Feb. 5, 2019

Nursing alumna demonstrates her passion for patient and family-centred care

50 Faces of Nursing: Pamela Holberton, MN'90

Pam Holberton is an executive director at Calgary’s South Health Campus in the areas of cardiac sciences, critical care, emergency, medicine and respiratory services.

Honouring the needs of families

In her nomination of Pam Holberton, colleague Sandy Harper-Jaques writes: “Pam demonstrated her passion for family-centred care when she was the manager of ICU at FMC in 2003. Through her dedication and collaboration with nurses, physicians and other health-care professionals, the treatment team recognized and attended to the needs of family members alongside the needs of critically ill patients.”

Holberton says, “Through the creative work of our family care committee we implemented a number of initiatives that improved family-centered care. Likely our biggest initiative was inviting the families to be present during rounds. We all recognized that the family knew the patient better than any of the health care team and has valuable insight into the patient’s needs.

“ICU at FMC was also the first unit in the zone to create a compassion cart. We provided food and beverages to families when their loved one was at the end of life. This has now become part of the white rose program. I’m pleased to say that many of these changes have been sustained for the past 15 years.”

What motivates your work and research?

“As an executive director, my portfolio includes critical care, emergency, cardiac sciences, respiratory and medicine. This portfolio is a great fit from my past clinical experience and my focus in my master's program, which was a joint focus on trauma/critical care and family systems nursing.

“What drives me is the ability to make a difference at a program, site, zone and provincial level.”

What’s an unforgettable experience from your time at UCalgary Nursing?

“I was very fortunate to be able to combine my love of critical care and family systems nursing. All my clinical practicums were so meaningful, but in particular my time within the Family Nursing Unit. My graduate degree truly changed my practice.”

What most excites you about the future of nursing or changes coming in the profession?

“I have met so many young, keen and energetic nurses and I feel very positive about the future of nursing.”

Is there a nursing issue you are passionate about or would like to change?

My passion for patient and family-centred care remains very strong. I believe we have come a long way but can still improve.”

Your advice for aspiring nurses?

“Never lose compassion. It is the single most important intervention you can provide.” 

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

Pam Holberton

Pam Holberton