There’s been a change at the top at the Slave Lake Health Care Complex, or plain old hospital if you prefer. The new ‘site manager’ is Keith Carlson, on the job since last May.
Carlson replaces Cathy Oulton who served in that role for several years. She’s the one who brought us the good news a couple of years ago that babies were being born in Slave Lake again, in growing numbers. That had dropped off to pretty much nothing after the big fire of 2011, when due to personnel changes the service was lost for a while.
“It’s still not back up to what it was” says Carlson. “I want to get the word out.”
Promoting such services Carlson sees as part of his job.
“We have a great OR (operating room),” he says. “We’re doing C-sections. We have two labour and delivery rooms.”
Carlson came to his new position after a couple of years in Athabasca, also in a health care management role. Before that he worked for an outfit called RAAPID (Referral, Access, Advice, Placement, Information and Destination) North, an arm of Alberta Health Services that helps connect patients in the north with higher-level health care services in the city.
And before that?
“I’m an RN,” Carlson says. “I studied at Confederation College in Thunder Bay.”
That’s his home town, as well. Before coming to Alberta, he worked as a nurse in Winnipeg. In 2001 he moved to Edmonton, working for a few years in the field at the University and Royal Alexandra Hospitals.
Father of a 17-year-old son, Carlson is still commuting back and forth from Athabasca. He likes what he’s seen of Slave Lake so far, though, calling it “a vibrant community,” with lots to offer. One thing it offers that he likes are fishing and hunting opportunities, two of his main hobbies. Another one is competitive pistol shooting.
“I do IPSC shooting,” he says, which stands for ‘International Practical Shooting Confederation’. “I would like to start a club here. It’s a form of target shooting. It’s fun and safe.”
Getting back to the job, Carlson says he’s responsible for acute care and the emergency departments at the hospital, the OR, as well as the overall building.
“We do offer great service to our community,” he says.