This year, David Waller is celebrating a decade of working at BC Children's Hospital (BC Children’s).
He knew from an early age that he wanted to become a pediatric nurse. At age 11, he had surgery to remove his appendix. During his treatment, he received wonderful care from a male nurse, which made a significant impression on him. In his hospital bed, he told his mother that he wanted to be a nurse, and he has never looked back.
David is truly passionate about his work as a clinician. When asked why his work is so important to him, he remarks that, “It may sound cliché, but what I enjoy most about working at BC Children’s Hospital is making a difference to a child and their family every day. I know that as an individual nurse at the bedside or the senior nurse on the unit leading a team I can make a positive impact on the care of a sick child.”
He has held many roles at BC Children’s including working as a nurse and clinical nurse coordinator in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and as the emergency department program manager. In his current role with the C&W Redevelopment Project, David has been able to bring his clinical expertise to the design of the PICU in the new Teck Acute Care Centre (Teck ACC) at BC Children's.
David understands the way clinicians work, and what they need to provide excellent patient care. He also has seen firsthand how space affects patients and their families. Together, he and other care providers are influencing the PICU designs to ensure that the new space will allow them to continue providing exceptional patient care in an improved clinical setting.
He views his role within the redevelopment project as an extension of making a difference in the lives and care of children. “In a clinical setting, I am able to make a difference in the lives of a small number of children every day,” he says, “but the work I’m doing now is my once-in-a-lifetime chance to impact the critical care that children from across BC will receive over the next 30 years in the Teck ACC. That’s an amazing opportunity, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.”
For David, his work is about enhancing patient care, “I enjoy the challenge of making each improvement we can to the building’s design so that, when it opens, we have the best possible environment in which to provide care, for many years to come” he says.
Some of the most significant enhancements to the PICU in the Teck ACC are the move from an open ward to single patient rooms, which will benefit patients and families by reducing noise, shielding them from the activity in the unit, improving infection control and providing more privacy. Another important benefit is having a dedicated space for parents and support persons in the patient rooms, so that they can stay with their child.
These enhancements are particularly important to David. “Providing critical care in a single patient room environment that allows parents to stay close to their child, in a space that does not affect direct patient care, is going to enhance the service we deliver. We are excited about the changes that are going to lead to a more comfortable, more patient-centred environment in the Teck ACC, an environment that will allow us to continue the close and constant observation necessary for our patients, while giving them more privacy but maintaining safety,” he says.
Originally from the UK, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oxford Brookes University. Before moving to Vancouver, he worked as a pediatric nurse in the UK for 13 years, working at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London where he specialized in pediatric critical care.