Our VGH OR Renewal clinical leads (l to r): Drs. Rael Klein and Oliver Applegarth, Anesthesia; and Drs. Peter Gooderham and Kelly Lefaivre, Surgery.

Meet the docs designing VGH’s OR expansion

Since February’s announcement of the VGH OR Renewal Project, teams have been assembled, experts engaged and design consultations with physicians and staff are well underway.

The $102-million project jointly funded by VCH, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and the BC government will expand the VGH OR suite to the third floor of Jim Pattison Pavilion (JPP) North, directly above the current OR suite.

John Filer, Clinical Project Manager

Scheduled to open in early 2021, the new OR suite will include 16 state-of-the-art universal operating rooms (ORs), a 40-bed consolidated pre- and post-operative unit, upgraded infrastructure and much more. A new elevator between JPP 2 and 3 will be added to optimize patient flow.

At the heart of this project you’ll find our clinical leads. Core members of the Project Team, these physicians play key roles in design discussions, working alongside John Filer, clinical project manager, nurses and other perioperative staff, and numerous experts.

So far the design process has been inclusive, in-depth and indisputably exciting. VCH News asked the project’s clinical leads why and more.

Why is serving as a clinical lead important to you?

Dr. Oliver Applegarth, Anesthesiologist

Dr. Oliver Applegarth: “As someone who enjoys new challenges, this project allows me to tap into my creative side (as much as I have one), and gets me working in a dynamic team environment. VGH, and everyone I work with, has given so much to me as a person over the years and this project represents one avenue for me to give back.”

Dr. Peter Gooderham: “I believe that while it’s easier to find fault, it’s more productive to do the heavy lifting and help make things better for our patients and for ourselves. I expect to have a long career at VGH, and I feel I have a responsibility to take an active role and be part of the solution for our future.”

Dr. Rael Klein: “Serving as a clinical lead for the VGH OR Renewal Project is an excellent opportunity to be involved in a project that will markedly improve our work environment, patient access and, as result, patient outcomes.”

Dr. Kelly Lefaivre: “VGH has a world-class surgical program, and I’m excited to help shape its future. I think we need to build to meet present needs and for the future — surgery is always getting more complex, and equipment is always evolving.”

Dr. Peter Gooderham, Neurosurgeon

From your experience or travels, which OR features should we consider for VGH?

Dr. Klein: “Improved integration of technology and better utilization of our space for improved flow.”

Dr. Gooderham: “It’s not about the ‘sexy’ things, but rather building the right framework — universal ORs — and improving workflow in and around the OR for better patient and staff flow.”

How would you describe your experience so far?

Dr. Kelly Lefaivre, Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Applegarth: “I’m amazed by the degree of organization and focus that the team demonstrates. As a clinician at the table, those we represent would appreciate the degree to which universal stakeholder involvement is given top priority, ensuring that all people who may use this new space feel engaged, and their opinions respected.”

Dr. Lefaivre: “It’s been a great learning experience to see the knowledge base that all of the different members of the team bring. As a singular clinician, you rarely get to see the scope of what happens behind the scenes to make a facility like this run.”

What do you want your OR colleagues to know about the project?

Dr. Rael Klein, Anesthesiologist

Dr. Applegarth: “The team’s focus is to create a cutting-edge workspace that accommodates everyone’s needs. My hope is that what we create is not only state-of-the-art but also the envy of others and recognized as the benchmark design for other OR builds.”

Dr. Lefaivre: “We’re going to build a modern, efficient and truly universal set of ORs that will work for everyone.”

Dr. Klein: “We’re developing a design that will suit all parties and improve patient access in the long run.”

Dr. Gooderham: “I’ve been impressed by how much every service has put in the effort to participate and consult with us on design. We’ll repay that effort by making sure that the build will work everyone and especially for our patients.”

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    1. Andrea Bisaillon says:

      Thank you for your question Jennifer. As you can imagine, this is one of the first questions that people ask around the VGH OR Renewal Project. I am please to confirm that we do have a plan in place to recruit/train OR nurses. With the support of HR and clinical education, we have been closing the gap with our vacancies in the VGH OR. Our vacancy forecast demonstrates that we will fill all of our baseline needs for our current staffing levels this year. We will then direct our focused attention to recruiting/training OR nurses to fill vacation relief and other relief positions in order to better manage leaves and vacancies as they arise.

      To assist in this process, the province is adopting the Americal OR Nursing Program (AORN Program) for education this fall. This program provides quality on-site education in a shorter timeframe than our current program so new RN’s will become fully productive team members earlier. As a result, we expect our number of OR RN grads to more than double from 30 to 68 per year within VCH. The first VGH class will begin in September 2017.

    1. John Filer says:

      Hi Sarah,
      Apart from myself, there have been 17 nurses from the operating room and a further 6 nursing staff from PCC and PACU who have attended sessions as part of the design process. We have also had representation from AAs and Perfusion as well as Radiology.
      There have been many opportunities to talk with me during my open house visits to the OR and I have recieved questions and suggestions from at least another 20 or more nurses who have not attended the sessions, as well as other disciplines from the OR. I have taken and recorded these suggestions and presented them to the group.
      As you will see at next weeks Grand Rounds there is going to be more opportunity to become involved as we roll out our IT and equipment streams of work and move to the full size mock up space. We will be looking for input into what you actually want, to do your job the best way possible.
      You and others like you are the future of our OR, so please keep your questions coming and talk to your Head Nurses about being involved. This is going to be your department, make it somewhere you want to work in for the next 30 years.

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