Posted: March 12, 2019

Jane Foster loves her emergency department family.

So she wants to use her decades of nursing experience to help them care for all patients who come to Grand River Hospital’s busy emergency department.

Jane Foster Portrait

Jane has spent half of her career as a registered nurse as the emergency department’s educator. She has been a nurse for more than 40 years, with lengthy experience in critical and emergency care, community care and health education.

The number of people seeking emergency care at GRH is growing, as is the complexity of patients' needs. Jane says the emergency team is sincere and enthusiastic as they do their very best to care for patients. And they’re eager to learn the latest evidence as they work to provide exceptional care every time.

Why did you become a nurse?

It actually was a circuitous route as I originally was heading in the teaching field. I changed directions into nursing after spending time as a volunteer in my local hospital and realized my personality was better suited to nursing.

The end result however is I combined both professions over the years, and obviously now at Grand River in my role as educator in the emergency department.

What brought you to Grand River Hospital?

I had been teaching at Conestoga College in the nursing program for about six years and had nursing students placed at GRH. This College position was a contractual position which was renewed each year so I was looking for a more secure position.

My background over the last 40 plus years (I think I will stop counting) was primarily in critical care and emergency settings. When I saw the posting for the emergency department educator, I applied for the position. The rest is history.

What does your day-to-day role involve in emergency department education?

Each day is never the same which is one of the many attributes of this role. I always start each morning with a walk through the department to touch base with the staff. Depending on those conversations, my scheduled agenda may fly out the window.

I make myself available for assisting nurses in any aspect of their care if they have questions regarding process or protocols, treatment modalities, equipment that they may need (along with a quick refresher if necessary). I try and assist the nurses to be the best they can possibly be and make education and learning interesting, fun and non-threatening.

I am involved with the hiring of new nurses and their orientation, the development of policies or medical directives, patient education, organizing ongoing educational courses that emergency nurses must maintain such as advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support as well as trauma courses.

In addition I facilitate and organize any new training that needs to occur regarding equipment, processes and new treatments to name a few.

If you think about it, anything can have an educational component. So I am never surprised when I find myself suddenly paged and troubleshooting a broken medical appliance in the heat of the moment

Left to right- registered nurses Josslyn and Stephanie review a rapid infuser in GRH's trauma room with the help of Jane Foster
Left to right- registered nurses Josslyn and Stephanie review a rapid infuser in GRH's trauma room with the help of Jane Foster
What’s the most important thing that patients and families should know about the emergency team and care provided in the department?

As an emergency team member your specialty is that you are a generalist. At any minute on any given day, you are dealing with a range of patients. It could be anyone from a newborn to someone who is 100 year old, presenting with any variety of illness or injury or concerns.

Our team is highly competent and trained to care for this large variety of presenting concerns.

However the emergency doors are always open and patients are never turned away. Our community has doubled in population over the last 20 years, we have an aging population and our emergency visits have increased to on average over 200 patients a day.

If you are rushed in it means you need immediate attention and we will always find that room for you. At times, those who safely can wait may have to in the emergency department. No matter what, everyone is sincerely trying to give you the best most competent care they possibly can.

What makes you proud about Grand River Hospital’s emergency department?

I actually only planned on staying in this role for eight to 10 years. I have now been here for just over 20. I also drive more than an hour to work each day.

All to say that what keeps me here is primarily the amazing staff with whom I work. They are passionate about learning. They always want more education and more experience and are engaged in opportunities to improve upon the care for their patients.

Although working with the nurses is my primary role, other members of the emergency team are vitally important and integral in ensuring the department works to its optimum. From the pharmacist to our social worker, clerical staff, physicians, environmental services providers, stocker and porters, advanced practice nurses to our physiotherapist, all roles are hugely important.  In addition they truly care for patients, families and each other.

I actually have the best job in the world. It is very easy to work with staff members who are so engaged and engaging. This emergency department family is definitely worth the long drive!

More GRH Stories