IHI Associate Delegate
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3. Connie irwin
Hi everyone! My name is Connie and I am very excited to be running for this year’s Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Delegate position!
I have recently completed an Honours Bachelor of Science specializing in Biomedical Science at the University of Ottawa. During my studies, I coupled my science-based education with summer employment that built on the interpersonal and quality aspects of health; spending a total of three summers working in the Environmental Health program at my local public health unit, focusing in areas of safe water and vector-borne disease, followed by a summer working with the Local Health Integration Network in Systems Quality.
Overall, I have strived to create a sense of well-roundedness in my experiences, and to continually assess and evaluate projects and programs that I have worked on to bring about measurable differences and improved quality in population health. I strongly believe my diverse background will lead to a fulfilling IHI position as I seek further opportunities to educate, and further explore further into the (exciting!) world of quality improvement. Examples of my work and interests in quality improvement (QI) can be viewed below:
While working in public health, my evaluation in the vector-borne disease surveillance program led to changes that incorporated an interdisciplinary collaboration with local entomologists to include tick data collected through domestic animals in the passive surveillance of Lyme disease. This ultimately included the creation of an Ixodes scapularis/vegetation map to further allow targeted health promotion to the public to proportionally increase their awareness based on areas of geographic risk. These findings were shared with other healthcare practitioners at The Ontario Public Health Convention in March 2018 in Toronto, ON. Notably, I have additionally created a number of health promotion and illness prevention strategies based on heat-, vector- and water-borne illnesses.
While working in Systems Quality, most of my research focused on methods to decrease the amount of “hallway medicine” that is practiced by alleviating alternative-level care (patients that are in areas of hospital where they do not require the intensity of resources and would benefit most from external resources such as long-term care, community programs, etc.), with focuses in Northern Ontario. This was done by way of researching methods aimed at preventing 30-day readmissions and 30-day visits to the Emergency Department, including improved follow-ups for acute care patients post-discharge, and increased care for complex patients (those with three or more chronic conditions), whose 5% status in Canada accounts for ~80% of the nation’s total healthcare costs. I also investigated ways of promoting Senior-Friendly hospitals (with attention to improved detection of delirium, earlier ambulation, falls prevention, etc.) among other subjects.
As your IHI Delegate, I will continue to use this curiosity to seek out exogenous opportunities for learning in our program and will work to build upon the work of last year’s first-year IHI delegate. I aim to reach out to professionals in the QI research-rich city of Toronto! Trust me when I say I’m totally a QI nerd and am always excited about adopting best practices and continuing education to ensure comprehensive care to patients/clients. Side note: QI also improves efficiency, efficacy and safety of work by healthcare providers in the workplace! If you’re wanting to learn more or discuss on areas of interest, I’m always open for a chat!
To close this off, I hope to share this passion with you through events in the coming year and to increase awareness of QI. After all, this mindset of “continually bettering” ourselves and our practices to lead to improved health statuses and professional performance are foundational goals of nursing! Thank you for your time and consideration. Happy voting!