomes. The Centre of the North will also be the first health facility in the region to integrate its pain and symptom management clinic.
LaDonna continues to inspire others and lead with integrity, bringing the best care possible to local communities.