BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre is fortunate to have many incredible female staff members whose work improves the health of women, newborns, and families. This year, in honour of International Women’s Day on March 8, we recognize an incredible leader who has made an impact during her 35 year career with BC Women’s.
Frances Jones began her career at BC Women’s Hospital (called Grace Hospital at the time) 35 years ago as a nurse in the prenatal department Today she is program coordinator, lactation service and provincial milk bank. BC Women’s is home to Canada’s first milk bank and her work has been foundational. If not for Frances, infants across BC would not have access to lifesaving nutrition from pasteurized human donor milk.
Over the years, there have been many advancements in evidence-based care that Frances has seen firsthand. “The number of changes in best practice for women and infant care has been phenomenal,” says Frances. “Skin to skin contact at birth, keeping mothers and babies together in those important first hours and discussions as health care providers focussing on evidence based care.” One other big advancement was expanding the provincial milk bank – a project that Frances has been foundational in growing.
“Frances has supported not just the operational aspects of the milk bank for many years, but also that partnership with other health authorities as the milk bank program grew across the province” says Russ Stead, program manager with BC Women’s Hospital Ambulatory and Maternity Programs. “She has been a pivotal leader and partner with multiple organizations. She really is the face of BC Women’s Milk Bank – people all over the province know who she is.”
This summer, the milk bank will be moving into an updated space at BC Women’s allowing for more capacity to help meet the greater need for pasteurized donor milk; a project that Frances has spearheaded. Russ adds, “She’s been part of the project planning for the new space since inception. She’s informed how the space has been created, and has worked tirelessly and diligently with the project stakeholders including architects. It’s more than a job for her. It’s a calling. I can’t imagine her not doing this kind of work.”
“Working at BC Women’s allows me the privilege of being involved in supporting women as they enter a new role – motherhood,” explains Frances. “By providing evidence based health care we can impact everything from climate change to world peace because we’re helping families get off to a good start.”
For other women looking to get into a career in health care, she says the best part of her job is the variety and sense of purpose.
“The opportunities are endless,” says Frances. “Identify your passion, commit to lifelong learning and go for it!”