Patients who come in to Unit W2A at Eagle Ridge Hospital during Unit Clerk Linda Hutnan’s shift can expect to be greeted with a warm smile and cheery hello.

In this bustling, high-traffic surgical ward, Linda’s sunny presence, attention to detail and efficiency make a world of difference.

“Linda’s positive outlook, her caring nature and her can-do attitude has a huge impact on the staff’s morale on the unit,” says Linda’s manager, Clinical Manager Kelly Wallace. “To our patients and family members, Linda’s attentiveness and cheerful welcoming gives the family a feeling of reassurance that their family member is in the right place for good care.” 

Fifteen years ago, Linda left her long-term career as a dental assistant in order to fulfil her lifelong dream of working in a hospital. Upon completing her unit clerk training, she was hired to Unit W2A at Eagle Ridge where she has stayed for all these years. “I’m going to be here until I can’t work anymore, retiring at 65 means nothing to me.” Linda laughs.

In her role, Linda oversees all sorts of moving pieces on the unit to ensure things move smoothly for patients and the care team; she coordinates medical instructions and resources, communicates with patients and health care providers and ensures the patient flow is as efficient as possible.

“I love my job because it is so fast-paced and I get to see the difference our team makes in people’s lives,” Linda says. “Patients come in with broken bones or in need of reconstructive surgery— they come in on stretchers and with a lot of issues. And then they’re walking out when they are discharged, sometimes within just a few days. Their lives are changed.”

Linda also took the initiative to lead Releasing Time to Care on her unit, an internationally recognized approach to point-of-care quality improvement. As part of this framework, she led huddles every shift to encourage staff to raise concerns and to discuss solutions. “This was a great opportunity for the staff to implement changes that improved the care experience for our patients as well as for staff,” she says.

Beyond being excellent at her job, Linda takes the initiative to make patients, family members and her teammates feel seen and appreciated.

“I come in early every shift so I can walk around the hospital and get my exercise,” Linda says. “While I walk, I say hi to everyone I come in contact with, patients and staff, and I’ve made it my goal to learn a new person’s name every week. Getting to know people from different units and different walks of life helps me have a better understanding of what others are going through.”

Linda also makes a point to remember and celebrate each of her teammate’s birthdays, retirements and anniversaries. “Recently someone on the unit celebrated their 60th birthday,” Kelly recalls. “Linda brought a homemade bouquet made of 60 lollipops. It brought smiles to the whole team and reminded us how valued we are.”

“Her dedication and willingness to take the extra step in creating a healthy and happy workplace sets her apart,” Kelly continues. “She is so much more than a unit clerk, she is the heartbeat of our unit.”

Linda is the recipient of this year’s Above and Beyond Fraser Health Hero Award.

Read more about this year’s other Above and Beyond Award recipients.


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