On Canada Day weekend, the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) honoured 150 nurses from across the country as part of Canada’s 150 celebrations. CNA looked for innovators and champions in health care to profile in Canadian Nurse and on the CNA website, starting July 1.
With the help of the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARNNL) and the regional health authorities, they selected 10 registered nurses in this province who fit their criteria.
Pittman, regional risk manager for Labrador-Grenfell Health, was the honouree selected in her region.
“I was very grateful that Labrador-Grenfell Health and the nursing leadership team ended up selecting me,” she says. “That’s an honour, to be selected by your peers. And it’s an honour to be nominated by your organization for such an historic award.”
As part of the honour, ARNNL presented a certificate to Pittman on June 9, prior to the Canada Day announcement.
Originally from Cook’s Harbour, Pittman has been working at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony since March 14, 1990.
“It was quite an honour graduating from nursing and coming back to your hometown to give back to your home people,” she says.
In that time, Pittman has taken on a variety of roles. She started out working as a frontline nurse in the intensive care unit (ICU), which she says allowed her to have a great deal of direct connectivity with clients at the hospital.
Eventually, she took on the team leader position in ICU, overseeing assignments. Pittman was stationed at the ICU for the first 16 years of career.
During this time, she was also a medevac nurse, travelling from Nain to St. Anthony and everywhere in between. In that time, she felt like she became a visible figure not just to the bigger hospitals, but also to the people in the smaller community clinics and health centres in the region.
Since 2005, she’s worked in a variety of regional roles, currently as the regional risk manager. In this role, she is a facilitator in helping different groups mitigate risks and put in proactive patient safety strategies.
Throughout her career, Pittman has continued with her education, having done many courses since she graduated in 1990.
According to Pittman, nurses must be accountable, knowledgeable, ethical, and visible in their community and within their regional health authorities.
She says she approaches every day hoping to do the best job she possibly can for the benefit of her clients.
“Every day I leave work feeling good that I’ve given the best that I could to my position and my role for what my mandate is,” she says. “No matter what I do, to me it always come back to what my focus is, and that’s the client.”
The most important thing for her is to always promote safe patient care.
She feels she’s an easygoing person and says one of her skills is that she’s a strong listener. Her approachability helps fellow staff and clients.
Along the way, many people have helped Pittman become the person and nurse she is. Firstly, there are her parents, Juanita and Reginald Decker, to whom Pittman is thankful for always promoting and supporting her education.
In her early days starting out as a nurse, she says if anyone was a mentor to her, it was Jane Johannessen, a former nurse at Labrador-Grenfell Health who Pittman says perceived some of the qualities she had as a nurse and helped promote those qualities.
“I can remember when I became the medevac instructor, Jane approached me about taking on that,” she says. “As a junior nurse, Jane was always the person that would say, ‘you know what Beverly, you should do that.’”
“Jane Johannessen was very much a mentor in my novice days as a nurse, and leading me down to that path of taking on new challenges and expanding my knowledge and skills.”
Then there is the support she has gotten from her husband Derrick and her children, Kelly and Neil.
“I’m always doing courses and they’re used to seeing me at the kitchen table doing assignments, so having their patience, too, has helped me to be able to proceed in doing further education to augment my skills in the various roles I’ve been in,” she says.
Pittman also wished to thank the International Grenfell Association for financial support for her continued education, and Labrador-Grenfell Health and Donny Sampson and the nursing team at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital for selecting her for this award.
Per the Canadian Nurses Association, “Beverly has worked as frontline nurse and team leader in the Intensive Care Unit at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony for 16 years. She is a strong advocate. For example; she was successful in obtaining funding for 10 co-workers and herself to complete Canadian Nurses Association Cardiovascular Certification. She embraces new challenges such as the roles of infection control/ risk management coordinator, regional patient safety officer and currently as regional risk manager. Beverly promotes professionalism and is an active member on ARNNL Council and committees. A long-standing employee of Labrador-Grenfell Health, she symbolizes what nursing is.”