Hospital News salutes Nursing Hero Nominee Carol Aird

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Carol Aird RN – Peterborough Regional Health Centre

Carol graduated from the McMaster School of Nursing in 1977. Her first job was outpost nursing, providing primary healthcare to isolated communities in northern Manitoba and the Northwest Territories.

In 1980, she returned to Ontario and worked as a Staff Nurse with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) in Toronto. Carol became a Public Health Nurse with the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit in 1983. From 1985 to1989 she was a Nursing Supervisor with the HKPR Health Unit and then with the Lindsay VON.

These early experiences provided Carol with the opportunity to become an advocate for the health and wellness of women and their children. Carol believed that with information and support, women could make the best choices in all aspects of their health care. This made her a prime candidate for her next role with the former Peterborough Civic Hospital. In 1989, Carol was the first Registered Nurse hired for the newly-developed Women’s Health Care Centre. This unique Centre was one of only four in Ontario, funded by the provincial government.

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In 1991, the Women’s Health Care Centre moved offsite, to a downtown location, to provide hospital-based and accessible services to women in the community. Carol worked in that offsite location for 20 years, playing a pivotal role in developing and expanding health care services for women in the City of Peterborough and surrounding regions. She established mutually respectful relationships with physicians, colleagues and our community partners, forming critical, collaborative relationships which are still in place today.

In 1998, Carol obtained her Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate from Queen’s University, thus filling the first Nurse Practitioner role at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. She continues her education through the Practice-Based Learning Programs of the Foundation for Medical Education, McMaster University. She gives back by mentoring and supervising new students to the program.

Women tell us they can talk to Carol about anything. Carol not only talks to her patients, she really listens. She never judges. She just helps. Her warmth, compassion and professionalism equip her well to meet the needs of our culturally, socioeconomically and demographically diverse population.

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Carol’s schedule is fully booked with patients each day. You will hear her cheerful banter. “Hi, I’m Carol. Carol Aird. Nurse Practitioner here.” She has known many of her patients for years. She knows their families and their life stories. She always finds the time to take those last minute phone calls, to consult with a peer or to squeeze in one more patient. If not recognized by name, Carol is recognized by her long red hair, her big heart and her great shoes!

Within the Women’s Health Care Centre, Carol has a role in each of our programs. Through her experience and commitment to lifelong learning, she has worked to become expert in the areas of eating disorders, reproductive and sexual health, contraception, unplanned pregnancy, menopause, breast cancer, osteoporosis and sexual and domestic violence. Carol is the one designated medical examiner for pediatric victims of sexual assault/abuse in our region. She is well-known and trusted by professionals across the hospital and the community.

Carol performs her duties with dignity. As a member of the multidisciplinary teams, Carol is valued for her tendency to share her skills and expertise, and for conveying her respect for the roles and expertise of others. Though she is viewed as an informal leader, she is consistent in her belief in the equal value of each team member.

From a professional perspective, Carol’s performance is exceptional. She will soon retire after 38 years in the profession. She will be missed, but Women’s Health Care is richer for what she has provided.

 

 

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