People of KHSC: Renaud Golsse

News / General
By John Pereira

People of KHSC celebrates individuals across KHSC who capture the spirit of caring deeply for patients, families and each other

When he was growing up on Montreal’s west island, Renaud Golsse never envisioned a career in health care. In fact, he had something quite different in mind. But sometimes life has a funny way of making sure you end up right where you need to be.

“When I was in university if you would have asked me what the future looked like, I would have told you I’d be working on archeological digs in Greece,” says Golsse who studied ancient civilizations at Queen’s University. “I was particularly interested in how we could better understand ancient people through their architecture, art and culture. It was only later in life that I became passionate about patient care.”

Fast forward to today, in the midst of a pandemic, and Golsse now serves in a vitally important role at KHSC. As the manager of Screening and Access Control (Covid 19) he oversees a team of more than 60 people who have been tasked with keeping KHSC’s patients, visitors, staff, physicians, and volunteers safe.

“Since March of 2020, we now screen each person who enters our KGH and Hotel Dieu Hospital sites,” says Golsse. “Over the last year we’ve completed approximately 1.3 million electronic screening tests. To put that into perspective, that’s the same size as the population of Calgary, Alberta.”

He and his team of screeners ask each person a series questions, all in an effort to keep the spread of the virus out of the two hospital sites.

“We take this work incredibly seriously,” says Golsse. “KHSC is the largest health care provider in our region, we provide specialized care that is only available in a few places in the province. If Covid were to spread at KHSC it wouldn’t only impact our community, it would have a ripple effect across Ontario.”

But how does someone shift from studying ancient civilizations, to working to stop the spread of a deadly virus?

“After university I spent some time reflecting on what made me tick and I realized that my core values of protecting and helping others, aligned with the field of law enforcement. So I went back to school and took a position working in the security department at KHSC.”

Around the same time, he and his wife began acting as caregivers for his mother-in-law who required palliative care.

“It was through that journey of seeing health care up close that I became passionate about the patient experience.”

And now he works with his team, each and every day, to ensure that he’s not only keeping those patients safe, but also protecting the health care teams that are on the front lines delivering care to our community.

“No one can say this pandemic has been easy. We’re all tired, it’s been hard for everyone. This past year has included a lot of late nights, my wife and daughter have eaten dinner and gone to bed without me many times. I’m so thankful for them and how understanding they have been to support me so I can do this important work.”

“But at the same time we have been able to demonstrate how resilient we are. KHSC is full of wonderful people and we have done amazing things together. We have faced really difficult challenges and have worked really hard to find creative solutions to support our patients and each other.”

Through this past year he’s been reminded of one of his favourite quotes by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who said ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’

“I’m making a life by giving back to my community and that gives me so much purpose each day.”