Oncology nurse Analyn Perez was inspired to join the profession by her mother, who recently retired from an entire career as a renal dialysis nurse.
As a nursing student at the University of British Columbia, Analyn wasn’t sure what to specialize in, but after doing various rotations, she was drawn to pediatric oncology. Now, after spending the last 20 years in BC Children’s Hospital’s oncology department, she can’t imagine doing anything else.
“There is something inspirational about working with children and teenagers with cancer,” says Analyn; “adolescents in particular, have a full understanding of what they are going through, but are often able to find the positivity about the situation and embrace the changes.”
While it can be challenging to work in this field, she focuses on the optimism and hope that children innately possess and on her love of her job. A visiting doctor was once touring the unit and commented that the patients were not crying and did not even seem to be upset. This observation spoke to the level of skill, empathy and care the oncology staff were providing to their patients, and it stood out as an impactful moment in Analyn’s career – a testimony to her professional calling.
Two years ago, Analyn joined the C+W Redevelopment team as the clinical lead for oncology. It was a hard transition to make, going from direct patient care to figuring out how to interpret design drawings and architect renderings, neither of which were included in the nursing school curriculum.
The decision to join the team was due to the amount of influence Analyn knew she would have on the design of the new oncology unit in the Teck Acute Care Centre (Teck ACC) at BC Children's Hospital. From seemingly small things like the positioning of light switches to the locations of headwalls, only someone with close knowledge of work flows would be able to provide input on functionality and need. As the clinical lead, it is her responsibility to make sure the new oncology unit is purposefully designed for patients and care providers. Her clinical experience helps to ensure the needs of everyone in the unit are represented.
Along with her work on the clinical side, she is also involved in the Children’s Healing Experience Project, a project led by the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation that will help create inspirational healing experiences by incorporating purposeful artwork into the Teck ACC. The art ranges from sculptures to murals and is designed to engage and comfort children, youth, family and staff.
When the Teck ACC opens in fall 2017, Analyn will return to her role as an oncology procedures nurse and have the opportunity to work in a space with a design influenced by her expertise and experience.
The new oncology unit in the Teck ACC will be housed on the eight floor, combining inpatient and outpatient services onto one floor. With the Oncology/ Hematology/Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) program all together, it will ensure that patients are closer to the resources they require.
The unit will feature 27 single-inpatient rooms with family space and 23 single-outpatient rooms, all with large windows. Oncology patients sometimes stay in the hospital for extended periods of time, so it was important that the rooms were designed with privacy and comfort in mind, for patients and family members alike. Windows in the rooms will provide natural light and accessible patios will allow patients, families and staff to go outside and experience the therapeutic gardens and play areas with natural elements.
More features of the new Oncology/ Hematology/Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) program can be found here.