Welcome to the first in a series of stories dedicated to profiling the people who keep the wheels moving at Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH). These stories will showcase various people, their roles, and highlight the improvements the new patient care tower will provide to their work and the overall patient care experience.
Penticton’s cardiology department currently operates in a small corner of the hospital’s main floor. The department consists of four physicians, four echocardiographers, six cardiology technologists, two administrative support staff members and up to three students at a time.
Each month, the department receives more than 1,700 patient visits. These visits include patients seeking echocardiogram tests, electrocardiogram tests, Holter monitor device hookups, regional scans and stress tests.
Cardiology technologist Karen Judenhagen and cardiac sonographer Laura Harp have both been in the department for the past 16 years. Judenhagen says she chose cardiology because she enjoyed the combination of working with people and using her brain. Harp says she chose cardiology because of the type of interactions with patients and the medical team it provides.
Both say the cardiology department’s staff members are what make the department such a great place to work.
“Everyone from the physicians, to the clerks and technologists work incredibly well together to form a caring team,” says Harp.
“We care about each other and our patients and it shows.” Since the department is small, every room is multi-purpose and it can get very cramped. “It is sometimes a challenge to keep people’s health situation private,” adds Judenhagen.
Thankfully, more space is on the way. The cardiology department in the new patient care tower will be three times larger than the current space and will allow the department to expand its services offering three new treadmill bays, three new electrocardiogram rooms, two new cardiac device clinic bays, an additional echo room and additional physician consultation rooms that will help improve patient privacy.
The patient waiting areas will also be much larger to accommodate the increased patients to the department.
At six storeys high and 26,000 square metres, the new patient care tower will increase capacity and functionality of ambulatory care services, include five new operating rooms, 84 new single patient rooms, a rooftop helipad and space to allow the UBC Faculty of Medicine program to expand.
The new patient care tower will also accommodate renovations to significantly expand the emergency department and update the pharmacy, supplies and equipment stores in the existing hopsital.