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A champion of quality care in the north

Viva Swanson's three Decades of accomplishments recognized by B.C. Patient Council
Viva Swanson, Advisor, Leadership Development NE, Northern Health

A Fort St. John health care practitioner is one of 19 individuals and groups being recognized by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council.

Viva Swanson, leadership development advisor for Northern Health in the northeast region, was recognized as an ‘Everyday Champion’ for patient safety and quality care as part of the council's 2023 BC Quality Awards.

The patient council says Swanson’s work “has significantly improved how people are cared for in BC’s northeastern communities, which are among the most culturally diverse and remote in the province, with residents facing daily challenges accessing health care.”

“Over the years, that’s meant taking on roles that often fell outside her sphere as a registered nurse and certified perinatal nurse specialist to include major project management and leadership development,” the council said.

“But no matter the project, Viva jumps in with both feet, inspiring others to join her.”

Swanson was recognized for a long list of accomplishments and initiatives throughout her career, including:

  • providing clinical support for the design and construction of the Fort St. John Hospital and Peace Villa long-term care home;

  • working with the North Peace Division of Family Practice to lead the implementation of a new prenatal clinic in an underutilized space in the hospital after Fort St. John lost 13 family physicians in 2013, which left prenatal patients without access to primary care other than attending the ER. The clinic was opened and operational within two months in January 2014;

  • working with the North Peace Division of Family Practice to open the unattached patient clinic in July 2014;

  • working as executive lead for Northern Health’s Perinatal program, establishing a team approach across all disciplines and identifying regional quality improvement opportunities that would benefit rural and remote communities; and

  • leading the launch of drive-thru vaccination clinics as well as Northern Health's vaccination van during the COVID-19 pandemic to increase vaccination rates for rural, remote and vulnerable people. The van travelled across the northeast reaching farming communities, farmers’ markets, First Nation communities, industry camps, highway pullouts, and businesses.

“I try every day to be the best version of myself,” Swanson told the patient council. “I’m an early adopter with a significant case of FOMO (fear of missing out)!”

“Viva’s work, and really her soul, are rooted in Fort St. John, and she looks for opportunities to benefit others and their communities,” said Peter Martin, project leader for workforce sustainability, housing, and childcare initiatives for Northern Health.

“Viva has demonstrated dogged persistence in addressing the needs of others. She combines a love of others with a creative approach that consistently searches for opportunities to forward the initiative that she is working on.”

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