Dara Dalgleish: Coming home to a leadership opportunity at her community hospital

Dara Dalgleish, Manager, Emergency Department and Surgical Services

Growing up in a small town, Dara Dalgleish felt the pull back to a rural community. That’s what led to her family’s move from Ottawa to Fitzroy Harbour and, more recently, to leave an Ottawa hospital for a new leadership position at ARH.

“ARH is my local community hospital, and I had heard many great things about the organization before I joined,” said Dara, Manager, Emergency Department and Surgical Services. “I love that it’s a smaller hospital – it really feels like a family.”

Leadership path

Dara began her career as a bedside nurse in the emergency department (ED).

“I had considerable years of experience and wanted to make a difference, so I became a care facilitator in the ED,” shared Dara. “I really loved the ability to support my team and the hospital’s goals through that role.”

Dara later moved from the ED into clinical informatics and then a project management role to support implementing the electronic health record system across the CHAMP regional partner sites.

“This experience gave me a great opportunity to work closely with the leadership teams at those sites and really make a difference for patient safety.”

For Dara, it became the natural next step to move into a clinical management role.

“I feel like my leadership style is collaborative and supportive. I regularly reach out to my team to see how they’re feeling, what resources they need and how I can support them.”

Forward focus

Since joining ARH in October 2022, Dara has been welcomed by the close-knit, dynamic, supportive ED and Surgical Services teams.

In the ED, Dara’s most significant focus is the recruitment of skilled nurses to address ARH’s shortage (like most other Ontario EDs).

“At the same time, I am diving into how we can continue to deliver this important care to the community with our current ED resources and how I can secure more resources to help our team. ARH has already implemented creative ideas like bringing paramedics in for ED triage, and we will look at what else we can do.”

For Surgical Services, Dara aims to continue expanding the program and exploring new opportunities to build on successes.

“We recently started the Total Knee Replacement Program in partnership with the Queensway Carleton Hospital, and it’s been going very well. Patients who meet the appropriate criteria can have their surgery at ARH and are discharged home the same day. It’s great to help people on those long wait lists get their surgeries sooner. We’ll continue fine-tuning this new program and identify other opportunities to maximize the OR time.”

At home in Fitzroy Harbour

Dara couldn’t be happier with her family’s setup in Fitzroy Harbour – she’s at home in the rural community and loves their proximity to the provincial park.

“I have a busy family with two kids, ages 13 and 11. They are both into sports, and we enjoy watching them play hockey and volleyball.”

Dara and her family also love their time together at their cottage and being active outdoors.