Internal medicine, external growth

When Dr. Matt Bernard had his first up-close look at the amount of work going into Royal Columbian Hospital’s redevelopment plans, he found it eye-opening. An internal medicine specialist with a deep interest in clinical teaching, Dr. Bernard has also now taken on the role of bridge-builder between the hospital’s doctors and the physical transformation that’s taking place around them.


Foundation: What are your responsibilities as the physician lead for the redevelopment project?

MB: I think my key role is to engage the physician body, bring them into the conversation, ensure they have opportunities to have their opinions heard, and make sure we are all working towards the best possible hospital for our patients.

Foundation: Redevelopment is a massive project. What’s your take on what it’s going to mean for Royal Columbian?

MB: I think this is going to be a huge opportunity for the Royal Columbian Hospital community to redefine our future. There is so much energy and effort being put forward by so many people. I hope we build a facility that enables and reinforces the existing culture of patient-focused care, hard work, and professionalism that really does permeate through the hospital. Certainly if you practice at enough different places, you will realize just how special this particular place is.

Foundation: What will redevelopment mean for patients and patient care?

MB: I would hope right now that patients would recognize how hard people here do work, in what can sometimes be a difficult physical environment, to ensure that their care is excellent. I think the patient experience in the new building will be vastly better in terms of single-patient rooms, built-in space for family members, and the flow between different areas of the hospital. I think it’s also important for patients that the facility reflects the level of care they will receive.

Foundation: Will the redevelopment be a significant attractor of new talent?

MB: Absolutely. It’s already been identified that we need to have the right people here to support the enhanced services that we will have. I think this is going to transform certainly this whole campus and the surrounding area. By building an outstanding new facility and allowing people to do the things they have been trained to do, we will enhance our ability to recruit the best people in the province, country, and world.