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Chats on Change

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Welcome to Chats on Change where Nova Scotia Health Interim CEO Karen Oldfield speaks to health leaders about the work they are doing to improve the system for Nova Scotians.


Episode 17 - Jennifer MacDougall


In this week’s episode of Chats on Change I’m joined by special cohost Chief Nursing Officer Annette Elliott Rose as we chat with Jenn MacDougall, the Director of Interprofessional Practice and Learning (often referred to as IPPL). In her role, Jenn helps nurses understand the many different career pathways available to them at Nova Scotia Health.

Listen as we discuss Jenn’s exciting career journey: from rural and community medicine, through to critical care, emergency, and trauma care and how she’s shifted focus to support Nova Scotia Health’s nurses in developing their own unique career journey. 

Episode 17 - Bethany McCormick and Dr. Aaron Smith

Today Karen sits down with Bethany McCormick and Dr. Aaron Smith, the dynamic co-leaders of Northern Zone. Together, they navigate the intricate landscape of rural healthcare, discussing innovative solutions and community-driven initiatives that are reshaping the future of care. From pioneering urgent treatment centers to fostering tight-knit healthcare communities, Bethany and Aaron reveal the transformative power of listening, learning, and leading with confident humility."

Discover how data-driven decisions and front-line engagement propel the Northern Zone forward, addressing challenges with resilience and turning obstacles into opportunities. Through candid conversations and real-life examples, Bethany and Aaron share their leadership journey, offering valuable insights and lessons learned. As they reflect on their collective achievements and future aspirations, one truth becomes clear: behind every successful transformation lies a dedicated team committed to making a difference, one patient at a time.

Episode 16 - Sue Smith

Today on Chats on Change, Karen sits down with Sue Smith, the Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of the Nova Scotia College of Nursing. Sue talks about the history of the Nova Scotia College of Nursing, its role in nursing regulation, and its efforts in creating a unified nursing regulator in 2019. The conversation also touches on the challenges faced during this transformative process and the importance of open communication.

The episode then delves into recent initiatives undertaken by the Nova Scotia College of Nursing, particularly the groundbreaking move in 2023 to expedite licensure for internationally educated nurses from seven designated countries, including India, the Philippines, the UK, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Nigeria. This innovative approach aimed to address the growing shortage of nurses in Nova Scotia. Sue Smith highlights the significant response to this initiative, with over 19,000 applicants, and emphasizes the importance of collaboration with key partners, including employers and government agencies, to streamline processes and facilitate the integration of internationally educated nurses into the workforce.

The podcast sheds light on the college's ongoing efforts to improve the application process, enhance communication, and address the diverse needs of nurses entering Nova Scotia. Sue Smith also discusses the impact of these initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, where the college facilitated the return of over 500 retired nurses to support vaccination efforts. The conversation underscores the commitment to ensuring a strong and diverse nursing workforce to meet the healthcare needs of Nova Scotia.

Episode 15 - Dr. Christy Bussey And Eileen MacGibbon

Today Karen hosts an engaging in a conversation with Eileen MacGibbon, VP of Operations, and Dr. Christy Bussey, Central Zone Medical Executive Director where they discuss their co-leadership model and the challenges and successes they've experienced over the past year and a half in Nova Scotia Health's busiest and most populous management zone.

The co-leads emphasize the importance of communication within their large and diverse zone, covering various sites, clinics, and specialties. They discuss their efforts to connect with staff through town halls, newsletters, and online communication, recognizing the need for visibility and engagement at all levels, including the front line.

They discuss driving change within the healthcare system, particularly in inpatient care and surgical access. The co-leads express pride in the teams' efforts to maximize inpatient capacity and improve access to surgery, acknowledging the complexity of such changes providing insights into the complexities of healthcare leadership, emphasizing the ongoing commitment to improving patient care and access.

Episode 14 - Annette Elliott Rose


In this episode, Karen introduces Dr. Annette Elliott Rose, the newly appointed Chief Nurse, Executive, and Vice President of Clinical Performance and Professional Practice at Nova Scotia Health. Annette, who recently joined from IWK, discusses her background and journey in nursing, from starting as a maternal newborn nurse to working in Inuit communities in Nunavut. We delve into Annette's extensive experience, including her role in developing and implementing the Provincial Health Workforce Strategy. Annette shares her vision for nursing in Nova Scotia, emphasizing the importance of understanding nurses' needs, promoting innovation, and reconnecting with the meaning and joy of nursing.

The conversation also touches on Annette's research in informal nurse-to-nurse mentorship and her recent work on perinatal care for pregnant women and newborns. Annette highlights her plans to address challenges faced by nurses, including improving working conditions, career development, and fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation.


Episode 13 - Dr. Robert Green

Dr. Green will share insight on his background, experiences, and the intricate details of Trauma Nova Scotia's multifaceted approach, encompassing clinical care, research, education, and policy. We'll also take a glimpse into the future of Trauma Nova Scotia, exploring plans to maintain and enhance the program's impact, improve efficiency, and extend collaboration beyond provincial borders, with an eye on the well-deserved accolades received and the positive impact on patients and healthcare workers alike.

TC Service 1 year outcomes.jpg

Related content:

Trauma Nova Scotia's annual report:…8f271d468169.pdf

Episode 12 - Jeff Fraser, Executive Director of Emergency Health Services and Natalie Borden, Senior Executive Director of Emergency Health Services

Today Karen welcomes Jeff Fraser, Executive Director of Emergency Health Services and Natalie Borden, Senior Executive Director of Emergency Health Services to discuss how Nova Scotia Health and EHS work as partners to provide ready, responsive, and reliable care. 


Episode 11 - Eunice Ojeabulu

Eunice Ojeabulu arrived in Nova Scotia poised to greet a health care recruiter and start a nursing career, both the recruiter and opportunity were too good to be true. Despite the shocking circumstances, Eunice continued on her journey to work as a Registered Nurse in Nova Scotia and also became an advocate for other internationally educated nurses. Soon, Eunice and I met at a Community Conversation stop in Cherry Brook and our chat set a path in motion to change things.

Eunice Ojeabulu: 
Tara Sampalli:

Episode 10 - Dr. Christy Bussey, executive medical director for Central Zone

After years of waiting, the Province awarded the contract for One Patient, One Record (OPOR) on February 1. I hope you can hear my cheering from here! On this episode of the podcast I chat with Dr. Christy Bussey, executive medical director for Central Zone about OPOR and what it implementation means for patients and staff and physicians.

Transcription available here.

Epsiode 9 - NSH Interim CEO Karen Oldfield (Guest host Nicole Brooks)

Guest host Nicole Brooks talks to NSH Interim CEO Karen Oldfield about her experiences from the Community Healthcare Conversations where she joined Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson, & Deputy Minister Jeannine Lagassé for community conversations across the province about the work underway to improve healthcare. 

Transcription available here.

Epsiode 8 - Dr. Christine Short

Dr. Christine Short is a physician leader and academic clinician who is also the Senior Medical Director of Redevelopment for the Central Zone.

"This last year and a bit has been just non-stop, tremendous work by that redevelopment team and that’s why now we’re ready to run and we have the confidence that now that we know the new direction, we’ll be able to get things up and going. People will see changes and positive things happening very quickly."

Related links:

Transcript available upon request.

Episode 7 - Dr. Maria Alexiadis and Lindsay Cormier

In this episode, Karen is joined by Dr. Maria Alexiadis and Lindsay Cormier from the Primary Health Care and Chronic Disease Management Network to discuss the Access Sprint pilot project. The goal is to improve processes in primary care clinics staff have a better work-life balance, while also increasing access for patients who need healthcare. As Dr. Alexiadis puts it, this is a “win-win for both providers and patients.” 
The word “Sprint” reflects how quickly the project is moving to meet its goal; beginning with five Primary Care clinics around the province. What’s learned in the first five clinics will then be applied to other Primary Care clinics, then to all clinics.


Epsiode 6 - Tara Sampalli from our Research and Innovation team and Grayson Fulmer with Physician Services

On this episode, Tara Sampalli from our Research and Innovation team and Grayson Fulmer with Physician Services, join me to explain how we are partnering with Dalhousie Family Medicine to pilot an approach to patient “onboarding” that will see those Dalhousie practices add 3,500 patients from the Need a Family Practice registry over four months.


Episode 5 - Dr. Jocelyn Foran

Today Karen welcomes Dr. Jocelyn Foran to discuss the culture at Nova Scotia Health and what we can do to make it a better place to work. 


Episode 4 - Nova Scotia Minister of Health and Wellness, Michelle Thompson

Nova Scotia Minister of Health and Wellness, Michelle Thompson, discusses how healthcare has changed since becoming a registered nurse and what her many conversations with Nova Scotia Health staff and physicians have taught her about what’s needed now to care for Nova Scotians. Minister Thompson and NSH CEO Karen Oldfield have an honest discussion about the challenges and successes found in delivering healthcare in Nova Scotia.


Episode 3 - Dr. Jan Sommers and RN Jenna Gallo

Today Karen welcomes Dr. Jan Sommers and RN Jenna Gallop to discuss VirtualEmergencyNS, a pilot project (originally spearheaded by nurse Jessica Langille) that launched in February where patients who consent to a virtual appointment have a consultation with an emergency-trained physician, supported by an on-site nurse or advanced care paramedic. The program is intended to reduce wait times for Nova Scotians visiting the emergency department with health concerns that can be appropriately treated through a virtual visit.


Episode 2 - Gordon Peckham and Dr. Kirk Magee

Karen welcomes Gordon Peckham and Dr. Kirk Magee to discuss the challenges and opportunities with the new Command Centre at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Episode 1 - Dr. Kevin Orrell, Deputy Minister and CEO of the new Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment

Today Karen welcomes Dr. Kevin Orrell, Deputy Minister and CEO of the new Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment in the Nova Scotia Government to discuss the challenges and opportunities for health care recruitment and retention in Nova Scotia.

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