Olivia Logan is a RPN with a passion for Palliative and End of Life care.
Olivia first became interested in palliative care when she was a new grad working in a retirement home. At that time, Olivia recalls having a resident who was very frail, with very little support. Olivia sometimes felt alone in the situation, and she knew very little about palliative care. Watching this woman deteriorate over just a few short months made her question everything the team was doing to support this patient. With the complexities of this patient’s cancerous sacral wound, and poor symptom management, Olivia felt that more could have been done to help this patient.
Soon after this experience, Olivia started to attend the bi-weekly palliative care committee meetings that the retirement home hosted. The meetings were delivered in part by an external pain and symptom management consultant who provided attendees valuable insights on how to manage the patients care. Although helpful, Olivia felt that this wasn’t enough in order for her to understand the complications and mysteries within the palliative care field.
A few months later Olivia started a second job at the Sainte Elizabeth Bruyère Hospital as a new Palliative Care Nurse. She enjoyed learning about various terminal diagnoses, and proper symptom management, and looked forward to using this knowledge while she cared for her patients. Olivia soon began to feel comfortable facilitating tough conversations with families, learning the journey each patient had taken, and honouring their life by providing the best possible comfort care that she could provide to patients and their families.
The knowledge and experience Olivia had developed started to lead her towards other opportunities. Olivia and her husband decided to make the journey to Toronto after she accepted a position as a Primary Palliative Care Visiting Nurse for VHA Home Healthcare. The team was comprised of 4 dedicated members with exceptional palliative care backgrounds set on a mission to provide comfort care in the community. Olivia recalls this being possibly the hardest, and yet most rewarding job she’s ever had. Families and clients would look up to her and the team for everything and anything – and they were always very grateful for the work that the team did.
One of the greatest series of education Olivia recalls attending while working in the community was the Fundamentals of Palliative Care, Fundamentals of Enhanced Palliative Care, and the Comprehensive Advanced Palliative Care Education (CAPCE). She says that she will be forever grateful for the excellent education delivered by the facilitator. She felt that the instructor was a great role model and advocate in the Palliative Care community, who will always be an inspiration to Olivia.
After completing this thorough education of palliative care, Olivia felt that she had the courage and motivation to apply for an incredible opportunity through her employer. The Research Innovation Fellowship Program was designed to tap in the knowledge of current employees to hear their ideas of how to improve the client experience. Olivia’s topic of choice was improving the total pain and symptom management documentation of the organizations palliative clients, and to her surprise, Olivia was selected!
The Fellowship was something that she had never done before and it was an extremely steep learning curve for Olivia. She had little knowledge about conducting professional research, nor any experience measuring qualitative or quantitative data, but she was up for the challenge. This experience allowed Olivia to break out of her comfort zone and explore an entirely new side of nursing. This is how Olivia found her current role as a Clinical Quality Specialist.
Shortly after completing her fellowship in 2018 Olivia arrived at Think Research. This unique organization collaborates with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, as well as leading associations and other clinical leaders to provide digital tools that enable evidenced-based care for patients. Their software applications, including Clinical Support Tools that help bring best practice to the point of care, while also allowing providers to understand the performance and patient outcomes of their facility. Olivia felt that the fellowship she partook in really prepared her for this role. Her goal was to continue the momentum she had gained in quality improvement, and Olivia was eager to share her experience and insights. Having the opportunity to help shape the future of healthcare at a systems level was fascinating and invigorating to Olivia.
Her role as a Clinical Quality Specialist at Think Research challengers her to continually improve their clinical content, provide education about clinical support tools, and to help nurses feel empowered by the exceptional care they are able to provide. Working in an office has been a change of pace for Olivia, since she was used to being directly involved in patient care, however the glowing feedback that she and her team at Think Research have received has been well received. Through this feedback the team has heard how their work has facilitated quality care, improved clinical workflow and enabled the adoption of best practices, which has been very gratifying for Olivia.
As an RPN, moving outside of her comfort zone has helped Olivia to advance her career in ways that she never would have imagined. Her passion and dedication to quality improvement has allowed her to explore areas that are atypical for RPNs. Olivia says that “I really had to prove to myself that I was capable of this role, and I’m glad I did”. Her advice – “Never be scared away from a job postings’ listed qualifications. If you believe you can do it, then jump in and go for it!”