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Kim Oliver was inadvertently destined to be a great nurse while growing up on P.E.I.
The 46-year-old Woodvale resident says she does not recall ever having any particular calling to the profession she has passionately embraced for a quarter century.
“I just grew up in a loving family. … There is no background history of my family being involved in nursing," says Oliver, who is the registered nurse supervisor at Margaret Stewart Ellis Home in O’Leary.
“I guess I grew up with a strong work ethic and morals and values and beliefs. It was a good environment … you treat people with kindness and respect."
Consistently incorporating those strong characteristics into her career as a nurse has led Oliver to receive the 2020 Shelley L. Woods Excellence in Person-Centered Care Award. The award recognizes a Health P.E.I. employee working in long-term care who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to the person-centered care philosophy.
Suzanne St. Amand, a resident care worker at Margaret Stewart Ellis Home, describes Oliver as hard working, kind, patient and approachable.
“Our residents all love her, and their eyes light up when she is around," says Amand.
She notes Oliver, who is a foot care nurse, will often come in to work on her own time to provide foot care to all 39 residents of the long-term care facility.
“She goes above and beyond what is expected of her," says Amand.
“Kim is a great advocate for her staff," she adds, “and is always willing to lend a hand when needed."
Oliver is touched by the award, calling it a humbling experience.
She is quick to not only thank her co-workers for nominating her, but also in noting the award reflects well on them.
“I try to be part of that team," she says.
“We all have different responsibilities and roles but we all have the same goal to make sure our priority is to ensure that our residents are safe and secure and that we are providing the best care that we can for them."
Oliver was in the first class of the four-year nursing program at UPEI. They graduated in 1996.
She started her nursing career at Community Hospital in O’Leary, working for seven or eight years in acute care and in the emergency department.
“It was a good experience," she recalls. “You learn a lot of skills because you are a new grad coming out (of university)."
A mother of three, Oliver went on to work at Margaret Stewart Ellis Home in 2004, one year after the facility opened.
She was a supervisor right from the start – a demanding role requiring good leadership skills.
“You’re trying to be a team leader," she says. “You are advocating for residents and families. … You’re involved in the day-to-day functions. You have a lot of accountability and responsibility."
The most rewarding work, though, is always that personal interaction with residents.
“I guess the thing that stands out the most when it comes to residents is just the simple thing like they will grab your hand and say they love you," she says. “There’s some you really get a soft spot for. You really feel that connection. … They become part of your family because you are there so often, and you see them so often."
Oliver says while nursing offers the opportunity to enjoy a diverse career, she is quite comfortable in her current role and workplace.
“I feel I am very content," she says. “I don’t foresee any changes."
Soon Oliver will be joined in her vocation by a family member. Her daughter, MacKenzie Oliver, has just graduated from the same nursing program at UPEI that Oliver completed 24 years ago.
“It makes me feel old … but it makes me feel very proud that she chose this profession as well," she says. “She’s a quiet leader and I think that she might get some of that from me as well"
About the award
- The Shelley L. Woods Excellence in Person-Centered Care Award recognizes a Health P.E.I. employee working in long-term care who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to the person-centered care philosophy.
- This annual award is named in honour of Shelley L. Woods. She is a retired nurse and former chief nursing officer for long‐term care with Health P.E.I. Woods demonstrated strong person‐centered care throughout her work and interactions with residents.
- Person-centered care includes treating residents as individuals, working to help them make decisions and manage their health, trusting and supportive relationships with residents and being compassionate and respectful.