Barbara Izzard accepts appointment as Associate Director of Nursing at the MCH

By Lisa Dutton

One of Barbara Izzard’s mottos is: let’s just do it. She often utters this phrase when there is a problem, and rather than appointing a committee to research, study, discuss and dissect the problem, the new MCH Associate Director of Nursing simply looks around the room, notes the need, notes the capacity and willingness to fill the need and then says “let’s just do it.” Ms. Izzard admits with a smile that “sometimes this gets me in trouble.”

Barbara Izzard first walked through the doors of The Montreal Children’s Hospital almost 30 years ago. It was 1979 and she had just finished her nursing diploma from John Abbott College. She made a beeline for the 7th floor to work with the neurosurgery team. “Neurosurgery was my first interest and soon it expanded to cardiovascular surgery. I spent most of my early career as a nurse on the surgery ward,” she says.

Helping children and families facing life threatening or chronic diseases gave Ms. Izzard an opportunity to bond with the families and to watch the children grow up. “I would work with families from the first time their baby was in hospital, right up until the child was transferred to adult care,” she says. “I think the families appreciated the fact that I was someone they knew, someone they could trust and depend on and someone who was familiar with their child’s story.”

While working full time at the MCH, Ms. Izzard enrolled at McGill University and started working on her Nursing degree, which she received in 1994.

She is still pursuing her studies and is currently working on a two-year CHA Health Services Management Course which she looks forward to finishing in April 2009.

Ms. Izzard had three amazing nurse mentors who helped guide her career and encouraged her to move towards the management stream of nursing. “I’m a very organized person, so I fit the bill for management,” she says. “I’m also very operational; I like to know everything that is happening on the hospital floor.”

She reluctantly admits that as Associate Director of Nursing, she may not be able to stay as up-to-date on what is going on in the hospital wards, but she promises to maintain an open-door policy and remain accessible to every nurse at the MCH.

Ms. Izzard says as the new Associate Director of Nursing she has big shoes to fill. There is a lot to be done and a lot of hard work ahead and she admits to finding it “a little bit intimidating.”

But she says, “This is not a one person show. There is an amazing team of excellent nurses around me. We need to work together. It’s not about me. It’s about all of us.”