The health care administration sector demands great things from its leaders, and these leaders often have to deliver bigger results with fewer resources. Miriam Stewart gets those results, improving delivery for patients while always taking care of those who make it possible.
Miriam has provided nearly 30 years of progressive leadership through varied niches including program development, restructuring and operations, human resources planning, and recruitment. Her success—and that of the organizations she helps run—is driven by a passion for excellence in patient care.
“When she started her position, Mount St. Joseph’s Hospital (MSJ) was at a crossroads. Patient volume and acuity were climbing without adequate nursing hours in the department,” recalls MSJ Emergency Operations Leader Shannyn Sainiuk. As is usual for Miriam, she hit the ground running. “We came up with practical solutions we could immediately implement. She consistently shows a ‘can-do’ attitude.”
While Miriam can lead on the fly, she patiently shines at the systematic strategic planning required for implementing major change. For instance, “Miriam was integral in the business case development, functional planning and clinical design and implementation of the Intensive Care Unit at Royal Columbian Hospital,” says VCH Operations Director Michelle de Moor. “The plan took into account critical care capacity, current and emerging technology and modern design elements to effectively meet staff and patient needs. As well, she was able to engage staff in re-designing standards of care at other sites including Royal Columbian Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital. These initiatives required creativity and finely-tuned communication skills while working with a broad assortment of inter-professional teams, including nurses, physicians and volunteers.”
Miriam’s “big-picture” capabilities and involvement in provincial initiatives, health authority regional planning, accreditation and other areas have helped British Columbian health organizations meet their goals. She has influenced the Ministry of Health’s direction in critical care and is considered a key expert in critical care in this province. Her advocacy of a trial program at Royal Columbian Hospital led to the implementation of a surgical safety checklist now in use in operating rooms. As an exceptional nurse administrator, Miriam understands the balance required between available resources and service delivery. Value for tax dollars is an important factor in any change she makes; her focus on efficiency in maximizing patient flow, for instance, led to improved admittance into inpatient programs within 10 hours of arrival at St. Paul’s Hospital ’s emergency department, a key indicator of the quality of patient care.
Miriam’s passion for her chosen field extends outside the hospital. She promotes lifelong learning through her role as Director in the Canadian College of Health Services’ Lower Mainland Chapter and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia. She also recently volunteered for a surgical mission to the Philippines to maintain her clinical, leadership and humanitarian-focused skills.
With boundless positive energy and an incredible work ethic, Miriam continues to be a visible role model that all professional nurses can emulate.