Building bridges: Medical communities working together for new hospitals


Clinicians, physicians and staff from both communities have been working to help design new hospitals in the Comox Valley and Campbell River, but you could say they’ve really been building bridges.

That’s among the benefits to come from the North Island Hospitals Project already, even though construction has yet to begin.
Take for example, Surgical Services Clinical Coordinators Gail Hilts and Sheri Drover, who helped to evaluate submissions from the proponents looking to design and build the new hospitals.

“Gail and I did it together,” explains Drover, Coordinator at Campbell River Hospital. “We got all the specs and we decided we would go through it together. We looked at the proponent specs for each of the departments that we have. We were able to figure out how the flow of our areas needed to work, recognizing what wouldn’t work and what would work well.”

Like many of their colleagues, both Hilts and Drover saw the NIHP process as an opportunity to play an important role helping to chart the future.

“When they first talked about building the new hospitals, they asked people who would be interested in being part of going to the meetings,” says Hilts, Coordinator at St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox. “I decided that from the OR perspective it would be neat to go and see how things unfold.”

“We wanted to ensure that when we build brand new sites that they are actually as worker-friendly as they can be,” Drover adds, “(including) the best way to run an OR which would be optimal for patient care.”

Along the way, Drover and Hilts learned more about each other and their respective Campbell River and Comox Valley hospital communities.

“I think it’s been good,” says Hilts. “I think there’s a lot of positive feeling in the air that it’s four years away, that we will have a new building, and new space to work in. I think it’s a good thing. It’s brought the two communities a little closer together.”

“Having sat down with Gail numerous times made it a lot more comfortable for me to know that Gail is there and I can call Gail and bounce an idea off her or vice-versa,” Drover says, “just knowing that I know somebody there, in the same sort of position as me. Also, I know when it comes to building the bridges for the future, it’s nice to be able to put faces to the names that you see in a lot of these meetings. You see people’s passion for wanting to get the best outcome for the future of each community.”