Breyanna Hiebert began volunteering at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital as a teenager. She is now pursuing a career in social work in a medical setting.

Breyanna Hiebert began volunteering at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital as a teenager. She is now pursuing a career in social work in a medical setting.

Volunteering at Nanaimo hospital leads to health career

NANAIMO – Breyanna Hiebert's experience at Nanaimo hospital inspired her social work education.

Ever since childhood, Breyanna Hiebert knew her career would involve helping others.

“I wanted to have a direct impact on making people’s lives better,” she said.

Her mother, a former hospital volunteer, encouraged Hiebert to start volunteering at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital when she was 15. Hiebert has been a valuable part of the NRGH volunteer team since then. She also volunteered at Royal Jubilee Hospital for a year while she was studying at Camosun College in Victoria.

The 22-year-old Langara College student is now on track to become a social worker in a medical setting, largely because of the positive experience she has had volunteering with Island Health. She is still volunteering at the NRGH Auxiliary gift shop and is now the volunteer lead for the NRGH Emergency Department’s Discharge With Dignity program.

Discharge With Dignity began in May 2016, when emergency staff started collecting gently used backpacks, filling them with items such as socks, hats and toiletries, and giving them to vulnerable patients who need them. When the Emergency team asked for help with the backpack project, word spread quickly. Island Health employees from NRGH and many other sites sent hundreds of donations. Soon after that, Hiebert took on the role of Volunteer Lead.

“When I interviewed Breyanna for a volunteer role I had a feeling that the Discharge With Dignity program would be the perfect fit,” said Jennifer Doyle, manager of volunteer resources for NRGH, Dufferin Place and the Nanaimo/Ladysmith Health Unit.

“She had a wonderful attitude, was excited about studying social work, and was truly interested in helping people using her skills and experience.  We were in the early stages of building the program, and she was instrumental in putting together the original backpacks to be distributed from the emergency department. She was proactive in looking for donations, and quickly meshed with emergency staff and management.”

Through the summer months, Hiebert spent three hours a week volunteering at the hospital auxiliary gift shop and four hours a week with Discharge With Dignity. She estimates she spent about two hours per shift filling backpacks to send out into the community.

“In the future, we want to spread Discharge With Dignity to other Island Health sites,” she says. “It definitely is needed in Nanaimo. I think it is really important, not to just give a person the donation but to show we care.”

Although Hiebert is based in Vancouver during the school year, she is continuing in her volunteer role. She is volunteering remotely from Vancouver and will come home to Nanaimo frequently. Her goal is to expand the Discharge With Dignity program by reaching out to community donors and organizing partnerships with Nanaimo-area schools.

She is quick to answer when asked what she likes best about her role. “For sure the best thing is knowing the impact on patients,” she said. “That, and making connections with other staff and volunteers, and getting the community involved.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Dufferin Place or the Nanaimo/Ladysmith Health Unit please contact Doyle at jennifer.doyle@viha.ca.

Just Posted

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Laid-off Casino Nanaimo workers launch class-action lawsuit against corporation

Notice of civil claim filed on April 6 at Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo

Beban Pool is expected to re-open Oct. 4 after a vote by councillors at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, June 16. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo will re-open Beban Pool in October

User groups warn COVID-19 pool closures have left a gap in water safety education

Beef to the lady who went onto my property then proceeded to take my large plant from my home. I found out and asked for it returned. You said I was dramatic? You should be ashamed of yourself.
Beefs & Bouquets, June 16

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts’s body was discovered near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Lotto Max player in Nanaimo wins $500,000

Campbell River lotto player wins $1 million in the Tuesday, June 15 draw

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Lotto Max player in Nanaimo wins $500,000

Campbell River lotto player wins $1 million in the Tuesday, June 15 draw

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens between Port Alberni and Tofino

Multi-vehicle accident temporarily closed highway in both directions

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 4 deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-staff as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Most Read