March 26, 2019

Information management is very critical in clinical practice, says nursing alumna

50 Faces of Nursing: Lucy Reyes, MN’91

Lucy Reyes, MN’91, is passionate about health informatics. In addition to her UCalgary Nursing degree, she holds a Certificate in Healthcare Ethics from the University of Washington and a Diploma in Health Informatics from the University of Victoria.

“Information management is very critical in clinical practice,” she says. “Health informatics principles combined with clinical knowledge management is very beneficial to the clinician at the bedside, the frontline leader, who manages care and human resources as well as the organization leader that synthesize the information for funding purposes or program expansion.”

During the course of her career, Reyes was instrumental in the early phases of the Electronic Health Record for the former Calgary Health Region. In 2006, she was instrumental in creating and opening a 45-bed medical unit at the Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) primarily staffed by internationally educated nurses and working with academics to ease their transition into a Canadian nursing environment. She was eventually assigned as chair of the Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN) Provincial Advisory Committee, a joint venture between Alberta Health Services, Mount Royal University, University of Calgary, College and Association of Registered Nurses in Alberta and Canadian Immigration.

Following her retirement in 2016 from her role as manager of Cardiac Specialty Services and Medical Cardiology at the Foothills Medical Centre, she was hired in a casual position to continue the work of PERFORM (Performance Evaluation and Rhythm Follow up Optimization through Remote Monitoring), as clinical lead for the remote monitoring project that connected patients living with a Cardiac Implantable Electronic Defibrillators (CIED) to their designated programs remotely across the province. In addition to this role, she also acted as project manager for the entire PERFORM project.

Rita Lisella, BN’82, MN’91, who nominated Reyes, says she first met Reyes in 1980 when she was an undergraduate nursing student at the Calgary General Hospital (CGH).

“Lucy has been an unforgettable person that has shaped my nursing career from the onset as she hired me into my first full-time RN position on a medical teaching unit at the CGH. She led by example, she advocated for patients and families, mentored staff, and established positive collegial relationships with the health care team.”

What’s a memorable experience you had at UCalgary Nursing and its significance to your career?
“I was part of the first part-time students in the program combining full-time work, part-time studies and family life. After being away from the academic setting for the last 10 years prior to my admission, going back to the classroom had its own challenges, but with the help of my faculty advisor, I was able to pull through with my marks from my initial pass marks to excellent as we progressed in the program. I was the first internationally educated nurse to graduate.”

What most excites you about the future of nursing?
“Lots! Advances such as robotics technology cannot replace the art of caring; the humanistic component in nursing delineates it from the other professions. The expanded scope of RNs and their ability to prescribe, their roles in the interdisciplinary collaboration positions themselves strategically. The future of nursing is dependent on how well our nursing leaders in academia, practice and research position themselves strategically during interdisciplinary discussions.”

Is there a nursing issue you are especially passionate about or you would like to change?
“As a profession, we need to continue to market our advocacy roles in society.”

What’s your best advice for aspiring nurses?
“Understand how you can apply your foundational courses. For urgent issues in society, think outside the box. Always remember to have a big heart in everything you do. Your role as a nurse is a privilege – to be able to help people at their happiest or most difficult moments. Take care of yourself; it will be hard to care for others if you yourself are needing care.”

All through 2019, we'll be highlighting 50 Faces of Nursing and profiling outstanding nursing members in celebration of our 50th anniversary. If you know someone noteworthy (faculty, staff, alum, students, partners, etc.) who you would like us to feature, tell us more with this short online form. For more, visit nursing.ucalgary.ca/50