ONE OF THE PLACES I least like to go in Kamloops is Royal Inland Hospital (RIH). Whether going for a routine test, to visit a friend or relative, or for an overnight stay, it is not a place I like to be.
It is a place that always causes me to feel a bit of dread when I enter its doors. The bright new medical tower has not lessened the feeling. From the clinical smell, to the long wide hallways. From the other people in equal distress, to the bustling medical staff, it is not a place I like to go, and I’m always happy when I’m leaving its doors.
I always leave feeling a bit guilty after visit to RIH. I’m never the happiest when I’m there, and might be a little churlish to people I meet.
Which is why I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who works there.
We are so lucky to have such an amazing facility in our city. It is the tertiary hospital for a vast area, but for people in Kamloops, it is ours.
From time to time, like this week when a woman from 100 Mile House was discharged with no way to get home, there are reports of missteps. No breakdown in communications or care is good, but looking at the provincial arm’s length Patient Care Quality Review Board reports, the overwhelming number of patients of RIH leave feeling well served.
In my family, it is the place babies are born, toddlers get stiches, mental health illnesses are cared for. Where loved ones are in intensive care, and where sometimes they die. Royal Inland is a place of joy and sorrow. Week after week, month after month, year after year, there is always someone in our family who is at the hospital as a patient, or as a support to others.
I’m sure that there are so many other families in Kamloops who have visited Royal Inland as many times as well. X-rays, MRIs, emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, cancer treatments, day surgeries and many other reasons bring us to the hospital.
But as much as the hospital is about the brightest and newest technologies and medical devices, about the parkade and new tower, first and foremost it is about the people within its walls.
Kamloops does not have a medical school, like Kelowna, Prince George, Vancouver or Victoria. When physicians and specialists come here, they have made a deliberate choice. There are doctor shortages everywhere, but they’ve chosen to practise medicine here.
Whatever draws them here, once they are here, they seem to embrace our city and stay. Extra work on weekends, late nights and early mornings are all too frequent. .
The nurses at RIH have vast clinical skills, but the ones that I appreciate most are their kind words and compassion. How they remain calm while shoving all sorts of things in every possible part of our bodies, I don’t know.
It’s not just the doctors and nurses. There are social workers who work with families in distress. The lab techs poke us and bleed us as gently as possible. There are porters who carefully transport patients from room to room and floor to floor. There are the dietary staff, care aides, and cleaning staff. Across the board, the staff at Royal Inland Hospital are outstanding.
There is room for improvements both in terms of processes, and terms of delivery of services. Missteps need to be addressed. But at the end of the day, when I walk into RIH, I know I am in good hands.
Thank you to all people at Royal Inland Hospital who serve our community so well.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.