A bright, dedicated, compassionate nurse working for Providence Health Care in Vancouver, Jo-Anna Gorton is also an advocate for her patients and their families. Though her patients often are involved in complex situations involving HIV, violence and addiction, her commitment to helping those in need never wavers.
At St. Paul’s Hospital, she fills a much-needed role as an acute HIV services nurse, and in primary health care at the John Ruedy Immunodeficiency Clinic. She handles acute care nursing, STI assessment and treatment, HIV testing and much more. Also filling a nursing role with Sexual Assault Services of British Columbia, she works alongside other skilled doctors and nurses to provide medical and crisis support to recent survivors of sexual assault.
Though she is a relatively new nurse, obtaining her BSN in 2011 with a clinical specialty in Maternal Health, she has enthusiastically taken on new challenges presented to her by leaders. “Taking on the charge nurse role and working in the outpatient HIV clinic, Jo-Anna has been proactive in keeping up-to-date on the changing field of HIV patient care by reading from a wide array of sources and taking part in the Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (CANAC)” says HIV Program Nurse Educator Jane McCall. “Her primary concern is providing appropriate and timely patient-centred care; to that end, she advocates for patients to get them effective pain and withdrawal control and involves other members of an interdisciplinary team for social work, pastoral care and more.”
Jo-Anna’s patients often have backgrounds complicated by poverty and homelessness, psychiatric illness and substance use, stigma, discrimination and more. This work takes a special nursing skill set requiring extraordinary compassion, patience and creativity. It also requires broad knowledge, demonstrated daily as she deals with her patients’ special issues such as infections of bones, soft tissues and blood, or organ failure. Every day, she brings real expertise and a commitment to promoting her patients’ dignity and well-being.
Outside of her professional duties, Jo-Anna has also participated in the BC Ride to Conquer Cancer, raising awareness and research funds and promoting public health. Her work with the CANAC and recent attendance at the Canadian AIDS Treatment and Information Exchange in Toronto likewise shows commitment that goes above and beyond. Jo-Anna is not just improving health care delivery locally, but also abroad; she has worked to bring health equality to those with HIV and TB with the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa. As well, she volunteers as a teaching assistant at a summer social camp for autistic children.
Standing out as a real leader and role model, Jo-Anna creates a positive and supportive environment wherever she works, notes nursing colleague Patricia Lauridsen-Hoegh. She supports and mentors new nurses on her unit, demonstrating proper technique and how to access clinical resources, such as how to insert a subcutaneous butterfly, managing hypoglycemia, or accessing electronic nursing resources on a wide range of health issues.
Demonstrating the qualities of an outstanding nurse right from the beginning, Jo-Anna continues to provide effective, inspiring care to patients who need extraordinary support.