Cheryl Ackert: Listening and responding to the needs of clients

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 10:30am

Most clients at Harbour View Lodge in Sheet Harbour know nurse Cheryl Ackert by name. The families of the long-term residents know Cheryl too - as the friendly voice at the end of the phone and the warm, caring person who goes out of her way to make sure their loved one’s needs are met.

In addition to her role as charge nurse at Harbour View Lodge, Cheryl also works collaboratively with nursing staff at Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital’s Adult Day Clinic. Whatever role she is playing, she focuses on working with her colleagues to meet the needs of those they serve.

Cheryl appreciates the opportunity to connect and build relationships with clients at Harbour View Lodge. “I give the clients hugs and I listen to their needs. They really appreciate it,” says Cheryl. Whether Cheryl is caring for clients, talking to families or working with colleagues to provide clients with the best possible care, her philosophy is the same. “Face-to-face relationships are so important.”

Cheryl says working in a small community is conducive to building and maintaining strong relationships that ultimately benefit patients and clients.  She works closely with family doctors, home care, community pharmacy staff and caregivers to provide the best care possible. For patients in hospital and residents in long-term care, this means making sure they have the right bed in the right facility. For patients or clients who are being discharged home, it means linking them with services like home care, telecare and the hospital’s adult day clinic.

Each client at Harbour View Lodge has an individualized care plan that continuing care assistants follow. When Cheryl began work at Harbour View, she changed the language of the care plans to reflect the first person. For example, a client’s care plan might say, “I like to have my hair done” or “I like to wear jewellery.” Using the first person makes the care plans more personal and more meaningful.

Suzanne MacDonald-Gilby, clinical nurse educator for the Tri-Facilities, speaks to Cheryl’s approach with patients, families and colleagues. “Cheryl provides care with compassion and understanding. She is a wealth of knowledge and mentors new staff with respect and acceptance. She’s a valued member of our health care team.”