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Scheif's Healthcare Heroes - Werner Zotter

"Seeing nurses pull together when there is increased patient flow has motivated me"

by Jason Friesen /

In sports, "taking one for the team" refers to an individual's selfless effort to the overall success of a team. Hockey players will throw themselves in front of a hard shot from the point to help their goalie or take a bone-crushing hit to make a pass that sparks a teammate's clean breakout from their defensive zone. These acts result in bumps and bruises but also fist bumps and stick taps from grateful teammates.

In healthcare, while there aren't any bone-crushing hits or blocked shots, there have been plenty of pandemic examples of selfless acts occurring for the good of the team. Werner Zotter, a Registered Nurse at Selkirk Regional Health Centre's Emergency Department embodies these qualities, having returned from retirement to assist in any way possible while the Interlake-Eastern Health Region has responded to the demands of COVID-19. 

Since his return, Werner has travelled 100 kilometers (one way) to and from his overnight shifts, at times picking up 10 shifts in a row. This past summer, he even filled in to cover for other nurses on holidays.

Werner's presence offers a noticeable sense of comfort to both his patients and his coworkers. His attention and advocacy support patients and their families as they navigate the health system to access the care they need, and his knowledge and leadership supports new managers as they settle into running their own emergency department. 

While fist bumps and high fives aren't common in Werner's workplace, his coworker's appreciation for these efforts are no less obvious, including multiple nominations for him to be considered a Scheif's Healthcare hero. 

"Like most people that go into nursing, I chose a career in nursing to help people. Seeing nurses pull together when there is increased patient flow has motivated me during this time. Being able to use knowledge and skills that I have required during the 20-plus years of my nursing career to improve patient conditions and quality of life is what I enjoy most about my job." - Werner Zotter, Registered Nurse, Selkirk Regional Health Centre Emergency Department

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