Jane Fox, Aboriginal liaison nurse at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, advocates on behalf of First Nations communities accessing the hospital. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Nurse comes home to ‘dream job’ at Saanich Peninsula Hospital

Jane Fox is the first Aboriginal liaison nurse at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital

Going to the hospital to receive care may seem like a daunting task to some, especially for First Nations people, as historical trauma and inter-generational trauma may discourage many from seeking the care they need.

That’s where Jane Fox comes in. As the Aboriginal liaison nurse at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital for the last seven years, one of Fox’s main jobs is to advocate on behalf of all First Nations coming into the hospital to ensure that they feel comfortable when seeking care.

“Historically, they aren’t comfortable coming into a non-Indigenous institution,” she said. “Nobody really likes to go to the hospital, but [among] Aboriginal Peoples, there is probably a higher number of people, who don’t like coming.”

In her role, Fox receives referrals from nurses whenever members of First Nation communities receive hospital care, be it through emergency service, surgical day care or out-patient services.

“If I get called and asked to see somebody, I do,” she said. “I also pick up my own referrals just by using the computer system and seeing who is coming into the hospital. I recognize peoples’ names.”

RELATED: Saanich Peninsula foundation looks to grow funding for hospital memory garden

Fox also helps members of First Nations communities stay in touch with each other, consults with local health practitioners, while connecting patients with resources, and serves as a source of information for hospital staff. “I’m also a support for Island Health staff as a go-to person for questions about culture and family systems,” she said.

Fox is the first person to hold the position at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and something that she “really, really wanted” because of her previous work for an Aboriginal health authority and familiarity with region and its people. “It is in my community, I live out here, and I used to work in two of the four Nations [Tseycum and Pauquachin] that surround the hospital [as a community health nurse],” she said.

READ ALSO: After 26 years, Vancouver Island First Nations group moves to final treaty negotiations

One of the ways Fox has made the First Nations community feel welcome is through the creation and installation of four welcoming poles outside the hospital in 2015.

Prior to the creation of the totem poles, there was only one piece of First Nations artwork in the hospital. Fox decided that needed to change. So she helped secure funding for the project, and Western Forest Products donated the four old-growth red cedar logs, with the 15-foot totem poles were created by carvers from each of the four Nations in the area — Tsartlip, Tsawout, Tseycum and Pauquachin First Nation.

“People love them,” she said. “They talk about them. They are beautiful.”

Another project close to Fox’s heart is a Journey Home, a project aimed at creating an improved palliative care model for First Nations people.

Starting about five years ago, the hospital hosted several meetings with people from the W’SANEC Nation, and heard loud and clear that people from these communities wanted caregivers at the hospital to understand their cultural ways at this time of life so care on the Palliative Care Unit at the hospital could be more culturally sensitive. They also wanted to be better understood and better supported at home in their community if they chose to keep someone at home in their last days.

From that, the team, including Fox, created a five-month learning opportunity for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to educate one another on palliative care that became a broad educational experience for all participating parties.

“The biggest take-away from all of this was the relationship building between the non-Indigenous people and the First Nations people, the people in the community, and the health team and the hospital,” she said.

The entire process was also documented in a new film, called A Journey Home, premiering at Mary Winspear Centre Oct. 30.

Fox looks forward to seeing the film and its portrayal of a far-reaching collective process. But if it captures a sometimes difficult, but ultimately rewarding and successful process, the film’s title also pays tribute to Fox’s personal and professional journey into her position.

At the age of 65, Fox has arrived in a place where she feels she can make the biggest difference.

“This is my dream job at the end of my career,” she said.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

View Royal Coun. John Rogers stands next to an unearthed home heating oil tank. As a way to prevent environmental disasters, he is lobbying for a provincial registration system and mandatory inspection for all above-ground tanks, as well as a requirement to remove any underground tanks not used for a prescribed period of time. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Efforts to regulate Greater Victoria home heating oil tanks continues

View Royal councillor part of movement to identify old tanks, prevent catastrophic leaks

International Bat Week (Oct. 24-31) is a time for people to learn more about the nocturnal creatures and how to protect them. (Photo by Cory Olson)
Holy Halloween, it’s Bat Week!

Bats have been getting a bad rap — B.C. Bat Program looks to change that

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at Vancouver Island location

Sail Canada picks military facility at 19 Wing Comox for wind, waves and accommodations

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks in Georgia Strait

Pod spotted between Comox and Texada Island

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Emergency crews respond to an apartment fire on Tuesday, Oct. 20. (PHOTO COURTESY JERRY FEVENS)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate possible arson

Fire was contained but three people displaced in aftermath

Graham Hughes, front, who ran as an independent candidate in the B.C. provincial election, sits with half a dozen supporters in front of Our Home on Eighth shelter, where Hughes is protesting the way homelessness has been dealt with in Port Alberni, on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Protesters occupy Port Alberni’s shelter

Former election candidate leads sit-in outside to protest homelessness

Most Read