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Teaming up for strong outcomes for pediatric surgical patients

It is often said that “teamwork makes a dream work.” This description perfectly captures the spirit of the Pediatric Spinal Surgical team at BC Children’s Hospital, a high-functioning team who achieves incredible results with its young patients.
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​The Pediatric Spinal Surgical team from left to right:
Front row: Dr. Firoz Miyanji, Trevor Coelho, Dr. Gillian Lauder, Stephanie Harding, Julia Folka, Jacqui Crawford, Karina Fan, Jennie Harrington, Kat Lidstone, Sarah Garcia, Betty Gorecki, Leanna Lum
Back row: Dr. Michael Barker, Dr. Ravi Ghag, Sherry Smith, Che Kinsey, Sandra Meeres, Dr. Myles Cassidy, Dr. Andrea Simmonds, Sue Greer, Laura Wallbank, Tabrez Hussein, Cassie McFarlane, Mike Tomlinson

​Every year, the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) celebrates the passionate contributions our staff make to province-wide health-care solutions through the PHSA+ Awards. These awards honour individuals and teams across the organization, including at BC Children’s, that demonstrate excellence and advance our organization by living the PHSA values. The Pediatric Spinal Surgical team’s outstanding achievements internally and externally as a medical team has earned them a PHSA+ Award.

The team is being recognized for their collaborative teamwork and dedication to their patients and to their team. This team performs approximately 200 surgeries on children with scoliosis and other spine-related deformities as well as tumour and trauma cases at BC Children’s each year. Their unifying goal: Provide the best and most compassionate care to children as if they were their own. 

Leanna Lum, Neurophysiology Technologist, and Stephanie Harding, Clinical Resource Nurse, answered on behalf of the award-winning team about their work and what motivates them.

Q. How did you feel when it was announced that you had won a PHSA+ Award?

Stephanie:  I felt very honoured to be part of this amazing team that is being recognized for our accomplishments.

Q. What is your favorite thing about working at PHSA?

Leanna: We all work to deliver the best care for our patients.

Q. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Stephanie: Getting to work with amazing professionals to create positive outcomes for our patients. Continuing to learn in a very supportive environment and being able to take that knowledge forward and teach others as well.

Q. What do you like most about your job?

Leanna: As valued team members, each of us genuinely cares about our patients. This mentality has made our unique team excel in addressing whatever obstacles and challenges we face. Our exceptional communication consists of open, non-judgmental, respectful dialogue amongst all colleagues. Professionally, we are a seamless team that focuses on delivering the best patient care.

Q. What is most rewarding about your team's work?

Stephanie: The positive outcomes we have seen from the Bone & Joint Journal article by Dr. Firoz Miyanji published in April 2018 about the Pediatric Spinal Surgical Team.

Q. How did you get involved with this team?  

Leanna: A select group of specifically certified Intraoperative Monitoring (IOM) technologists within our BCCH Neurophysiology Department monitor both orthopaedic and neurosurgical operating room cases. The BCCH Pediatric Spine Team is a unique group of surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, perfusion, orthopaedic and IOM technologists. Dr. Miyanji created this team in 2010.  

Q. Why did you choose to work with this group?

Stephanie: I was drawn to the seamless flow and communication the team had when performing complex surgery. The team creates a very safe, calm environment and I think the patients can sense it. Everyone on the team is very encouraging and supportive of each other. We are consistently learning from one another and exploring ways to improve the care we give to patients.

Q. What makes it all worthwhile?

Leanna: It is a true honour and privilege to be part of this unique team. Our team dedication and education extends beyond the OR. Our model has inspired the creation of teams internationally, which undoubtedly will impact healthcare globally, from Edmonton to Italy. However, the most worthwhile and rewarding feeling is knowing we are making a difference in our patients’ lives with a positive experience while achieving the best pediatric surgical outcomes.

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