Janie Burns was part of the original group of 12 nurses at Canuck Place when we opened our doors in 1995. She had been working in the pediatric ICU, but felt there was something missing in the care children received in their final days. The dream that fellow nurse, Brenda Eng had for Canuck Place addressed that need.
“There was a great vision for Canuck Place,” Janie remembers, “But how it would roll out, and be seen in the community at large, we didn’t know how that was going to work.”
Twenty years later, Janie has seen many families come through the doors. “When you see a family and child come through our doors for the first time, there’s a lot of anxiety,” says Janie. “They know what a pediatric palliative facility means, but they really don’t know what we are about.”
Since 1995, Janie has helped manage complex medical care and witnessed incredible love and compassion. She is proud to be a part of a dedicated specialized clinical team that cares for over 600 children and families each year.
“Supporting the nursing team when there’s been a complex family dynamic, or case, or a hard week is always a challenge,” says Janie of her role as Nursing Coordinator. “Part of my job is to help people navigate these difficult situations. I think to be able to work here for 20 years, you have to be able to embrace some sadness with fond memories.”
The services Janie and the rest of the clinical team provide go far beyond basic medical needs. They provide a comprehensive level of care to entire families, with special care paid to their emotional needs.
“A lot of our kids are very isolated in their communities, some don’t have friends. Families often can’t get out much,” explains Janie. “There are many layers to that onion.”
Canuck Place gives families a place to connect with others who understand the difficult circumstances they face. Siblings can find other kids their age who have dealt with losing a brother or sister, and sick kids can connect with others who are dealing with the same thoughts and fears. For many of them, Canuck Place is the only place they’ll find that kind of community.
“We help families find their coping skills,” said Janie. “They miss their child every single day, but with our care, they have built their toolkit to move forward to live for everybody else.”
Janie Burns has been an important member of the Canuck Place team for 20 years. Help Canuck Place and the clinical team to continue to provide pediatric palliative care for years to come.