Susan Cox-Russell

“I mentor home care nurses to meet patients and families where they are, and listen to their story. I’m amazed how families care for loved ones at end-of-life. Even with my knowledge, I think: Could I do that?”

"As a child I was told I’d make a good nurse because I was empathic. At 16, I got a rare autoimmune disease called ITP where antibodies destroy your platelets: they thought I had leukemia. A surgeon removed my spleen. It was tough but I saw the difference a compassionate nurse makes.      

I‘m from P.E.I. so I studied nursing at Dalhousie then worked at Vancouver General Hospital where I cared for palliative patients. I joined Burnaby Home Health in 1991 and now I’m a palliative clinician. I mentor home care nurses to have an open mind, meet patients and families where they are, and listen to their story.

I’m amazed how families care for loved ones at end-of-life. Even with my knowledge, I think: Could I do that? With the After Hours Palliative Nursing Service, I once arranged a pain prescription for a woman who wanted to die at home but had severe pain. She died peacefully an hour later. Those things matter.      

I met my husband playing volleyball on Kitsilano beach. We still play. We’ve competed in Europe on Masters teams: my team won gold in finals. Now one son plays professionally in Prague. He’s 6’10 – a real advantage!"

- Susan Cox-Russell, Nurse Clinician, Palliative Care Program, Burnaby Home Health 

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