In small towns and rural settings across British Columbia, nurses often have to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. For new nurses, that kind of pressure can be intimidating, but Registered Nurse Lisa Cox seems to thrive on it. Working with Northern Health’s Valemount Health Centre in the emergency department, this relatively new nurse shows leadership, wisdom and effective practice far beyond her years.
Working in a small, rural health centre, Lisa often must work alone or be on call, but she is always up to the challenge. “I’ve seen many nurses come and go, but Lisa stands out for going above and beyond her duties as an emergency nurse and for her work in palliative and longterm care,” says colleague Crystal Moyer. “She is the type of nurse who is motivated to do the best for her patients, particularly for palliative patients, where such dedication is essential.”
Early on, Lisa showed her enthusiasm for learning, championing a nurse presence in group medical appointments and stepping up to help physicians. “Even though she might not have the most experience, she is always available and willing to cover on short notice,” says Northern Health Manager of Medicine and Maternity Daryl Petsul. “By stepping outside her comfort zone, she opens herself up to new knowledge she can apply in the future.”
Nursing colleagues say her commitment and controlled demeanor make her is a natural fit for emergency care. “She remains calm and collected,” says Health Services Administrator Debbie Strang. “Not long ago, a mother in labor came into the ER. Normally, we wouldn’t deliver babies here, but there was no time. Lisa kept her composure, figured out what she needed to do and she did it. The physician she worked with spoke highly of her approach to this potential crisis.”
Lisa also shows real compassion for patients and families. When a palliative patient dying of lung cancer was coming in regularly to Valemount, she recognized he had a nutritional deficit. She not only provided care and comfort but also took the time to really listen to the patient, which helped produce a positive outcome. “He felt he could trust her,” says Registered Nurse Heidi Krahn. “The way she navigates these relationships is inspiring and there is no question it impacts patient care in a positive way.”
Beginning her career in nursing almost immediately after obtaining her BSN from the University of Northern British Columbia in 2011, Lisa is continually updating her standard of practice. She attends conferences but also takes advantage of local learning opportunities, drawing on team members’ help to find the best solutions out there. She also takes advantage of online resources like the Advanced Cardiac Life Support resource, and even better, has encouraged her fellow nurses to access that education, benefiting her fellow emergency nurses.
Cheerfully taking on new challenges, this young nurse role models grace, professionalism and composure, helping ensure that patients in even a remote region of this province can benefit from a high standard of care.