Sarah Thomas's 24-year career in health care has come full circle with her recent appointment to lead the BC Renal Agency's integrated palliative care project, promoting a palliative care approach for all BC patients with advanced CKD.
Sarah's first job was as a hospice care nurse at Royal Jubilee Hospital in 1994. She had moved to Victoria from Ontario after nursing school because at the time there were very few jobs for new nursing grads.
In 1997 she was approached by a manager who thought she would be a good fit for the hospital's renal unit. She's never looked back.
"The biggest reward of renal is getting to know your patients and getting involved in their day-to-day lives," says Sarah. "I'm a people person, so I love that. In other areas of nursing your patient goes home and you never see them again."
Sarah worked in the Royal Jubilee hemodialysis unit for two years before moving to Vancouver and joining the hemodialysis team at St. Paul's Hospital. She then spent a couple of years teaching nursing at BCIT before returning to St. Paul's, which was just launching its home hemodialysis (HHD) program.
"I really missed the bedside work while I was at BCIT," says Sarah. Her role as a patient educator in the HHD program offered a perfect fit for her skills as a clinician and a teacher, and in 2014 she was recognized by the BC College of Registered Nurses with the Award of Excellence in Nursing Education.
Sarah lives in South Surrey with her husband, two sons, aged 8 and 13, and Molly – a Chihuahua/Jack Russell rescue dog. Her sons keep her busy with their sports – the list includes pretty much every team sport going – but she also tries to exercise every day with yoga, sessions at the gym, and daily walks with Molly.