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PHSA+ Award winner profile: Andria Anderson

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Andria Anderson is described as an outstanding colleague who embodies all PHSA values. A valuable member to BC Children’s Mental Health programs team, Andria’s ability to connect with people is one of her greatest assets.

​She is empathetic and understanding with patients and families in her professional role and cheerful and good humoured in supporting the work of her colleagues. In addition, her readiness to adapt and take on a lead role for Accreditation was exceptional, preparing and working with staff to achieve exemplary standing by Accreditation Canada. Learn more about Andria and her work below.

Congratulations, Andria, on your PHSA+ Award win! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I am an occupational therapist (OT) working in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry programs here at BC Children’s Hospital. As a therapist, I meet with patients and their families to explore and find strategies for difficulties in the areas of sensory processing/self-regulation, fine and gross motor skills and day-to-day functioning at home and at school. I have recently returned to this position after taking a year-long position as the lead for Accreditation 2017 in the Mental Health programs. As the lead for Accreditation, I was responsible for the roll out and teaching of the Mental Health Standards and ROP’s for over 200 staff in all of the Mental Health programs. We used a multimodal approach to engage staff – coffee carts, video screens, loo learning posters, unit binders and a branding campaign that was easy for staff to follow. 

What do you like most about your job?  
Engaging with the kids and seeing the potential within them and their families. When I see a family connect with the new ideas or have a new understanding of their child, we are making a difference.  Also, the AMAZING staff I work with in the Mental Health programs. Every day staff bring their passion and expertise to help support each patient and their families and I am proud to work among some of the best! 

What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile?
Seeing the children, youth and families using, exploring and benefitting from some of the resources I have been a part of creating.  

Tell us – what has been your proudest moment at BC Children’s?
One of my proudest moments was after returning from one of my maternity leaves. Let’s back up… before I left I had advocated to take one of the rooms on the Child Psychiatry Unit and turn it into a sensory modulation room. The vision for this room was for patients, families and their staff to use this space to explore different sensory tools that may be helpful if faced with big feelings. At this time, I was supported by management to move forward with the change. I ordered all the equipment and created educational materials for all staff. The staff were quite apprehensive with this new change but I moved forward with the help and support of the clinical nurse coordinator (CNC) and OT who took over my maternity leave.  The proud moment was upon my return… patients, families and staff were all using the space. Staff were reporting all the benefits of the space and the kids were using it throughout the day. I was both proud and relieved that the vision and determination had a positive result.

How do the PHSA values show up in your work?

Respect people
– As part of my practice I call the family the week before they arrive or meet them within their first couple of days to introduce myself. This gives the family a better understanding of my role and how I can be helpful to them and their child over the course of their stay.   

Be compassionate – I try to remember that families and children are coming to us in a time of high stress and frustration. Taking extra time to get to know the children and their families up front makes the harder conversations a little easier.

Dare to innovate – Creating a sensory modulation room for the Child Psychiatry Unit was something different. Having the vison, plan and seeing the benefits of the space is rewarding. I was also a co-author of a cook book that was created for the youth on the Adolescent Psychiatry Unit. This cookbook was co-designed with our patients and families from content, information gathering and design. Youth use this book throughout their stay and received a copy when they were discharged.

Cultivate partnerships – One of my passions is empowering families with knowledge. I feel as professionals, we are a guide to families to find information to help them along the journey of healing.  Most of our families are come to us in a time of distress and at their lowest point. Working with families to see a glimmer of hope is what brings me back every day.  

Serve with purpose – I try to give 100% to all the children and families I work with.  Also, the amazing teams I work with fuel this drive, as they also give 100%.  When your colleagues share the same passion we all strive to provide the best care.

Thank you, Andria, for your innovative ideas that help patients, families and staff. Congratulations again on this well-deserved achievement!
BC Children's Hospital
Children's Health
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