Kelowna nurse honoured for work in substance abuse programs

Brenda Epp received an Excellence in Nursing Practice award

A Kelowna woman has been recognized for her services and a nurse and leader in the addictions field.

The Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC held its 2018 Nursing Awards of Excellence gala in Vancouver on Dec. 17 honouring individuals who have exemplified outstanding nursing in the province of BC. Kelowna registered nurse, Brenda Epp was among the recipients, recognized in the category of Excellence in Nursing Practice, according to the NNPBC in a news release.

Epp was recognized as an outstanding nurse leader and clinician in her work as the program manager and Registered Nurse for a 12-bed withdrawal management unit, operated by The Bridge Youth & Family Services Society in Kelowna. She leads a team of more than 20 staff and together they deliver exceptional around the clock care for patients who struggle with substance use issues and require a supported medically supervised environment for withdrawal, the release said.

“I would like to thank The Bridge Youth & Family Services who have given me the opportunity to combine my values with my nursing practise and allow me to be a part of a dynamic, compassionate, and creative organization and the board of directors of NNPBC for acknowledging the good work that is being done in our communities,” Epp said.

RELATED: There have been 1,380 overdose deaths in B.C. this year: Coroner

Epp is recognized by staff, colleagues, physicians and the community as personifying excellence in nursing. Compassionate, skilled, professional and curious, Brenda sets the standard for her unit. Steadfast in her unwavering and unconditional positive regard for her patients, she confers dignity and respect to the most marginalized and vulnerable individuals in the region. As program manager, Epp is always at the forefront of implementing leading edge and evidence informed practice in the ever-evolving addictions field. It is this passion that has led Brenda to offer community naloxone training, be instrumental in the establishment of a Youth Withdrawal Management Unit and lead the development of a program that provided nursing care to the residents of Kelowna’s homeless shelters, the release said.

RELATED: Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Epp said she is privileged to work with a kind, loving, smart, and honest staff. In her acceptance speech, she also recognized the many people who have accessed substance use services and their impact on her nursing practice. She noted that program participants have taught her what is important in life and that through their vulnerability, emotional and physical pain, she witnesses hope and resiliency.

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