IVY FERNANDO
BIO
I’m the manager of this fantastic team! My main responsibilities are to ensure that the program is running smoothly, and that we continue to work collaboratively with the perioperative sites at Vancouver Coastal Health and beyond to graduate nurses who deliver safe, quality patient care in their new role as novice nurses in the OR. I have a nursing background where I took on various roles as a nurse educator and a patient care coordinator before my passion for life-long learning led me to pursue further studies in adult learning in the workplace.
FUN FACT
I can be convinced to break out into song now and again…(it doesn’t take much convincing)

HEATHER MACMILLAN
BIO
I slowly made my way from New Brunswick (UNB, BSc, Biology), by way of Montreal (McGill, MSc(A), Nursing) and Winnipeg, to finally land in Vancouver and my husband and I have been here for 20 years. With most of my clinical practice being in acute medicine, I’ve had the privilege of practicing in Winnipeg at the Health Sciences Centre, and at both VGH and St. Paul’s. I also began teaching at Douglas College, where I’ve spent most of my nursing career since coming to Vancouver. Teaching and mentoring undergraduate students has been very rewarding and my passion for teaching and learning and clinical education was continuously ignited through my academic tenure. My passion for teaching and learning was transferred to the perioperative setting as I was fortunate to have joined the collaborative and dedicated RPEP team during the initial stages of the RPEP transformation! My current role as a manager allows me to contribute to the curriculum development of RPEP and to work collaboratively with the RPEP team to foster best practices of teaching and learning – and to also share my passion for teaching! I am a member of the Xi Eta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, and an AORN member. Cycling is a big part of my husband’s and our son’s life so you are likely to find me being race support at a race on any given weekend or on a tennis court doing my thing!
FUN FACT
Played Canada Games Tennis (mixed doubles) for NB – a long time ago!

JENNIFER BLYTHEN
BIO
From my first exposure to the Operating Room during nursing school, I knew that would be the specialty I had to pursue. After graduating from BCIT in 2011, I spent a brief eight months working on both a surgical patient unit at Vancouver General Hospital and as a rehabilitation nurse at GF Strong, consolidating skills and waiting for the opportunity to get into perioperative nursing. I completed the VCH Perioperative Training Program in 2012 and have worked at VGH – JPOR for the past six years. During my time at JPOR, I specialized in cardiac, vascular, urology and robotics surgery. I also served as a resource nurse for many students and new staff members. One of my personal highlights was having the opportunity to be involved in numerous lung transplants which was the most incredible experience. Outside of the perioperative environment, I spend time at the gym, hiking, exploring grocery stores and cooking. I am extremely passionate about perioperative nursing and, as an educator; hope to inspire future nurses to fall in love with the operating room.
FUN FACT
Before entering nursing school I studied Fine Arts at the University of Calgary with a focus in contemporary dance.

MARIA BRINZA
BIO
I graduated Nursing school in 1993 and I also have a Medical Degree from University of Medicine, Bucharest, Romania. After a short clinical practice and research experience, I fell in love with Vancouver and its beauty. I continued my journey in nursing, working within North Shore community and on medical/acute units at Lions Gate Hospital. I graduated Perioperative Nursing Program twelve years ago and worked as an OR nurse at Lions Gate Hospital. As an educator, I find teaching the most rewarding experience for me. Working in the Operating Room is challenging and exciting!
FUN FACT
I am quite crafty and enjoy knitting, sewing and crocheting.

ANDRA GRIGORE
BIO
I have been a nurse since 2010, specifically in the OR since 2011. I practiced at Lions Gate Hospital, prior to this position, where I took on a leadership role as a clinical nurse lead for a quality improvement program: The Productive Operating Theatre (TPOT). My passion extends beyond OR nursing to improving culture, teamwork and communication in the ORs. Complex and challenging surgeries are my strong suite, since I like to have a healthy level of adrenaline in my system at all times. I volunteered as an OR nurse on a medical mission to Haiti with Broken Earth and my goal is to travel to Africa on a similar mission. In my spare time I enjoy travelling, baking and being outdoors
FUN FACT
I speak two languages – guess the second!

COLLEEN KOKOLSKI
BIO
When I finished nursing school I had two specialized areas that I loved: pediatrics and the operating room (OR). After doing bedside nursing for two years, I realized it was not for me and I completed the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) peri-operative nursing course. Most of my nursing career has been spent at British Columbia Children’s Hospital combining the two areas of nursing I enjoy most. I have also practiced nursing in many adult operating rooms and was a contract instructor for the BCIT perioperative nursing course. The OR is my passion and my goal is to guide and support you in the ever-evolving and exciting perioperative environment!
FUN FACT
I am a new YOGI lover.

KIM LEE
BIO
Perioperative nursing became my interest when I was working in ICU taking care of critically ill patients. I became interested in the process of life saving surgeries and joined the perioperative team and haven’t left since! Sharing knowledge is my passion along with supporting the growth of Perioperative nurses. Outside of my scrubs I enjoy spending time with family and friends, travelling, and tasting new culinary cuisine. Indian food is still my favourite as I had spent many years of my childhood there and hold fond memories of that culture. Welcome to RPEP!
FUN FACT
I can wiggle my ears on command!

BRITTANEY MANNING
BIO
During a surgical placement in nursing school, I realized I had a desire to work in the OR. I graduated in 2010 from UBC Okanagan, with my BSN and in 2011 moved to Alberta to complete my Perioperative Specialty Certificate at Grant MacEwan University. I began my career in the operating room at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, AB and specialized in neurosurgery. In 2016, I moved back home to Vancouver and joined the team in the JPOR at VGH, specializing in thoracics, ENT and neurosurgery. During my time at VGH, I had the opportunity to volunteer on a mission trip to Uganda with the UBC Division of Plastic Surgery, fulfilling one of my life goals, combining my interests in nursing, education, and travel. Now, being a part of the Regional Perioperative Education Program, I look forward to continuing my own education and assisting others accomplish their personal and professional goals.
FUN FACT
My Instagram account belongs to my Frenchie, Onyx

HEATHER MARTIN
BIO
My first look into the world of OR nursing was an alternate clinical day during nursing school – I got to see open heart surgery at St Pauls and that was it, I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to be an OR nurse! After graduating from UBC Nursing in 2004, I put in my time nursing on the ward and then jumped at the opportunity to join the inaugural class of the VCH Perioperative Nursing Program. For the next 10 years I happily called the Richmond OR home. I worked in all the specialties as a staff nurse, was the Specialty Nurse for Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery, and covered as the Clinical Resource Nurse (General Educator) for the OR for a year. Over the years I’ve also moonlighted with BC Transplant as an Organ Recovery Assistant, travelled to Guatemala on a surgical mission (with Alison!), and temporarily posted to the Lions Gate OR to refresh my skills in Neuro. In June 2016, I joined the VCH Perioperative Educator Team as a clinical instructor and haven’t looked back, though I still try and get my hands dirty (or clean!) whenever possible. Outside of work I’m heavily involved with the Perioperative Registered Nurses Association of BC – the provincial chapter of ORNAC – and I’m also a member of the ORNAC Standards Committee.
FUN FACT
I play a few different musical instruments already and next on my list is Bagpipes! I have just started taking lessons (don’t worry, I won’t bring them to class to practice!)

JACEK MURAWSKI
BIO
Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, I graduated with my BN from the U of M in 2004. My operating room nursing career has taken me from Health Sciences Center in Winnipeg to the much warmer, west coast. I’ve had the privilege to work at St. Paul’s Hospital, BC Children’s, UBC and most recently VGH. I’ve worn many different hats over the years from general surgery team lead to OR educator, however teaching has always been the most rewarding aspects of my nursing career. I’m currently midway through my Masters of Health Care Administration which I’m balancing alongside work. Running, cycling, travel, good food and wine are my guilty pleasures outside of the OR allowing me to decompress after particularly exciting work days!
FUN FACT
I have a 4lb Yorkie / Chihuahua mix named Colby!

ALISON PARKER
BIO
During nursing school, I was super keen to work in the emergency room in pediatrics. However, the only pediatric placement in my final year was in the OR at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. I took that opportunity and have loved the OR since the second day. I passed out the first day but decided to give it another chance and am so thankful I did. I have worked in a variety of settings and services from a major trauma center to smaller minor treatment clinics in both adult and pediatrics. I have also been a part of humanitarian outreach trips to Guatemala (with Heather Martin) and India. In 2010, I completed a Masters of Nursing Degree through the University of Victoria with an Advanced Practice Nursing Focus. I am very passionate about perioperative nursing and love working with the RPEP team. Being a part of a new perioperative nurses journey through the program is extremely rewarding and keeps me coming back every day. When not working, I can usually be found training for triathlons and trying to hone my culinary skills.
FUN FACT
I drove warships in the Royal Canadian Navy before nursing school!

MELISSA TAI
BIO
I have always known that I wanted to pursue my nursing career in the OR since nursing school. After I graduated from UVIC nursing in 2004, I consolidated my clinical skills in the ER and cardiac step down unit. I officially started my perioperative nursing career in 2007 after completing the BCIT perioperative program and have worked in different perioperative settings prior to becoming an educator in 2016. I have various OR experiences including ophthalmology, ENT, vascular, urology, cardiac, and many more; my passion lands on vascular surgery, and I am also an adrenaline junky. I love the team work in perioperative nursing and at the same time your autonomy is much valued by every team member. It is a very rewarding career; can be challenging at times but exciting. There is no dull moment in the OR. I look forward to meeting you all whom are ready for this breathtaking journey!
FUN FACT
My family has moved 13 times between the ages of 13-17.