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Compassionate and committed

The face of health care at the bedside

Ken Borce is Manager of Patient Care at the Intermediate Intensive Care Unit (IICU) at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre
Ken Borce is Manager of Patient Care at the Intermediate Intensive Care Unit (IICU) at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre
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Video: Compassionate and committed

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Published Thursday, May 11, 2017

As a child, Ken Borce was no stranger to the health-care system. But what he learned during those years set his feet on the path to a career in nursing.

"I was a sickly, asthmatic kid when I was young - a frequent flyer in the pediatrician's office – and the nurses who helped me really inspired me because they were there to provide quality care and calm me down."

Now, many years later, Ken is Manager of Patient Care at the Intermediate Intensive Care Unit (IICU) at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre, leading a team of 35 nurses and health- care support staff.

"It sounds fluffy, but what attracted me to nursing is that I really do enjoy helping other people," he says. "It gets me going when I know at the end of the day that I was able to help save a life. I'm the first health-care provider in my family - I come from a family of engineers and business people - and being in health care is really inspiring. The perceived ‘simple things' nurses do can really change a life."

The IICU is a six-bed unit caring for patients from all ICUs in the city who require intensive therapy to be liberated from mechanical ventilation. These patients are past the acute phase of their critical illness but still require comprehensive care. And while the IICU team uses a variety of the latest medical technologies to care for their patients, Borce says the human factor is still the most important tool for nurses.

"We are the constant face of health care at the bedside," he says. "Even if we have a $10 million piece of equipment at our disposal, if we don't treat the patient as a person, if we don't treat them with dignity, if we don't respect them as a person, that equipment is rendered useless. If we don't treat the patient as a person, then we're missing the point of our profession."

That's something his entire nursing staff understands, Borce adds.

"We have a great group of people who are really engaged, compassionate, competent, committed, and who look forward to providing the best care to patients and their families," he says. "I find that inspiring, because we aren't limited to typical nursing tasks, but are willing to go that extra mile to talk to patients, talk to the family members, and encourage them to be part of the care team. We make sure the patients are the active drivers of their care."

It's a rewarding part of what can, at times, be a difficult job.

"I'd be lying if I said there was no stress," Borce says. "There is always stress from many different factors, but what I can see from my team is that they have resilience. Yes, we experience stress, but we know we want to come back tomorrow with a smile because there is a person in that bed who needs our care."

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