After almost 30 years in various roles in Alberta Health Services a top local executive is retiring.

Lise Brisebois Blouin has spent a good deal of that time at the High River Hospital.

Brisebois Blouin says she graduated from nursing in 1982 and went to work at the General Hospital in Calgary before it was imploded and then worked in B.C. before returning to Alberta.

She started in 1996 and became a manager at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary in 1998 and arrived in High River in 2000 and became a manager in 2006.

"The High River Hospital when I came in 2000 was a great rural hospital, as it remains, but we were so fortunate to have the support of the (High River District Health Care) Foundation, we had a huge renovation of the front of the hospital, so the lab got new space as a  well as the Foundation was put in a central part and admitting and the emergency department were renovated in 2002" she says.

"The Foundation helped to support renovation of our obstetrical unit and created labour, delivery, post-partum rooms, they're LDRP's and that was a huge change and after that the Foundation again supported and expansion to our Cancer Clinic so they went from a very small space to now a very welcoming larger space so we could treat more people closer to home."

She says the Alberta government recently provided money to expand the pharmacy which had been upstairs in a very small space where they would mix chemo drugs, something that can now be done in a larger space.

Brisebois Blouin says the improvements really make a difference.

"The space is a big factor in, obviously staff satisfaction and how you're feeling, but also the research shows that the environment plays a huge role in patient recovery. We're bigger than just our physical parts and so the Cancer Clinic being in just a little room with hardly any space, everything was pushed together, so it's a totally supportive, healing environment."

She's also been through some very trying times like the 2013 flood and the pandemic.

"I say one of the best experiences of my career was the flood, obviously it's not the actual flood and the affect it's had, but I think it's just the quality of the team and the staff and the community about their recovery. Because we had to shelter in place for 48 hours before we were able to get the last residents out of the hospital, but the recovery, getting the hospital back up and open, but just the teamwork and the resilience of the people and the majority of our staff and physicians were personally affected as well so not only were they pulling their weight beyond expectation at work but they were also doing it at home, so that's why it's the best experience of my whole career."

Brisebois Blouin has no shortage of kudos for the High River District Health Care Foundation.

"I can't say enough about the Foundation, I've mentioned in numerous places that the Foundation and the support of the community has placed the High River Hospital in a place second to none as far as all our departments.... our OR runs at capacity and it's because the Foundation has been able to support us for anything that we needed, often for replacement of equipment that is broken or at end of life and that we can't get through AHS and often equipment that maybe we can do without but at the end of the day it provides a better outcome to the patient and also helps to attract obstetricians or gynecologists, optometrists, our ophthalmology department and it's the same across the whole hospital where the support of the Foundation is seen."

Brisebois Blouin says she intends to spend time with her husband doing home renovations, hiking, kayaking, snow shoeing and just "playing more".

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