An outstanding frontline clinical nurse, respected educator, cardiovascular care specialist and patient advocate, Betty Reid Girard has done it all throughout an extraordinary nursing career.
“It is inspiring to see how much Betty has contributed to nursing practice in general and in particular to cardiovascular care,” says Carol Laberge, RN. “I have known Betty personally and professionally for more than twenty years, beginning when we worked together at Royal Columbian Hospital in the Coronary Care Unit as frontline nurses. We worked many night shifts together, spending several hours of the morning talking over practice issues and strategies.”
Betty started out as a staff nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at B.C. Children’s Hospital before moving on to other clinical positions where she became an expert in cardiac health—a specialty she has continually developed to a level where she teaches and mentors others. “Betty excelled as a bedside nurse in cardiology and always anticipated complications and emergencies, dealing with these in a proactive manner,” says Dr. Margaret M. Blackwell. “She mentored her colleagues and helped them provide care in a more holistic manner. She also worked in the YMCA Healthy Heart Program, volunteering to teach patients and families about rehabilitation, medication and lifestyle changes. She truly walks the talk.”
Today she provides education and care for patients with complex cardiovascular health issues. “I have worked with her in the Heart Function Clinic, where she has been very quick to alert me to clinical situations with patients and their families,” Blackwell says. “This has helped us avoid major complications, reduced the likelihood of patient deaths and decreased hospital readmission rates.”
In addition, Betty has become the resource expert for heart failure care at Fraser Health and a member of the Provincial Heart Failure Strategy Working Group, among other responsibilities. “It was under Betty’s capable daily vigilance and dedication that the clinic is now a well-recognized specialty clinic and referral base for heart failure management in the Fraser Health region,” says Claire Prentice, RN. “Betty’s capable and calm approach has made it the success it is today.”
Betty began teaching at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2004, teaching medical and surgical nurses who were internationally-educated. She also taught at Douglas College’s BSN Program, providing clinical education and lab supervision for baccalaureate students. In 2007, she became a Clinical Nurse Educator in the Cardiac Intervention Unit at Royal Columbian Hospital before transitioning to her present role.
Her commitment to heart health extends beyond clinical wards, as she has long volunteered with organizations like the B.C. and Yukon Heart and Stroke Foundation and more recently, the Y Healthy Heart Annual Walk For Life. She is a dedicated researcher, keeping current with practice guidelines to help her maintain excellent practice.
Showing all the qualities of a dedicated nurse leader, Betty continues to impress all with her professionalism, integrity and heartfelt passion for her life pursuit.