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How Dr. Theresa Newlove is working to improve the patient and family experience

Dr. Theresa Newlove is head of psychology for BC Children’s and BC Women’s Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children.
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An excellent collaborator, she is caring, collegial and fun, which is a testament to the enthusiasm that she brings to the clinical setting each day and to the health care team as a whole. Dr. Newlove recently won a PHSA+ Award, which are awarded to staff and physicians who demonstrate excellence and advance the organization by living the PHSA values.

Congratulations Dr. Newlove, on your PHSA+ Award win! Can you tell us about what you do at BC Children’s and BC Women’s? 
I provide practice, education and research leadership for approximately 55 psychologists who work in the areas of mental health, development and rehabilitation, and medical psychology. 

I have had the opportunity to work on initiatives that include models of care for service delivery, medical staff and employee wellness, ongoing support for nursing staff, and a self-management and coping application for children. I also contribute to treatment, research and education in my clinical area of interest, which is medical psychology.

What do you like most about your job at BC Children’s and BC Women’s?
I have worked in a number of different hospitals over the course of my career and what stands out the most for me is the remarkable environment of collaboration between professions to achieve our common goal – providing the best possible health care experience for children, women and their families. 

I see examples of expertise, dedication and commitment from my psychology and professional practice colleagues and the medical, nursing and support staff, which make a difference every day to the patients and families we serve.

What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile?
Patients and families. 

My role as department head requires a significant amount of administrative, management and leadership activities – all of which have their unique ‘rewards’ including the opportunity to build relationships and partnerships across campus. However, I continue to seek out opportunities to provide direct clinical service. The times when I am able to work directly with patients are highlights of my work week and grounding for all other aspects of my role. 

I feel privileged to be part of a patient and family health care experience; and inspired by the resilience and strength of the women, children and families we serve.

What is your proudest moment at BC Children’s and BC Women’s?
When I am asked ‘where do you work’, I am always struck by the stories I am told by former patients and their families about their positive and caring health care experiences at our hospitals. There are also times when current patients do not have the experience they expected and I am proud that we take this seriously and work hard towards making changes in our system to better serve families. 

A personal ‘proud’ moment for me was receiving the 3R Neurosciences/Surgery Nursing ‘Gold Star’. For almost five years I have met weekly with these dedicated nurses to focus on the ‘emotional labour’ aspect of their work and how to support patient and families. Receiving this Gold Star meant so much to me – to be recognized by this remarkable group of providers. 

I may be stating the obvious here – but being the recipient of the PHSA+ award represents the generous spirit of colleagues I work with!

How do the PHSA values show up in your work?
Serving with purpose is a leading value for me as it represents the ‘why’ and ‘who’ we come to work for. The other values reflect ‘how’ we serve with purpose. 

Many of the initiatives I have been involved in are a blend of ‘cultivating partnerships’ and ‘innovation’, representing bringing together professionals, providers and leadership to collaboratively make advances in how we provide health care. As an example, I have been fortunate to collaborate with mental health and medical subspecialty teams, offices of pediatric surgical evaluation and innovation, and the Pediatric Anesthesia Research Team to develop unique opportunities for innovation, best practice and wellness initiatives. 

As co-chair of the Building Positive and Safe Relationships Committee, ‘respect people’ and ‘compassion’ are central to the work we are doing in adopting a trauma-informed approach to support patients, visitors and staff on campus.   

Congratulations on this achievement, Dr. Theresa Newlove! 
BC Children's Hospital
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