A historic transformation of health service delivery is happening under the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA); Elizabeth Pearce is a key nursing administrator helping manage this change in a positive way.
As Health Canada devolves responsibilities to the FNHA, Elizabeth has embraced the movement, being proactive in planning and implementing effective nursing services. FNHA serves more than 200 communities with unique challenges, including populations with high rates of frail elderly residents, many of whom live with disabilities and chronic diseases. Working in such a challenging environment, Elizabeth has nonetheless managed to keep staff turnover low as she instills confidence in those around her.
“Elizabeth works in a complex, ever-changing home and community care environment where both internal and external influences can greatly impact health outcomes,” says Senior Nursing and Quality Consultant Shubie Chetty. “Her natural leadership, communication skills and professional style are the glue needed to keep her health team intact.”
Elizabeth has exceptional knowledge of BC First Nations, history and cultural traditions that help her to meet the needs of people being served. She has been involved with nursing initiatives for First Nations communities since the early 1990s and has made her mark as a nurse and leader for far longer, overseeing multi-million dollar budgets and managing large numbers of health care providers. She has headed up countless initiatives, such as Collaborative Practice, where she involved her team and three remote communities with regulated health professionals and non-regulated community workers to show the effectiveness of a coordinated plan for patients living with chronic disease. Throughout this five-year initiative, Elizabeth provided guidance, financial oversight and moral support to communities and nurses involved.
Other initiatives included instituting a system for electronic service delivery reporting maintained according to First Nations Home and Community Care program standards, revising staffing levels to better ensure staff had the skills and expertise they needed; developing a 10-year strategic plan for a home care program; initiating a Nursing Education Forum to encourage better communication and daily practice; and setting up nursing courses on foot care, diabetes, wound care and more. These kinds of initiatives are built up in partnership with First Nations community leaders and staff as well as external partners, advancing the health status of BC First Nations people.
Elizabeth has broad clinical knowledge and prompts her team members to stay current with nursing research, notes colleague Isobel McDonald. She also updates resources on infection control, such as best practices for re-processing and sterilizing medical equipment, hand hygiene and managing influenza in a home care setting — consistently demonstrating a passion for lifelong learning that inspires her team. “She brings out the best in me as an employee,” McDonald says.
“She has shown leadership, insight, collaboration and critical thinking, applying ethical standards in the best interests of her clients and communities,” says First Nations and Inuit Health Branch National Manager Marlene Nose. “She is very dedicated to improving and supporting the health of First Nations and Inuit.”