Heather Dunne

Heather Dunne

Heather Dunne named a B.C. Health Care Hero

It takes time and perspective to see trend lines in an occupation as complex and demanding as health care

It takes time and perspective to see trend lines in an occupation as complex and demanding as health care, so when someone like Heather Dunne – manager of Ladysmith Primary Health Care – retires, you want to ask a few questions and listen to what she has to say, especially when she has just  been honoured by her peers as the B.C. Health Care Hero for Island Health.

Dunne was handed her Golden Apple at the BC Health Care Awards June 27 at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver.

“When it comes to advancing the scope and elevating the standards of her profession, Heather Dunne is a pioneer and trailblazer who is fiercely committed to both quality and her community,” says a BC Health Care Awards release.

“Throughout her almost 50 years as a nurse, (she) has pushed the boundaries of nursing, especially with regards to championing the role of the nurse practitioner and working to improve both access and the quality of health care service provided to remote and isolated communities, including First Nations.”

A North Cowichan resident since 1980, Dunne started her nursing career in 1969. A lot has changed during her long career, and Dunne said she hopes to see continuing advances in health care in the coming decades.

The biggest change in health care delivery Dunne points to is increasing specialization “due to the incredible volume of information needed to care for patients.”

More recently she points to the emergence of teams to deal with health care, which has become less of a “hierarchy of health care providers” and involves patients and families “much more” in a focus on outcomes.

Changes in the system have been accompanied by changes in people’s attitudes toward health and health care.

“The majority of people are much more educated about their health and the impact of their lifestyle on their future,” Dunne said.

“Health care providers are seen as those who can assist. Gone is the notion that the providers always know best; people are vocal about their care and their expectations.”

As for the future, which she will be monitoring from the sidelines, Dunne said she hopes the system keeps on track, and also keeps its heart.

“I feel and hope that health care delivery will become more and more integrated, which is the focus of the Island Health Authority and our care delivery teams,” she said.

“The most important part though, as ever, is that health care and health care providers continue to improve quality and processes, and to consider each of their patients as unique in their needs and circumstances, the need to keep the care in health care.”

Traveling, and time with friends and family are among the priorities for Dunne, as she contemplates retirement. But involvement in the community is right up there, too. “I also have ideas about where I would like to volunteer,” she said, adding that the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary will be high on her list.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Transfer Beach Dippers have been taking to the waters of Transfer Beach as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted photo)
‘Transfer Beach Dippers’ group finds community in the cold water

Dippers tend to dip at 6am, 8:45am, or 6pm at Transfer Beach

John Ambrose Seward, 33, is described as Indigenous and five-foot-eight with short black hair and brown eyes. (Police handout)
John Ambrose Seward, 33, is described as Indigenous and five-foot-eight with short black hair and brown eyes. (Police handout)
High-risk sex offender banned from central Island, living in Vancouver: police

John Ambrose Seward, 33, has been released from prison under a number of conditions

Chemainus Theatre facilities manager Damion Knight at the spot inside the gallery and gift shop where thieves smashed a window and grabbed masks. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Unique masks valued at $1,000 stolen from Chemainus Theatre Gallery

Thieves smash a window and grab the goods early Monday morning

Firefighters, including those from Cranberry volunteer department, are battling a blaze in the Nanaimo River Road area. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Dwelling destroyed, two taken to hospital after Nanaimo River Road blaze

Numerous fire departments and first responders at south Nanaimo area

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Nootka Sound RCMP and DFO Conservation and Protection Officers seized this 30 foot vessel, fishing gear and equipment as well as Chinook salmon, salmon roe, rock fish and ling cod after an investigation on Sept. 11. A judge in Campbell River on February hit the owner and his accomplices with significant fines, a ban on holding fishing licences and loss of equpment, including the boat’s motor and trolling motor. RCMP photo
Washington State trio’s fisheries violations the worst veteran officer has seen in 20 years

Judge bans three men from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read