RN Spotlight – Montague Health Centre Team

IMG_3029With ninety years of combined Registered Nursing experience, three members of the Point of Care Clinic team at the Montague Health Centre still thoroughly enjoy their chosen careers. Judy Gormley, Karen Sutherland and Arlene Carpenter each bring different nursing education and experience to the clinic at Montague Health Centre, but they all share the same goals – to provide the best health care they can to the people of their Eastern PEI community, and to continue providing valuable services to these clients.

The establishment of these new RN roles in the Point of Care Clinic approximately two years ago has enabled each RN to play more of a teaching role, particularly in chronic disease management. In order to prepare for their new positions, Judy, Karen and Arlene all completed several training courses. These included a 6-week online course through the University of Southern Indiana, and a 4-day course on COPD Management and Spirometry testing through RESPTrec – a family of training courses which provide the highest standard of training in asthma, COPD and education for health care professionals. They also took an Adult Assessment course at Holland College.

Point of Care Testing (POCT) is defined as medical diagnostic testing performed outside the clinical laboratory in close proximity to where the client is receiving care. POCT is appropriate and cost effective in some clinical settings as testing is performed near the client and allows for immediate decisions to be made in the clinical management of the client.

The Registered Nurses have their own clientele who are referred to them on an ongoing basis which means they are still very much “hands on” with clients, but don’t see the Family Practice patients as often as they once did. They work with the family physicians about one week out of every three and enjoy the variety that this brings to their work schedules. They see this change as a very positive one.

Most of the work Judy, Arlene and Karen carry out is in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) management, INR blood testing and Mental Health First Aid. Some of the duties they share are Warfarin management, Spirometry testing, hypertension management, blood pressure monitoring, smoking cessation, and acting as “supportive listeners” when clients have issues with their mental health.

A graduate of the PEI School of Nursing 40 years ago, Judy knew she always wanted to be a nurse and also has a sister in the profession. She worked in surgical nursing, emergency and family practice before she became part of the collaborative team at the Montague Health Centre. Judy is married with 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren. She enjoys yoga, reading, music, wine-making, travelling, and cooking.

Karen says that when she started her training in 1976 at the Aberdeen Hospital in Nova Scotia, women were either going into teaching or nursing. She was more interested in the medical field so her decision was made fairly easily. She worked at the Kings County Memorial Hospital for 26 years before transferring to the Montague Health Centre 12 years ago. Karen is married with 2 children and 1 grandchild. She enjoys spending time with family at her cottage, reading, computers, walking, socializing with friends, dining out and travelling.

Arlene always knew that she was cut out for a career in nursing. She also has a sister who is a nurse, so the family connection helped fuel her ambition for the profession. She graduated from the UPEI School of Nursing in 1999 and has worked on the medical/surgical floor, in labour & delivery and public health and then started with the Point of Care Clinic team 2 years ago. Arlene is married and has 4 children. She enjoys running, teaching aerobics, baking and spending time with her family.

Judy, Karen and Arlene all agree that their work is very rewarding because they see that their care and expertise help to make so many positive changes in people’s lives. They have more time to sit down and talk with clients. They are also open to taking phone calls which is convenient and makes a noticeable difference for clients, too. The Point of Care Clinic is housed in a newly renovated space that was adapted in order to incorporate all of the various testing procedures that the RNs carry out on a daily basis. Having the Point of Care Clinic in their community has eliminated the need for clients to travel to Charlottetown for these procedures. It has proven to be a real benefit to have these services all in one building.

“We absolutely love it here. We get along really well and are supportive of each other. We make each other laugh a lot, too. I enjoy coming to work every day.” Judy says with a genuine smile.

“It’s so nice to work and live in your own community,” says Arlene. “We’re all passionate about the people here. They’re our friends and neighbours. We take care of each other.”

* Photo (left to right): Arlene Carpenter, Karen Sutherland and Judy Gormley