Patient Safety Champion: LPN Heidi Brown helps students feel safe and comfortable with immunizations

Heidi Brown
Patient Safety Champion Heidi Brown is an LPN with the Colchester/East Hants health protection team.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Heidi Brown considers it part of her job to make the middle school students she serves feel safe and comfortable with immunizations.

That’s why the Colchester/East Hants health protection team member was surprised to learn that her manager, Lori McCracken, had nominated her as a Patient Safety Champion.

“I thought it was really cool,” Brown said. “It’s what we do every day, so I guess I don’t really think about it.”

When Brown is at a school immunization clinic, her job is “to make students feel safe and comfortable – being positive, answering any questions they may have and talking to them about what the vaccine is protecting them against. The trust piece is really important for 12- and 13-year-old students.”

McCracken’s nomination of Brown focused on her ability to create physically and psychologically safe environments for students and colleagues.

“Heidi works diligently with schools, the school immunization team, and students to improve the environment for students to safely be immunized at schools,” McCracken said. “She not only addresses the physical environment; she also seeks to better understand how she can improve the cultural environment for students.”

Brown credits public health leadership with creating a culture of patient safety in which staff can thrive.

“We work with really strong leadership,” she said. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The support from managers makes you want to go above and beyond.”

Focusing on the safety of students today will reap results well into the future, Brown believes.

“You don’t see the effects of your work right away with immunizations, like a decrease in cervical cancer because of the HPV vaccine,” she said.

“The decisions students make affect their future. But if I get a student who is super nervous to a place where they trust their health care provider and feel comfortable, maybe I’ve empowered them to have a health procedure years down the road.”

Thank you for your focus on safety, Heidi!