On International Nurses Day, we’re thrilled to introduce you to a local nurse who works in the emergency department at the Comox Valley Hospital.  While she’s relatively new to her current position, she is not new to Vancouver Island having grown up in Gold River.

Meet Tiffany Cunha or Tiff as most people call her.

Tiffany has over a decade of nursing under her belt. She graduated from the University of Victoria Nursing Program in 2011 and immediately worked in cardiac care at Royal Jubilee Hospital. Two years later, upon completion of specialized training in emergency nursing, Tiffany shifted to the emergency room and eventually took on a clinical nursing lead position.

In 2016, Tiffany and her partner moved to Lillooet.

“Going from a large, tertiary care hospital of 500 beds to a five-bed, two-nurse hospital with one doctor on-call was an adjustment,” Cunha explains.

Nevertheless, Tiffany came to appreciate the small-town hospital, her hardworking colleagues, and fell in love with the Duffey Lake mountains. Joy for Tiffany comes from spending time outside either running, skiing, or climbing. Lillooet offered tremendous opportunity for her favourite kind of outdoor adventure.

In 2020, mid global pandemic, Cunha and her partner “moved home to the Island” and settled in Cumberland. Her first assignment at the Comox Valley Hospital was in ICU and now she works in the emergency room.

We asked Tiff what was unique about working in the Comox Valley:

“Working in a medium-sized hospital is ideal. At CVH, we’re big enough to be able to provide great care, but there still is a small-town feel among us. We pull together to help each other out and function as a whole versus as individual specialty areas.”

Of course, Tiffany feels right at home here with the access to the remote alpine, the ocean and everything in between. In her short time living locally, she has likely covered more territory than most of us. Tiffany is known for piggy-backing her dog Frank on long trail rides and she runs about 60 kilometers weekly. In fact, last summer she ran the full distance of the Westcoast Trail in 19 hours with her sport vest “loaded with food, candy, electrolytes, and two hamburgers.” Tiff’s next goal is the Mt. Baker Ultra and in the meantime her and her partner will continue to check off the nine highest peaks on Vancouver Island with six precarious climbs already accomplished.

Tiffany reflected on some of her nursing career highlights. She shared an exciting story about delivering a baby as a nursing student, but it was her remarks about the rewards felt when working behind the scenes that shed light on the strength and humility of this young nurse.

“Independently working in transport nursing to get a heart-attack patient quickly to a life-saving Cath Lab feels pretty good. Knowing that the efficiency of my work saved a life, that’s cool.”

Speaking of cool, Tiffany sings vocals and plays electric guitar in a band. Music has been a passion of Tiffany’s since she was a teenager. She is currently getting back into the music scene here in the Comox Valley, “rocking it out with Sound Sabotage,” a motley crew of musicians most of whom are fellow frontline professionals.

International Nurses Day, a day of collective pride and celebration for the thousands of caring spirits around the world, brings up feelings of pride for Tiffany:

“What has really come to light this past year is how resilient nurses are. We show up and adapt to change as needed. Nurses are some of the hardest working people I’ve known. We’re a strong, female-dominated workforce. I’m proud to be a nurse and value my colleagues very much.”

Tiffany embraces the work hard play hard spirit that the Comox Valley is known for. We are grateful for her and every nurse who, alongside other healthcare professionals, provide outstanding care across our community. Thank you.

The Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation has launched their Work Hard Play Hard 50/50 raffle to offer a fun, unique way to show support for exceptional local healthcare. Presenting sponsors, Courtney & Anglin Real Estate Group and Mindset Wealth, iA Private Wealth, encourage everyone to get involved to optimize the community’s benefit. Funds raised through the raffle will help the Foundation provide leading equipment for the hospital. Buy 50/50 tickets online until June 24th through https://cvhealthcarefdn.rafflenexus.com/