Nurses have to wear a lot of hats even at the best of times, but Valerie Munroe stands out for her number of titles and for her accomplishments as one of British Columbia’s hardest-working nurse administrators.
In addition to her role as Operations Director for Vancouver Coastal Health, Valerie is Co-Sponsor of the STOP HIV Project (a $22.6 million health initiative), a member of the Regional Prevention Council, Regional Palliative Care Steering Committee, Regional eCommunity Steering Committee and Regional Integrated Primary & Community Care Steering Committee, member of the Vancouver Palliative Care Consortium… and that doesn’t even touch her important contributions to labour relations and important research she’s involved with presently. Her tireless contributions in clinical, supervisor and leadership roles since 1975 have earned her true respect and admiration among her peers.
“She is extremely knowledgeable and an incredible resource about public health, home health and primary care services,” says VCH Director of Operations Janice Lochbaum. “She has co-sponsored, led, or co-led multiple initiatives, including regional implementation of the Canadian Community Health Nursing Standards of Practice, hiring eight Nurse Practitioners for Vancouver Community health services, and urban primary care redesign.
Val’s collaborative leadership style has helped make a positive impact for residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, who face greater health challenges than the general population. She led a COPD chronic disease management initiative that dramatically improved how physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners were able to provide care for this patient group. Her involvements with STOP HIV and ability to forge partnerships has led to early diagnosis and treatment of HIV and expansion of access for HIV care and treatment—and along with the rest of the STOP HIV Vancouver team, Valerie earned the regional Premier’s Award of Excellence for Innovation in 2012.
Valerie advocates strongly for optimal use of public resources while overseeing an annual budget of $40 million. “She finds creative ways to allocate resources to match service capacity with demand, while adhering to professional practice standards,” says Vancouver Community Health Services Operations Director Barbara Stackhouse. “She has promoted many successful community partnerships as well as collaborative practice models, such as introducing LPNs and NPs, leveraging resources to improve service capacity in the community.” Complementing that administrative focus, she has overseen implementation of several community electronic medical records programs such as PARIS and Intrahealth. These tools further help managers and clinicians plan, monitor and adjust health care service delivery. As well, Valerie initiated a steering committee to facilitate VCH’s integration of 12 programs into a new purpose-built community health centre.
While Valerie is known for tapping into her team’s expertise, she has also been a reliable resource for nursing knowledge and an active participant in research on a range of topics, including social pediatrics, enhanced collaboration between primary care and public health, and building public health nursing capacity. She has been the Director of Research for Vancouver Community Health for many years.
“Working alongside Val as directors of community health services in Vancouver has been one of the highlights of my career,” Stackhouse says. “She is a consummate professional who brings thoughtfulness, dedication and wisdom to her work every day.”