We’re ready to begin telling the stories of our patient and health care partners! Our first ‘Meet our Volunteers’ blog post introduces you to Fran Banks, a PVN Volunteer from White Rock.
Fran lives in White Rock and has participated in over 10 volunteer opportunities since 2013! She’s the proud mother of three daughters and loves traveling and finding new places to explore. One of her favorite places in the world is Disneyland and she loves going to live theatre and concerts, gardening and sewing. An avid reader, she has an eclectic taste in books and always has a good one on the go.
In 35 years of work with Royal Bank of Canada, Fran held many positions. She went back to school at age 53 to earn her Financial Planner Designation, which allowed her to finish her bank career as a financial planner, a role that involved estate planning, assisting families to settle estates, and facilitating for client and staff seminars. She is now retired and uses the priceless experience acquired during her career to help improve BC’s health care system by volunteering with PVN.
We interviewed Fran to learn more about her experience with the Patient Voices Network:
Why did you decide to join PVN?
Fran – “I was enticed by the opportunity to be a Voice in the future of health care in BC. I have always been a partner in my own health care and through the Patient Voices Network I have the ability to share this belief with others. We are difference makers and PVN gives us the platform to share ideas and work within the health care system to enhance the patient experience in all areas of the medical community.”
How did you hear about the Patient Voices Network?
“I was in the clinic talking to my doctor about being involved with the Arthritis Society and, as we were walking out, she handed me a PVN brochure saying that she thought I might be interested in volunteering with PVN. She was right!”
How many opportunities have you been involved with?
“I’ve taken part in a number of webinars covering various topics. One of the most remarkable opportunities for me was with St Paul’s Hospital, working on a patient discharge/follow-up form. We were emailed the form, did our homework and, through another webinar, discussed our suggestions and proposed changes to the document. When the St. Paul’s team made the changes, they sent PVN a copy of the revised document, which closed the circle. It was pretty straightforward and satisfying: the Health Care Partner presented the opportunity, PVN members did their homework, we took part in the webinars, and the partner let us know the results.
“Since 2013 I’ve probably taken part in a dozen PVN opportunities.”
What was your favorite volunteer opportunity?
“The absolute best opportunity was being a Mentor in the UBC Mentoring Program!
“Working with four students from different disciplines within the UBC Faculty of Medicine, seeing the ‘light bulb’ moments and watching the students change from being an individual member of the group to become part of a dynamic team was wonderful. We had dinner meetings once a month and I was introduced to dishes I had never tasted, I learned about other cultures and they learned about me. There was a program guide and we did pretty well in sticking to the trunk of the tree, but when the discussion went down a different path we followed it and that was when the fun really started.
“Being a Mentor is by far the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had, and I’d love to do it again.”
What is the best thing about being a PVN Volunteer?
“Feeling valued and respected for my knowledge, and being part of an unbelievably rewarding group that gives me a feeling of accomplishment.
“As a pensioner/retiree I wondered how I was going to fill my days, I volunteered all through my working career and I wanted/needed something different. Without a doubt Patient Voices Network is that something! We are given the chance to speak and we are definitely being heard. The focus group topics vary, we have educational resources through our website and group chats, plus we are given the opportunity to work in areas that are rewarding to each of us in our own way.”
What are your expectations for the Network in the near future?
“Now that PVN has a permanent home under the umbrella of the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council, I hope we’ll see growth in our numbers. We have been getting some excellent opportunities and that can only continue with the team at the helm. I would like to see us on Facebook and I’m looking forward to reading the blog!”
Wow, that was great, Fran. We’re so happy to learn about how being a PVN Volunteer has been a great experience for you! 🙂
If you’re reading this and would like to become a PVN Volunteer too, all you have to do is sign-up here and our Engagement Leaders will guide you through the next steps. And if you’re already a member and would like to tell your story, just send us an email: this blog is for you and we’re all ears!