July 11, 2023

Long time member of Foothills Medical Centre cardiology team retires

Barb Jones touches countless lives during 37-year career
Barb Jones (right) recently retired from a 37-year career in cardiac nursing in Calgary. She is seen her with AHS's Karen Ko at the 2023 Libin Cardiovascular Instiute-Dept.of Cardiac Sciences annual awards event.
Barb Jones (right) recently retired from a 37-year career in cardiac nursing in Calgary. She is seen her with AHS's Karen Ko. Dawn Smith

Although it may not be that unusual to work for nearly four decades in the same field, it is unique to work at the same site for an entire career. 

Barb Jones, RN, MN'92, has recently retired from doing just that.

“I have spent the last 37 years working at Foothills Medical Centre,” says Jones. “It’s become a second home for me.”

Jones has spent the bulk of that time working in cardiology, as a nurse, educator, clinical nurse specialist and manager, and is a well known, and much-loved presence in the Department of Cardiac Sciences.

Jones first declared her desire to be a nurse when she was just three years old after spending a week in the hospital with tonsillitis.

“I only remember snippets from that time, but I was obviously hugely impacted by the care I received,” says Jones with a laugh. “My mom said that after that I was dedicated to becoming a nurse.”

Jones followed her youthful dream, earning a three-year diploma in Calgary at the Foothills Nursing School. She later completed her nursing degree at Athabasca University and her master’s in nursing at the University of Calgary in 1991.

Her first job was working in the intensive care unit at FMC. It was there that she was introduced to cardiology.

“At that time, nurses from the cardiac intensive care unit and the intensive care unit worked together, so I had a good look at cardiology,” says Jones. “It was then that I was drawn to cardiac sciences, and I have never waivered from that.”

Over her career, Jones has amassed a great deal of experience as a front-line nurse, educator and manager.

She has worked in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, which cares for cardiac patients following surgery, the Cardiac Function Clinic and the Cardiac Transplant Clinic. She has served as a research coordinator, a nurse educator, the inaugural Cardiac Sciences clinical nurse specialist and even as a sessional instructor at Mount Royal College (now University).

Jones has been instrumental in several Quality Improvement projects within the Dept. of Cardiac Sciences. Since 2017, Jones has worked as a manager with experiences in cardiac diagnostics, cardiac surgery and as APPROACH’s provincial manager.

Diane Schmidt, program manager for Surgical Services at South Health Campus, worked alongside Jones for 10 years as part of the leadership team for the Dept. of Cardiac Sciences, working hard to help improve and influence health care for their patient population. Schmidt says Jones’ laughter, humour and positivity will be sorely missed.

“Barb was a wonderful confidante and had such a positive influence,” says Schmidt. “Barb also made significant contributions. I appreciated the relationships she built with stakeholders, and her leadership in many of our Quality Improvement initiatives. She kept going despite the barriers we faced. Watching her work was magic: she has such a genuine way of making everyone feel special when she is around.”

Dr. Todd Anderson, MD, cardiologist and dean of the Cumming School of Medicine, has known Jones for 35 years and worked daily with her for five years. In fact, he considers her a friend.

He says in her diverse roles, Jones was always positive, smiling laughing and making people feel like they belonged.

“Barb is smart, capable, engaging, energizing and deeply passionate about people and health care,” says Anderson. “She solved problems and made people feel good about what they did. I count myself lucky to have worked with Barb over the years and to be friends with her and her family.”

When she looks back over her career, Jones is pleased with the path she took.

“Working in cardiology has been a wonderful career,” she says. “There has been so much variety, and that has been wonderful. The best part is, I never left a role because I didn’t like it. I enjoyed all my roles and moved on from them to embrace a new experience and challenge.”

Jones is excited about starting the next phase of life and having more time to spend with her family and on her hobbies. She will also have more time to volunteer for causes she cares about, including at Rosedale Hospice, where she will return to her front-line nursing roots, and as a board member on a local not-for-profit that provides resources for local families in need.

Jones’s excitement for the next stage of life is tinged with a bit of sadness as she leaves behind an extremely productive career and a lifetime of friends and colleagues.

“Everyone wants to feel like they are contributing, and I have been blessed, because I feel like I have made a difference in people’s lives during my career,” says Jones.  “But this has been my work family for 37 years and leaving them behind is hard.”

Are you interested in pursuing a career in cardiac nursing? Visit https://nursing.ucalgary.ca.