Here’s what a day in the life of a Vancouver Coastal Health worker looks like

May 12 2023, 9:56 pm

It’s no secret that being a healthcare worker takes compassion, patience, and a whole lot of dedication. But it’s also incredibly rewarding. These professionals play such an essential role in our communities — who hasn’t wondered what a day in the life of a healthcare expert looks like?

Meet Simran Bir, a registered nurse with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). Growing up, Bir always craved a fulfilling career, and her interest in healthcare was sparked by the stories she heard from her aunt, who worked as a nurse. She was drawn to the idea of making a difference in people’s lives, and these stories fuelled her passion.

Bir currently works at Vancouver General Hospital’s ICU and for her, it’s the everyday little things that make her love her job so much.

The immediate standouts for Bir are the work/life balance, learning opportunities, and diverse environment. “Things I enjoy about my job include the shift work rotation that allows for four to five days off, the emphasis of being a teaching hospital and environment, the diversity of patient diagnoses, and the variety of roles within the healthcare team,” she says.

Everyday gratitude

At the end of each day, Bir says that she often finds herself thinking of her patients, and feels gratitude that she was able to do what she could for each one to help them get better.

One aspect of VCH that particularly stands out to Bir is the healthy work environment she has experienced. She actually works with an invisible disability — a bilateral hearing impairment — and has received tremendous support from her team, who have gone above and beyond to ensure her success.

“VCH has provided me with some of the best opportunities to be the best I can be in my career, and I am so thankful that I am able to do that with confidence,” she says. “With encouragement from management, educators, nursing leadership, and access to support services, I never feel that I am short of any opportunities to be successful while practising with a disability.”

A typical morning

As she says, every day is different. Most mornings start with her arriving around 7:15 am, getting a report handover from the night nurse about a patient, and making a plan for that patient’s treatment. Her favourite thing about this part of the day is connecting with patients and their families.

“Most of these patients come into the hospital and are going through the worst times of their lives,” she says. “If I can be someone that brings some sense of relief and peace to them during their stay, that is inspiring to me. I also appreciate the connections that I make with my colleagues. No one understands your job like the ones going through it themselves.”

Mid-day teamwork

Around mid-day, she typically conducts another comprehensive head-to-toe assessment of her patient, ensures any necessary diagnostic tests are performed, and enjoys a well-earned lunch break.

Throughout the day, collaborating and working together with her team is one of the most important aspects.

“Working in the ICU specifically, the teamwork is incredible,” says Bir, discussing the integrated care team of doctors, residents, nurses, respiratory therapists, dieticians, social workers, managers and therapy dogs. “My colleagues are so supportive and come with so much knowledge and experience that I learn from each one of them. The little moments where someone offers their help, leadership, asks how you are doing, or educators ask how they can further support you — it makes an incredible difference in this career.”

According to Bir, a career at VCH is not just a job but a source of daily pride. She encourages anyone considering a role at VCH to seize the opportunity to learn and grow alongside some of the best professionals in the industry.

If you are interested in joining the team at VCH, visit

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