When patients come in for treatment at their local hospital or clinic, the very last thing they should need to worry about is contracting an illness from medical equipment meant to help them. Dianne Trudeau is a recognized authority on reprocessing of medical devices, serving as a leader locally, nationally and internationally. Thanks to her innovations and determination to keep patients safe, the public can trust that they are in good hands.
Presently working as Operations Leader with Providence Health Care’s Medical Device Reprocessing Department (MDRD) in Vancouver, Dianne has come a long way since she first entered the field as a staff nurse in Woodstock, New Brunswick. After holding various front line nursing roles, she soon found her calling in the specialty of sterile medical processing; she put in place Canada’s first program to certify personnel who clean and decontaminate medical devices. She is also known as a highly effective manager: “In 1991, rising quickly through the ranks, she became Corporate Director of Sterile Services for several hospitals in Vancouver,” recalls Professor Shaheen Mehtar. “Faced with staffing and financial challenges, she consistently made patient care and support for the nursing staff a priority,” while balancing financial stewardship and program innovation.
Dianne has ensured all medical reprocessing is conducted according to Ministry of Health expectations — which is not always an easy thing to accomplish in a fast-paced, highpressure health care facility. “For example, a surgeon brought a new implant into the hospital without the accompanying documentation and insisted the item be sterilized,” recalls St. Paul’s Hospital Operations Leader Sandra Grimwood. “Sterilization protocol demands manufacturer’s instructions. Dianne refused to comply with the request as it would have compromised patient care.” Another time, when endoscope cleaning practices were under scrutiny across North America, Dianne proactively researched options and sought out an expert microbiologist to develop and put procedures in place for new and improved testing technology.
That proven commitment to ensuring medical devices are safe comes from a genuine place. “The ‘face of the patient’ may not be a daily occurrence in MDRD, but it is clear that Dianne has never lost sight of the patient in her daily work,” says Practice Consultant Barbara Bedell. “She’s a tireless advocate.”
Dianne instills that same dedication in her staff. “She has always epitomized ethical practice,” says colleague Linda Kingsbury. “When others have suggested taking a short cut, Dianne upholds the highest standard of care and practice.” She also role models lifelong learning; not content to rest on her recognition as one of the world’s leading authorities in her field, she continues to be involved with education programs for reprocessing at community colleges or through online learning. She also helps spread her knowledge throughout the system by assuming leadership roles on regional, provincial and international committees, from the BC Ministry of Health to the World Health Organization. Her research on Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease has also been recognized far and wide.
Going above and beyond the requirements of her job, Dianne takes a genuine interest in the 90 members of her staff, asking about their families and interests outside of work. Nurses appreciate Dianne’s friendly, outgoing manner — showing leadership at all times with a ready ear and an open heart.