Current, patient-centered, evidence-based nursing practice standards are essential to a high-functioning health care system. Astrid Westervelt has modeled a high level of service delivery throughout her extensive nursing career. Her recent work as a clinical nurse educator has had a great impact on patient care across British Columbia through her development and implementation of local and regional evidence-informed best practice guidelines Astrid is the go-to person for regional practice guidelines development. Her work encompasses education, management of clinical educational resources for nurses, and facilitation of nursing practice in a wide range of situations. Essentially, she helps shape the direction of nursing practice throughout her organization and the health region.
“With Astrid’s in-depth knowledge on practice standards development, she is a valuable contributor and member of a number of committees, each with a goal of ensuring timely information, readily available to the nurses who need it,” says Clinical Nurse Specialist Stephen Parker.
Astrid ensures that online manuals, electronic reference texts, and the nursing website at Providence Health Care (PHC) are updated as needed. “Astrid knows the best ways to organize information to make it easy for staff to access it,” says Clinical Nurse Specialist Leah Shapera. When Leah wanted to add data on wound and skin care to the PHC website, Astrid went beyond the expected and developed a central portal with referral instructions, practice guidelines, protocols, reference information, video links, schedules of upcoming events and conferences, and even an “Ask a Wound Expert” section.
“Astrid is an engaging speaker who uses a range of methods to teach her students—small-group work, case studies, classroom and hands-on practice,” says PHC Practice Consultant Shelley Fraser. She has made extraordinary use of resources to reach a very large target audience.
She developed and leads the editorial team for an online newsletter, providing nurses with practice updates as well as notices about professional development opportunities. She has also improved development and access to online staff education modules such as patient-controlled analgesia, epidural analgesia and others. She is well regarded for her instruction in more traditional formats, such as lectures, demonstrations, case studies, workshops and clinical instruction.
Her ability to help set high standards is based on a solid foundation of nursing experience. “When she gives advice, it can be taken with confidence,” says St. Paul’s Hospital Professional Practice Leader Frances Johnson.
While Astrid’s mission is to help other nurses get the clinical information they need, she has never lost sight of her own professional development needs, attending and presenting at conferences such as the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council Forum and the Canadian Nurses Association Biennial Convention. Outside of PHC, Astrid has been a Girl Guide of Canada Leader for over 10 years, positively shaping the lives of young girls.
Astrid is not only reliable, professional and knowledgeable; thanks to her approachable, positive nature, she is always willing to provide support. She is a role model to other nurses, helping improve patient care day after day.