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Laura Bennett

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Q & A with Laura Bennett, Patient Partner, BC Renal

Laura Bennett started as a patient partner with BC Renal in 2019. To date, she's been part of a focus group, a key patient engagement working group, a number of our committees and our BC Kidney Days (BCKD) education event: 

  • Past roles:
    • Co-chair, BC Renal Patient & Family Engagement Framework Working Group
    • Member, BCKD 2020 Planning Committee
    • Panelist, BCKD 2020
  • Current roles:
    • Member, BC Renal Patient & Family Engagement Advisory Committee
    • Member, BC Renal Core Committee
    • Member, BC Renal Executive Committee

Laura is also part of quality improvement and research activities outside of BC Renal, for example, as a member of the Patient Voices Network Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Working Group. As a patient partner, she was listed as one of the co-authors on a research paper that was an interprovincial effort. Laura is involved in two other research groups; at the time of our interview, one group was waiting on ethics approval and the other had submitted its finished proposal in April, 2021.

We are very grateful Laura has taken time and interest in being involved with BC Renal. Recently, we connected with her to learn about her thoughts on volunteering as a patient partner and a bit about what she enjoys doing outside of this work:

Q: Can you provide one (or more) examples of how you feel your involvement with BC Renal is making a difference for how kidney services or care are provided in BC?

Prince George is the largest municipality that I have ever lived in; I grew up in smaller places such as 100 Mile House and Williams Lake. This makes an impact because I can bring insight about rural care, traveling for care, and how our health authority presents unique challenges.

Also, as a person with First Nations heritage, I sometimes share my perspective from that point of view to offer a different experience for people to consider.

Q: What's one (or more) things you've found challenging about being a patient partner? Why has it been challenging?

The pandemic shifted many activities from in-person to virtual interactions. I found it a strain to attend multiple Zoom meetings in a day or week for various activities in my life. I had an opportunity to share this challenge with one of my BC Renal colleagues who was supportive and provided me with tips on how to mitigate 'Zoom fatigue' and ways in which to vary my involvement. 

Q: What's one (or more) thing you've found rewarding about being a patient partner? Why has it been rewarding?

It would be the way I have been treated with respect and feel like the other committee members are actively listening to what I have to contribute. 

Q: Why have you chosen to volunteer with BC Renal more than once? 

I have felt valued and believe I am making a difference. On top of that, BC Renal's Helen Chiu and Brenda Lee, who provide patient engagement support, are incredible to work with.

Q: What are your hopes for current and future patient partners and their involvement with BC Renal?

I want to know that the patient partners continue to feel respected, welcomed, and valuable. 

I would like more representation from the hardly reached populations. 

I want to believe that all due considerations are taken when ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Q: When you're not spending your time on one of your volunteer roles, what are some of the things you enjoy doing?

Spending time with my family is my favourite way to relax. I have two grown sons, two lovely daughters-in-law, three grandsons and some extended family. My other interests include: reading, writing, singing, acting, directing, boards games, and giving my tuxedo cat (Max) the snuggles he needs.

We extend a big thank you to Laura for her contributions to BC Renal to date and for sharing her experiences and thoughts with us for this profile!




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