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‘Our Patients Deserve Better:’ Canmore Hospital Staff Speak On The ED Renovation

The Emergency Department Renovation Project will allow Canmore General Hospital to grow, with hopes of becoming “a leader in Rural Health Care,” said Tamara Richardson, Site Manager at the Canmore General Hospital (CGH).

The Canmore & Area Health Care Foundation has recently announced its newest and most ambitious campaign to date: A renovation of the Emergency Department (ED) with a fundraising goal of $2.2 million dollars.

No one understands the impact an ED renovation could have quite like our local hospital staff. We spoke to Tamara Richardson, Site Manager at the Canmore General Hospital (CGH), to gain insight into just how important donations are to the hospital and its staff.

Richardson has a significant role at the hospital, overseeing Acute Care Services, including the Emergency Department, Obstetrics, Acute Care, Surgical Services, Long-Term Care, and more. Although she's only been serving in this particular role for two years, she has been nursing for over 15. “My nursing background includes ICU, Emergency, Obstetrics, Northern Nursing, and a critical care flight nurse. I used these areas as a way to build my knowledge as a nurse to be able to educate others. I have a passion for nursing education and was in an Educator role for about four years before taking over as Site Manager in Canmore,” Tamara explained. She grew up in Ontario and moved to Alberta to attend University.

After 15 years in Calgary, she moved to the Bow Valley. “My husband and I were engaged shortly after moving here; we then married, and have since had twins. We bought a house in Dead Man’s Flats and love the community there. 

She loves the Bow Valley because of its ability to build community relationships. “I have met so many people from the daycare and now preschool that the twins attend. We have met others at sporting/community events. The small community allows opportunities to make a real difference in each other’s lives,” she explained. Tamara believes the same community spirit lives within Canmore General Hospital.

“We are a team beyond these walls. Having worked in urban hospitals for years, you become a team with those in your specific department. At CGH, you know everyone from all departments. You rely on each other more heavily as resources are fewer in a rural hospital. The staff enjoy working together and can be seen doing out-of work activities together,” she shared.

Tamara describes the relationship between the Canmore General Hospital and the Canmore & Area Health Care Foundation as “goal-oriented.” She noted that the Foundation and the Hospital always work with a shared goal: “The Patients.”

“I have seen patients’ lives be changed because of the Foundation’s support. They have provided so much to this Site that words don’t even come close to describing their impact. I could go over everything they have bought or helped renovate, but again, words don’t convey the life-changing impact the Foundation has had on this site,” said Tamara.

She noted that the Emergency Department Renovation Project will allow Canmore General Hospital to grow, with hopes of becoming “a leader in Rural Health Care.” Another member of the Canmore Hospital Team, Brett Oud, spoke about the necessity of an ED renovation.

“As a Charge nurse within the emergency department, I am beyond thrilled to hear that we will start renovating our very dated department. We have outgrown our current space and desperately need more treatment spaces for patients as we find our department getting significantly busier,” he said.

“It has become morally distressing for staff to know that we need to help critically sick patients in a timely manner but due to having a small department with limited treatment spaces, there are not enough beds to treat these patients right away.” Kirstin Bartsch, a Registered Nurse at Canmore Hospital also weighed in. “Our patients deserve better than having to tell us their very private health concerns - such as a possible miscarriage - in a triage area where their conversation can be overheard by other staff and patients. A lot of patients come into the department in a wheelchair - which does not fit into the triage area, nor the bathroom,” she noted.

Tamara noted that supporting the Foundation “provides a lasting impact for generations to come.” Supporting the Foundation is supporting your local Hospital, your local healthcare workers like Tamara, Brett, and Kirsten, and supporting your community at large.

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