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Katie of all trades

It’s Patient Experience Week and we’re profiling Katie Olson,​ who works behind the scenes to enhance the health-care journey of patients and families at BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre.
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​Katie was drawn to BC Children's and BC Women's Patient Experience five years ago by the thought of being able to work directly with patients and families to improve their time in care.

“It’s the little things,” says Katie, a BC Children's and BC Women's patient experience coordinator and engagement advisor. “I respond to the 1-800 toll free number and to people who write in to the ‘Contact Us’ webpages. They’re always so happy that someone returned their message. I like the feeling of helping people. Even if I’m just steering them in the right direction.”

“Patient Experience ensures people feel they are being heard.” 

The BC Children's and BC Women's Patient Experience portfolio is responsible for several service areas, including:

  • Sibling Support Services and Centre
  • School Services​
  • Entrance Screening Program
  • Volunteer Resources
  • Patient and Family Engagement
  • Processing visitor and access requests for tours and site functions
  • Overseeing the non-monetary donation program
  • Organizing large events, including Halloween and holiday celebrations
  • Coordinating the Pet Therapy Program and therapeutic clowning
Variety is the spice
“The job is anything and everything,” says Katie. “It varies every day from stickhandling parking questions and out-of-province requests to helping with questions about a patient’s referral status.”

The Patient Experience portfolio at BC Children's and BC Women's has been running since 2016 with its director, Mary MacKillop, at the helm.

“There is nothing like partnering with who we serve and those who serve patients and families to ensure authentic engagement is in place at every level,” says Mary.
“I enjoy the variety of the job. I like the colleagues I work with,” Katie says. “There’s no one size fits all and no one way to engage. If there’s a clinic that’s doing engagement activities, for instance, and they need language support, we have volunteers that we can match them​ up with​. I enjoy having those discussions to find solutions to effective and inclusive engagement.”

Amplifying voices and making a difference
Katie enjoys being able to engage patients and families, learn from their experiences, and enhance or improve programs.

“Without asking them questions, we’re never going to learn from them. I ask, ‘What went well, what didn’t go well and how can we improve?’ Some families say it would have been helpful if their instruction package included where to find parking or a coffee. We developed a resource guide with families and that helps the next family for their visit.”

“It’s those small things that go a long way and that’s part of a patient or family’s whole journey at BC Children's and BC Women's.”

For more information on Patient Experience, please see the BC Children's or BC Women's websites.

BC Children's Hospital; patient experience
Children's Health
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