Nurses must constantly make important decisions that can change patients’ lives. When Stephen Parker takes action even in the most challenging cases, you know his response will be grounded in evidence, professionalism and compassion for patients. He doesn’t just demonstrate advanced nursing practice; he lives and breathes it.
Over nearly 30 years, Stephen has held a wide range of nursing roles, always pushing himself to become an expert in a new area of practice. While he presently works at Providence Health Care (PHC) specialized in surgery, primarily colorectal cases, he has also acquired nursing expertise in skin and wound care, orthopedics, transplant clinics and other nursing areas. He has been a lifelong learner, first receiving a Diploma in General Nursing, then a BSN and ultimately an MSN degree, along with more recent courses in wound care.
“Stephen’s knowledge base is always current, grounded and well-rounded,” says Providence Health Care Clinical Nurse Specialist Leah Shapera. “He is regularly sought out as an expert resource by nurses, physicians and members of other disciplines.” Additionally, he transfers that knowledge to others by presenting at many conferences, engaging in research and published papers, or presenting in-person to senior leaders working with direct-care staff. He makes great use of that knowledge thanks to advanced critical thinking and analytical skills that are central to his role. He regularly consults on the most difficult and complex patient cases.
Nurses all over British Columbia have benefited from Stephen’s application of research. For instance, in his current role of CNS, he synthesized best practices and research to put forward a comprehensive bundle of protocols.
He has influenced heart transplant nursing practice and provided knowledge and direction for opening the Post-Heart Transplant Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital; he developed a surgical wound assessment system to dramatically reduce administration time; as well, he led an Enhanced Recovery after Surgery program that helped patients return home in half the time it formerly took.
At the PHC 2012 Research Challenge, he presented the findings of his team’s research to investigate surgical patients’ NPO status and its effect on post-operative recovery. Additionally, he has co-taught the Wound Care Link Nurse program to hundreds of PHC nurses and nursing students every year, providing a wide range of practice guidelines and strategies for wound prevention and treatment. “Stephen is a thoughtful communicator, committed to ensuring safe, compassionate, competent and ethical care of residents and families,” says PHC Director of Professional Practice and Nursing Candy Garossino.
“Stephen is the consummate professional nurse,” Shapera says. “His pride and commitment are infectious and staff look up to him as a role model and mentor.” Indeed, his excellence as a professional nurse has already been recognized through many honors and awards over the years, such as when he was listed as one of 150 Outstanding Nurses in B.C. for the Significant Contribution to Patient Care and Health Care award in 2008, his Kihlman Family Nursing Award (received twice) and the St. Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Award.
Once again, Stephen has earned the admiration of his peers who have had the good luck to see this exceptional nurse in action.