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September 2009

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We’re Committed to a Healthy Workplace Mind, Body and Soul What Does Work-Life Balance Mean to You?





Fading Footprint Reducing Emissions and Energy at Carbonear General Walking the Path Staff Wellness Program Opening Doors... to a Fresh and Healthy Lifestyle More than Just a Barrel of Monkeys Having Fun at Work Hidden Treasures Glenbrook Lodge Book Club Safety Talk Jim King’s Voice Rings Loud and Clear Having a Chat with Vickie Kaminski Like a Chain Reaction Staff in Bonavista Get Motivated Are you Proud of Our Accomplishments? 2008/2009 Highlights

Connect is published by the Employee Communications department of Eastern Health. Connect is printed internally by Printing Services. Please address any comments or suggestions to Jeanette O’Keefe, Editor: Employee Communications Administrative Office Waterford Bridge Road St. John's, NL A1E 4J8 777-1425

Editor’s Note

here’s no denying it…we’ve been through a lot in our four short years together. The process of merging seven health boards into the largest regional health authority in Atlantic Canada hasn’t been easy no matter where you work or what you do. There is no ‘how-to guide’ to follow and we continue to learn and make improvements along the way. One such improvement is how we communicate with employees. In the communications audit conducted in 200809, an overwhelming number of you indicated Eastern Health’s employee publication wasn’t meeting your needs. Respondents in surveys and focus group sessions said they wanted content that focused more on specific sites and regions, more pictures, improved accessibility, and an increased focus on the human interest side of the story.


The bottom line – you want to hear about organizational news but it has to mean something to you. Here’s where Connect comes in. Inside the pages of this magazine are the words and faces of Eastern Health employees. We have travelled around the region, met with employees, and heard their stories. This issue is also our first attempt at an Employee Annual Report which focuses on healthy workplace initiatives throughout the region. We hope this new employee magazine will bring the stories of your coworkers to life and remind you that no matter where you live or what you do in this organization, we are all connected by a vision (Healthy People, Healthy Communities) and we are living that vision everyday. We know that accessing information has been challenging for many of you, so to ensure more employees actually see this magazine and get a chance to read it, we will be distributing printed versions in areas where staff do not have regular access to a computer. It will also be available electronically via the Eastern Health intranet site for those with regular computer access. Thanks to those who shared their stories. As always, we welcome your feedback and story ideas for upcoming issues.

Jeanette O’Keefe Editor

Interested in some Fast Facts about Eastern Health, visit:

September 2009











Jeanette O’Keefe Employee Communications St. John’s


Leslie Harnett Human Resources, Program and Policy Development St. John’s


Lisa Browne Planning, Quality and Research Clarenville


Susan Bonnell Employee Communications St. John’s


Robyn Lush Employee Communications St. John’s


Angela Lawrence Strategic Communications St. John’s

We’re Committed to a Healthy Workplace by LESLIE HARNETT n keeping with Eastern Health’s vision, creating a healthy workplace became a priority for the organization early in its mandate. In the fall of 2007 a steering committee was established to maintain and evaluate healthy workplace initiatives throughout the organization. Beverley Clarke, Chief Operating Officer, has been named chair and executive champion of the committee. Membership includes representatives from across various programs and departments at Eastern Health. The Healthy Workplace Steering Committee has identified priority areas, including communications, conducting an environmental scan, employee mental health and well-being, respect in the workplace, and the development of a violence prevention strategy. Given that the steering committee identified the mental health and well-being of employees as an organizational priority, a working group was formed in spring 2008. The group recently finalized their proposal, which outlines recommendations around five areas that are said to impact all individual’s mental health and well-being: • Balancing work-life responsibilities; • Supportive work environment; • Constructive conflict resolution; • Accommodating employees with mental health issues and/or illnesses; and • Employee accountability.


A Violence Prevention Action Planning Committee was formed in the winter of 2009 and is responsible for drafting a Violence Prevention Strategy for Eastern Health. In addition, the Healthy Workplace Steering Committee has been providing input and guidance into some areas of policy development, including: • Conflict Management; • Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace; • Smoke Free Environment; and • Healthy Food Choices. The steering committee has also been busy finalizing a Healthy Workplace Strategic Plan for 20082011; circulating a Healthy Workplace Charter which has been signed by Executive; and ensuring healthy workplace is incorporated into the operational planning process for every department in Eastern Health. The next big step for the group is to apply to the National Quality Institute for Level 1 certification under their healthy workplace criteria. This certification would formally recognize Eastern Health’s commitment to a healthy workplace.

September 2009


Mind, Body & Soul What Does Work-Life Balance Mean to You? by LISA BROWNE Photography by Ed Vincent and Cynthia Farrell

or the mind, body, and soul. That’s why three TROY MITCHELL Eastern Health employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. Addictions Co-ordinator Troy Mitchell is based in Clarenville and for him, worklife balance means engaging in activities which provide fulfillment outside of work. “When there is adequate balance, people arrive at work ready to engage in the day's tasks,” says Troy. “Being content with my day means that I don't project workplace stressors onto my family. An important part of life for me is to appreciate that work cannot be all things.” Troy, who co-founded the international development agency Two Villages, notes that he finds his life outside of work very rewarding and it provides him with leadership opportunities that are not currently part of his job. He summarizes his philosophy on a healthy work-life balance stating “a healthy work-day means that you have lots to give outside; giving outside means that you have increased capacity and tools to give to the workplace.” Working at Eastern Health has helped Troy discover work-life balance. “I currently work a compressed schedule,” says Troy. “The extra time at work has allowed me to accommodate clients or plan health promotion events. I use the day off in every pay period for a variety of purposes, including working on university courses.” Eastern Health recognized Troy’s commitment to life long learning with a $1,000 scholarship to assist with his Master’s degree studies. Heather Power is a nurse in the Emergency Department at the Bonavista Peninsula Health Centre. She has just returned from a lunch-hour bike ride to Cape Bonavista and describes how she has embraced the need to focus on her health. “A number of years ago I signed up to complete the Golden Journey, a bike ride from Bonavista to Grand Bank to raise funds for our long-term care facilities,” she says. “Since then I train regularly for the ride and also participate in the Tely 10.”


September 2009




Heather says she enjoys the time she spends with colleagues after work as they train for the 2009 Golden Journey and the Tely 10. She adds that her emphasis on exercise has extended to overall healthy living. “Because I exercise, I’m more inclined to watch what I eat so that my body and my mind are as healthy as they can be,” she says. Michelle Cooper, Co-ordinator of Patient/Resident Care (Med/Surg, Peds, OBS/GYN) at the Burin Peninsula Health Care Centre, echoes Troy and Heather’s comments. “A healthy work-life balance is essential,” says Michelle. “We need to come to work with a fresh mind.” Michelle adds that Eastern Health’s Healthy Workplace Charter is a step in the right direction and has created a focus on the need for balance. “Whenever I can, I try to go for a walk or jog during my lunch hour,” says Michelle, “and that helps to clear my mind.” Outside of work, Michelle is a dedicated soccer coach, has three courses remaining in her Masters of Education (post-secondary) studies at Memorial University, and is a proud mother of two children.

“I do a lot of juggling in my professional and personal life but I think it’s a healthy mix of activities,” says Michelle. She is quick to point out that her supervisors see the importance of achieving a work-life balance and have encouraged her to pursue professional development activities. Balancing is a tricky act. It takes trial and error and sometimes you fall before you find your balance. Heather, Troy and Michelle seem to have found their work-life balance and they undoubtedly agree it makes them happier and healthier individuals.

A healthy work-life balance is essential.

For more stories about employees who have achieved work-life balance, visit FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS at: 8

Fading Footprint Reducing Emissions and Energy at Carbonear General by JEANETTE O’KEEFE Photography by Hubert Best

he towering smoke stack outside Carbonear General Hospital no longer sends black soot into the atmosphere and onto unsuspecting vehicles in the parking lot. That’s because Eastern Health’s talented team in the Infrastructure Support Department has been busy making changes to reduce this facility’s environmental impact.

Saving Energy


Electrician Ambrose Slade has helped improve energy efficiency through his work on a lighting retrofit project. “With the lighting project, we used electronic ballast instead of the old magnetic ballast,” says Ambrose. “These ballasts operate more lamps per ballast resulting in fewer ballasts in each light fixture, which results in fewer ballasts for the landfill. Electronic ballasts operate more efficiently resulting in less energy consumption.” Less energy consumption means that in the middle of January, the energy plant in Holyrood is burning less heavy oil (a further reduction in Carbonear General’s overall impact on the environment). Next on the list for Carbonear was a retrofit of the hospital’s mechanical systems. Controls have been installed on perimeter (baseboard) heating radiation, particularly on the lower floors, which had minimal controls in place. This will prevent overheating and reduce energy consumption during unoccupied times while, at the same time, increasing comfort for staff, patients and their families. Reducing the amount of energy spent ventilating the building is also a priority.

Reducing Emissions When the seven former health boards merged to form Eastern Health in 2005, Carbonear General was the only boiler plant (operated by EH) still using bunker C or heavy oil. “At times, it was still using heavy oil so we needed to finish converting that site to light oil,” says Keith Bowden, Director of Infrastructure Support. “One of the things we did was change out the fuel storage tanks and a burner, so that the site is now burning only light oil.” The bottom line – Carbonear General’s emissions “dropped through the floor,” says Keith. “Particularly, when you look at ash, for example, it just doesn’t even go on the same scale.”

Some number crunching confirms Keith’s claim. Efforts at Carbonear General will: •

• •


Reduce electrical consumption by 450,000 kwh/yr (equivalent to the electrical consumption of 7.5 average size homes per year) Decrease sulfur dioxide emissions by over 32 tons per year Reduce fuel oil consumption by 230,000 liters/yr

• •

Decrease CO2 emissions by 963 tons per year (equivalent to taking 184 vehicles off the road) Decrease ash emissions by 5.5 tons per year (this is a 97% reduction) thereby virtually eliminating ash emissions


Electronic ballasts operate more efficiently resulting in lesser energy consumption for the hospital. “We’re going to use some heat pumps to capture waste heat in order to preheat fresh air and use some return air,” says Keith. “You don’t need to have 100 per cent fresh air everywhere and we’ll look at some pretty substantial energy savings there as well on the oil that we burn.” Other necessary improvements, due to the age of the building, have resulted in further energy savings. “A lot of the seals were gone in the windows and of course when the seal goes you don’t get the same kind of insulation value,” says Keith. Add to that a retrofit of the elevators in the building and a new energy efficient

chiller (a core part of the air conditioning system which will reduce electrical consumption while increasing cooling capacity). “All this will add up to substantial energy savings on the oil that is burned and the electricity consumed,” says Keith. “So we’re not only burning cleaner fuel, we’re burning less of it.” By reducing emissions and energy consumption, the Infrastructure Support Department has put its best foot forward in helping to reduce Carbonear General’s environmental footprint – creating a healthier space for staff, patients, and the public.

September 2009


Walking the Path

narrow, paved path surrounds Blue Crest Nursing Home in Grand Bank and you’d hardly believe where it leads. One loop around will likely take you back to the main entrance, but something truly inspiring happens if you keep on walking! About one year ago Carol Ivany-Barrett, Clinical Dietician, initiated a staff wellness challenge at the Blue Crest Nursing Home and Grand Bank Health Centre. The first challenge was a Walk to Marystown at Lunch which encouraged staff to walk the path around Blue Crest on lunch and coffee breaks. For anyone who couldn’t get out on their lunch breaks, particularly for those at the Grand Bank Health Centre, Carol started a program called Move It where staff could record any exercise they did (at home or at work) of at least 30 minutes, five days a week. Participants recorded their progress in log books and prizes were awarded.




It all started when Shirley Rose, who was the resident care coordinator at Blue Crest and has since retired, came to Carol and asked if she could come up with some wellness initiatives for the staff. “We had just finished major renovations here so it was a bit stressful for staff,” says Carol. “The response has been really positive and in February people started asking ‘are we going to do the walk to Marystown again this year’”? With 28 dedicated participants, the walking program started up again in April and challenged staff to Walk to Marystown and Back. In addition, Carol has added a Walk to Bonavista to the program. “People are doing a lot of walking,” says Carol. “Shirley Warren, LPN, is one of our most avid walkers and by mid-June she had already reached Bonavista.”

Beyond the Path It is evident Carol has gone well beyond the walking path with wellness initiatives for staff in Grand Bank. Aside from the physical activity, she developed an I’m a Quitter smoking cessation program which has already resulted in two staff kicking the habit. “Even some of our smokers are encouraging co-workers who are trying to quit,” says Carol. A ‘packing a healthy lunch’ display and contest was developed which resulted in a recipe exchange and a recipe book for staff with healthy meal ideas and tips. Carol says she has noticed a definite increase in team building amongst staff as a result of the wellness program. “You’ll notice it in the lunch room and at coffee breaks,” she says. “Somebody will come in and say ‘come on we’re going walking’.” In the future, Carol hopes to further expand the Staff Wellness Program in partnership with the Blue Crest Nursing Home Social Club.

Embracing Wellness Although she’s in the midst of a busy Wednesday morning having just completed a resident admission, Registered Nurse, Cara Bennett still gleams with


excitement and pride as she talks about her involvement in the Staff Wellness Program at Blue Crest. Cara has fully embraced the program and since getting involved has committed to walking at least two miles a day during lunch and coffee breaks. “Every chance I get I love to step out and just walk. It helps greatly with stress, it helps with your attitude, and it just takes you away,” says Cara. “I also participated in the I’m a Quitter Program and I’ve been over eight months smoke-free which has honestly motivated me without a doubt,” says Cara. Since joining the program, Cara has also walked away more than 20 pounds. “With Carol’s healthy food strategies and handouts, it all helps to keep you on track and God knows we need it,” says Cara. Cara admits her job can be stressful and due to staff shortages, overall job duties have increased. “You really have to focus and

you have to take time for yourself,” she says. “It improves your overall health, there’s no doubt about it. Also, where I’m a single mom even getting a chance to work out half an hour at home is challenging. Here, on my breaks, I can do it.” As Cara rushes to finish her cup of tea before heading back to work she reflects on the past year and the difference the wellness program has made in her life. “It keeps me motivated, it is tremendous for me,” says Cara. “I’m so glad that Carol has brought this here.” Walking the narrow, paved path around Blue Crest Nursing Home not only leads to one of Eastern Health’s exceptional long term care facilities, but has also led to a wellness program that has brought employees together to walk, laugh, share ideas, and encourage each other to live healthier lives at work and at home.

September 2009


Opening Doors... to a Fresh & Healthy Lifestyle t’s 11a.m. and the doors to the Island View Café at the Carbonear General Hospital have closed so food services staff can prepare for the upcoming lunchhour rush. Sonia Moores, Food Services Supervisor, begins by putting away the breakfast and break time snacks. Preparing fresh and healthy lunch options for staff and the public will be the focus for the next part of her day.




by JEANETTE O’KEEFE Photography by Hubert Best In partnership with ARAMARK Healthcare’s Fresh and Healthy program, staff at the Island View Café are committed to encouraging a healthier lifestyle for staff and the public by making healthy food choices available everyday. “We offer a variety of wraps and all different kinds of salads,” says Sonia. “We also changed the pop – we put that down at the bottom of the cooler – and the water is now at eye level. We added a larger assortment of juice as well.” The majority of sandwiches are prepared on whole wheat bread instead of white and the staff have also introduced alternative cooking methods. “We’re rotating some things on our menu. Instead of deep fried, we have it pan fried,” says Sonia. There is even a healthy choice for dessert at the Island View Café. “We offer more fresh fruit and yogurt with berries along with other desserts,” says Sonia. “So we offer both and at least now they have a healthier choice.” Sonia says the reaction from staff has been very positive at Carbonear General and she admits to improving her own personal eating habits as a result of her involvement in the Fresh and Healthy program. “It certainly makes you aware,” she says. As the doors reopen for lunch at the Island View Café, Sonia and the rest of the Food Services staff at Carbonear General can feel confident knowing they have also opened doors to a healthier lifestyle for staff in Carbonear.

The reaction from staff has been very positive.

More than Just a Barrel of by JEANETTE O’KEEFE Photography by Hubert Best

rmed with a Barrel of Monkeys, a wooden puzzle and a set of dominos, Jane McDonald had a plan. As manager of food services responsible for the L.A. Miller Centre, Jane wanted to recognize staff for the outstanding service they provide to patients and clients everyday. “Over the years it has just become a little bit more stressful in most people’s lives and in the workplace so we’re just trying to put a bit more fun back in,” says Jane.


“It’s not rocket science and it’s not anything that’s huge and fancy.” Last October, Jane adopted elements of the Compass Group’s Be a Star program which focuses on staff retention, recognition, and wellness. Aside from purchasing fun items for staff break rooms, Jane and the other food services managers developed bulletin board displays for staff with daily jokes, cartoons, and information about employee wellness such as how to deal with stress.

September 2009


If people have a little bit more fun in their down-time and if they are happier in the workplace, that ties in with overall wellness. “They may have come to work in a bad mood and looked at a cartoon and it struck them really funny and that may have helped them throughout the rest of their day,” says Jane. “If people have a little bit more fun in their down-time and if they are happier in the workplace, that ties in with overall wellness.” Managers also organized staff socials to discuss the purpose of the bulletin board displays, talk about the services provided by the Employee and Family Assistance Program, and provide staff with an opportunity to socialize.

Staff Response When Chris Sexton, Robert McLean and Ed Penney first discovered the Barrel of Monkeys in their break room they didn’t quite know what to think. It doesn’t take long to realize that these three employees already believe that laughter truly is the best medicine. Their reaction to the Barrel of Monkeys says it all. “We couldn’t figure it out first,” says Robert who is known as the class clown of food services at the Miller Centre and has been nicknamed “Giggles”. “We thought we were at a day care first,” laughs Chris. “I hadn’t played with those for years.” All jokes aside, the guys discovered that having fun at the workplace can not only make their own work day brighter, it also makes the day brighter for the patients they serve.

“It’s really important. It makes staff feel a lot better when they come to work and it makes the patient feel a lot better,” says Chris. “I guess the patients don’t want to be here but I think they figure they are well taken care of.” “We have a bit of fun with the patients,” adds Robert. “I do the moon walk for them every now and then!” Ed is the newest staff member of the three and says because of the positive working environment that exists at the Miller Centre, he’s happy he made the decision to join the team. “When I came here, I loved it,” he says with a smile.

The Best Medicine It’s been almost a year since Jane brought the Barrel of Monkeys to the food services break room. “I still see staff take them out once in a while to play,” she says. What’s more important to Jane, however, is that staff feel recognized and appreciated for their efforts and enjoy coming to work everyday. With Robert (aka Giggles), Ed, and Chris around to help lighten the mood, Jane can rest assured there will always be a bit of fun and laughter in the Food Services Department at the Miller Centre.

To learn more about Eastern Health ‘s Healthy Workplace Initiative, visit:


Hidden Treasures by JEANETTE O’KEEFE

eading a good book is like unearthing a hidden treasure. LPN Shawn Bursey is an avid reader, and when he started working at the Glenbrook he discovered several of his colleagues shared his passion. “I decided to create a staff book club to allow staff an opportunity to chat about great books, as well as socialize with one another.” The Glenbrook Lodge Book Club was formed in 2006.


“It has allowed us to read books we may not otherwise have read and it reminds us of the diverse backgrounds we may not have the opportunity to see in the course of a work day,” says Shawn. Monthly book club meetings have been held at staff members’ homes, local coffee shops and restaurants. “It’s very casual,” says Administrative Assistant Lana Morgan. “Getting together for a laugh and a discussion over coffee” is what she enjoys most.

Future plans for the book club include inviting local authors to meet with the group and starting a staff book exchange. “I encourage anyone at Glenbrook Lodge to join us at anytime,” says Shawn. “I also encourage other sites to start a book club for your own enjoyment.”

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The new system will not only help to prevent injuries while on the job, but will also result in injured employees safely returning to work.

by JEANETTE O’KEEFE Photography by Kelly Coombs

lthough Jim King is quite soft-spoken, when it comes to safety his voice rings loud and clear with Environmental Services staff at Carbonear General. Jim leads weekly safety talks which cover everything from slip and falls to ensuring proper glove use. “We provide handouts to staff,” says Jim. “We also have them sign off that they attended and that they understood what was discussed.” Feedback from the sessions has been quite positive, according to Jim, and staff members have been encouraging each other to follow proper safety procedures to avoid getting injured on the job. “There’s always questions and we get people coming back and asking different things,” says Jim. At one of his recent safety talks, Jim was proud to introduce the new microfiber cleaning system which has proven to be a safer cleaning system for both staff and patients.


“The microfibre system is a cleaner system,” says Jim. “Each room will have its own mop and cloth [so it’s safer in terms of infection control issues] and the mop is a lot lighter and easier to use.” Although some staff were skeptical at first, the new system has received rave reviews. The repetitive use of the old wet and dry mopping system has caused musculoskeletal injuries and has even resulted in time off due to injury. “The new system will not only help to prevent injuries while on the job, but will also result in injured employees safely returning to work,” says Brian Lambe, Regional Manager Food & Environmental Services, ARAMARK Healthcare. Jim’s safety talks have resulted in a safer, healthier work environment for employees at Carbonear General where questions and feedback are always encouraged.

To read a related story on the Microfibre Mopping System, check out the May 2008 issue of The Loop at:


Having a Chat with Vickie Kaminski

What originally made you choose health care as your career area? “I’m a nurse by profession. I was four years old and said I wanted to be a nurse or a teaching nun. As I got older, the nun and teaching didn’t work out so nursing is where I went. It’s just one of those things, it’s just something you have a passion for from a very early age.”

Tell me about your very first job out of university.

Photography by Hubert Best

“My first job out of university I started on a medical floor in nursing. I graduated from a university program in May of 1975 and I started working on this medical unit. It was general medicine, it was acute care, and it was the old days so we had everything from soup to nuts. But I’d been there about a month and a half when I got my RN results and I found out that I had failed. Oh gosh, I was devastated. It was the first time in my life I had ever failed at anything; I thought my world was over. I had a very great nurse manager who took me aside and said ‘relax you get to do them again’. Two months later I rewrote and passed”.

September 2009


Tell me a bit about your family. “We’re a blended family. Brian Gatien is the fellow I live with. He’s a lawyer. He just got called to the bar of Newfoundland and Labrador on June 26th so he’s probably the oldest, newest lawyer in Newfoundland. Together we have seven kids and they are great kids. We have three boys and four girls. There are a couple of engineers, we have a banker, we have a business guy, and we have three full time students. They are all ages from 20 to 30 and lots of different interests. Some of them are thinking of coming here to do graduate programs or just spend some time. My mom is still well and living in Sudbury and felt very abandoned when I left, but she’s getting over it! She’ll definitely come for a visit. My younger sister lived here for eight years. Her husband is a Mountie and he worked originally for Fishery Products International. When he joined the Mounties they left. On the way to work everyday I drive by the church where my niece was baptized.”

What bugs you or gets under your skin? “I don’t like constant whining and complaining with no suggestions for improvement. I think everybody needs to be able to get stuff off their chest and I’m not saying that you can’t do that, but to do it over and over repeatedly and never bring a solution to the table – that will get my back up. And I don’t like petitions – that’s a pet peeve. I don’t mind talking to 1,000 people who have a concern but I don’t want one person to think that they have to get 1,000 signatures to get my attention.”

What is your most treasured possession? “I’m an Irish Catholic by religious upbringing and my Dad had a little statue of the Blessed Virgin that he put in his truck (he was a terrible driver and I think he needed it). When he died my mom gave it to me and I think that’s probably my most treasured possession.”

What event in your life has affected you the most? “When I was in university we actually had problems with the university and the school of nursing. There were some issues with our leadership and the president of the university at the time decided to close the school of nursing and move us all out. He was going to rethink what he wanted to do with the school. A group of us got together and just sort of put up enough fuss that he didn’t do that; he in fact kept the school open. That sort of brought together for me a number of things. One was the power of working with people, but also standing up for what was right and learning to come up with solutions. We had to go to this president of the university and not just say we don’t like your plan but say we don’t like your plan and here are some other options that you may consider. That was kind of a turning point for me.”

What do you do to relieve stress? “I like to do needlework so I knit, I like to paint - I do work with acrylics and things, and I love to spend time talking to people. For me having company in, taking my mind off things, that’s really relaxing for me.”

So many great things happening... I’d like to hear those successes and get to know that. 20

Who do you admire most? “I admire so many people. My Dad was my best friend and a real hero for me. I certainly did admire him. And my mom. Florence Nightingale is a hero of mine. I think she was a very wise, intuitive, and futuristic kind of person. I live with a great guy right now, I admire him. I went home and said how do you feel about Newfoundland? He said ‘to visit?’ I said ‘to live.’ He packed up his law firm, downsized his Ontario business and we moved here.”

What is your hidden talent? “I used to play saxophone, alto sax; now I try to paint.”

What aspect of your job do you get the most satisfaction from? “Getting to know the people that I work with and helping them be who they want to be and do what they want to do. I had lots of help along the way - I had mentors that were very good to me and opened doors and helped me find my way through this morass of health care and that’s what I would like to do. I mean I don’t know everything but I know lots of people who know things so if I can connect people I’d feel good about that.”

If you couldn’t do what you’re doing now as a career, what would you do? “Teaching maybe; I think that’s a very noble career. I’m not sure that I’m cut out for it. You know, in my wildest dreams I’m a very good saxophone player and I’m playing with Diana Krall on stage.”

What do you hope to achieve in your new role within the next 12 months? “Well I think first of all I have to get to learn about the place – it’s big and diverse and has so many, many wonderful things happening. I can tell you what the big problem issues are because they are so well reported but there are so many great things happening that I’d like to hear those successes and get to know that. I think we need to put a human face on Eastern Health. We’ve got a public image right now that’s somewhat tarnished I think from all of the things that were happening. So I think we have to begin to humanize that again and let the general public see behind the logo what we mean, who we are, and how we do things. I’d like to help accomplish some of that. We need to work on the budget. The budget is out of whack and we’re going to have to do some tough work to get it balanced and make sure we have the right allocation of services. I’d really like to be able to come up with a recruitment plan for medical specialists and for professionals in short supply so that we have some consistency to our services and not be unreliable. When people come in they should be able to see who they need, they should have what they need. That’s going to be a long term plan but in eighteen months I think we should at least be able to come up with a plan for how we’re going to accomplish that.”

September 2009


Like a Chain Reaction Staff in Bonavista Get Motivated

by ROBYN LUSH Photography by Robyn Lush

he windswept barrens along the shore towards the Bonavista Lighthouse contrast sharply with the cozy harbour overflowing with colourful boats. Gulls hover like kites over the fish plant and a hodgepodge of houses are tucked away in the twisting roads and laneways of the community. Everywhere you go you see smiling faces and warm, welcoming people. As Newfoundlanders, we’ve heard it before – breathtaking scenery and friendly people – we’re simply known for it. Unfortunately, we’re also known as the province with the highest number of obese people per capita, more than any other province in Canada. But taking control of your own health isn’t easy. You work hard at your job, you spend time with your family and friends, and sometimes your own needs can get lost in the mix.



Last May, a group of employees started a nine week Spring Physical Activity Challenge which saw eight teams (from two community services offices, Golden Heights Manor and the Bonavista Peninsula Health Centre) come together with a goal to walk from Bonavista to Victoria BC – a total of 7435 kilometers. The challenge has become a springboard for an overall healthy lifestyle change, both physically and mentally, for those involved. “Any physical activity helps you feel better emotionally,” says Liska Burt, with the MHC team and a strong believer in the value of regular exercise. “What I find with the challenge is that people are doing it with a buddy, other team members, and even family members. It’s motivating people to make sure they have their kilometers each week.”

It’s not always easy to find time to be healthy; the key is finding your motivation.

Andy Stagg, team member with the Golden Heights Manor Globetrotters admits, “You get so busy and wrapped up with things in your life, it’s easy to let it slide. Once you get a certain age, you have to have something that will motivate you. I found that this challenge does that for me. I even got my wife going out with me. It’s like a chain reaction.” Barb Bradley, team leader for the Buns are Us team, believes that the team pulling together is what makes things happen; that and a small dose of motivation.

“When I come in [to work] someone might say to me, ‘Barb, I never got out yesterday [to exercise],’ and I say, ‘well you better get out today!’“ Liska adds that because the challenge is a team effort, this motivates her to do more. “I don’t want to let the team down,” says Liska. “Once you start walking, you get hooked, but if you give it up for a few days, it’s really hard to get back at it. You gotta talk to yourself, push yourself.” The final results? The teams far surpassed their target and walked

a total of 12,938 kilometers – Bonavista – Victoria – New Brunswick. The top team was the aptly named Road Runners. They walked 2259 kilometers – all the way to Montreal! It’s not always easy to find time to be healthy; the key is finding your motivation. The Spring Physical Activity Challenge has helped employees in Bonavista find their motivation and together they are on their way to a healthier lifestyle – one step at a time.

For more information about Healthy Workplace Walking Challenge, visit:

September 2009


Are you Proud of Our Accomplishments? s a team, Eastern Health’s employees have lots to crow about. Here’s a small sample of the things accomplished in 2008/2009, as reported by the Board of Trustees in this year’s annual report.


Making Strides We have been making strides in the promotion of ethics. 250 people attended the Canadian Bioethics Society Conference in St. John’s this year, cosponsored by Eastern Health and MUN. We hosted Ethics Education Days, and received $60,000 from Canadian Heritage for an Enhancement of Diversity project. Dr. Singleton’s ethics position paper, Providing Care in the Appropriate Setting, was recognized as a leading practice by Accreditation Canada. We finished work on our Privacy and Confidentiality Policy and have begun training for all Eastern Health staff, volunteers and physicians, including resigning our commitment to adhere to this principle. We value improved communications, establishing Employee Communications as a new department, measuring our internal communications effectiveness in our first audit, and developing a formal Communications Framework. There has been continued implementation of waitlist management strategies. We have established a Clinical Efficiency Manager for the Peninsulas and Rural Avalon, and the Surgical Waitlist Management Committee has refined the monitoring of waiting times for surgery, with trends and future service requirements

identified from data collected. Accessing priority services continued to be a focus for our organization. In Mental Health and Addictions, for example, we started a Central Intake Pilot Project for easier referrals to child and adolescent services and established a number of community positions. We established an emergency fund to assist mental health consumers in living well in the community, and developed a collaborative project in Bonavista between community- based Mental Health and Addictions staff and staff working in the ER to improve health outcomes for clients. We integrated our payroll systems, from 19 to 1 – a major transitional achievement for human resources, IT and finance staff. And in Environmental Services, a formalized regional system for monitoring reprocessing equipment was implemented. And this year we continued to work on stabilizing the system by improving recruitment services, completing our Leadership Plan, filling many vacant physician positions, looking at skill mix more closely in long-term care, and starting a patient flow study in St. John’s hospitals.

If you’d like to see more of this report, visit:


Promoting Client Safety We promoted and developed client safety initiatives, including an electronic narcotic cupboard for the Health Sciences Centre Emerg; transfering over-the-counter medications for Personal Care Homes from Central Supply to local pharmacies; completing year two of the 4-year RMSAM cycle; approving patient care protocols for Emergency Medical Responders and Paramedics; developing a Regional Laboratory Safety Manual; starting a Falls Management Strategy at Masonic Park Nursing Home; and, establishing a Laboratory/Perioperative Quality Improvement Committee for the St. John’s sites.



Proud of Our Team Our people made it big, providing many examples of personal and professional excellence: 1. Valerie Barrington: Canadian Association of Social Work Distinguished Service Award 2. Dr. S. Bharati Reddy: Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s 2008 Specialist of the Year 3. Jaclyn Williams: attended the national Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Sciences conference, based on her essay submission. 4. Elizabeth Strange: IAAP Administrative Professional of the Year 5. The Occupational Health and Safety Committee, Salvation Army Glenbrook Lodge: Workplace Health Safety Compensation Committee of the Year

Planning for the Future Planning for future needs is a significant aspect of providing quality care. In 2008-09, we completed phase one of the St. John’s Hospital-Based Facilities Redevelopment Plan. Planning also began for redevelopment of ambulatory services space at Carbonear General and the Cardiac Cath Lab at Health Sciences, expansions in Cancer Care and the ER at St. Clare’s. Renovations at the HSC Pathology Lab were started to bring together pathology services in the city.


6. Cal Morgan: Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors President’s Award 7. Cathy Gaudon: LPN Award for Excellence 8. Strategic Communications: IABC Pinnacle Awards for Employee/Internal Communications (Accreditation Communications Strategy); Newsletters (The Loop) and Other Graphic Design (Hand Hygiene Campaign). 9. The Newfoundland and Labrador Lung Association bestowed the President’s Vote of Thanks to Eastern Health in recognition of the contributions we have made to lung health in this province. 10. St Clare’s ICU: one of the top four sites in Canada, as chosen by the Canadian ICU Collaborative Improvement Guide, for improved compliance to the VAP bundle .


Building Partnerships and Community Promoting Health in Our Communities We offered and participated in a large number of health promotion activities, including offering several sessions on childhood obesity for children and families through the Janeway Lifestyles Program; participated in the Live Smart Diabetes Expo, sponsored through the Canadian Diabetes Association; developed a Chronic Disease Prevention and Management Team in Bonavista; established a Healthy Pregnancy Working Group to develop a public awareness campaign; promoted and participated in the first provincial conference on sexual and reproductive health: Sexual Health – More than Just Sex!; and implemented an extensive Teen Wellness Program in partnership with Discovery Collegiate and the Community Youth Network in Bonavista. Dr. G.B.Cross has a new family practice clinic, we started a palliative care volunteer project at Carbonear General Hospital, and we extended dialysis service to accommodate 6 new patients at the Burin Peninsula facility. Towards strengthening public health capacity, we made significant strides. Immunization and HPV clinics increased and continued, and Eastern Health continued to improve its emergency capacity, participating in exercises, developing triage courses, and offering fit testing and staff immunizations. We also expanded the LPN scope of practice to assume responsibility for initial hearing and screening in some schools in the region.

Making Our Mark We met the requirements of our six-month and one-year Accreditation Progress Report from Accreditation Canada, and we’re getting geared up for our next accreditation in 2010. We introduced Eastern Health’s Healthy Workplace Charter, which outlines the visions and principles of a healthy workplace and represents our organization’s commitment to supporting, promoting, and developing a healthy workplace.


We built some great partnership projects: The Can-Do Employment Now! transitional employment program with Human Resources, Labour and Employment and Stella Burry Community Services; Primary Health supplied Nurse Practitioner services at the McMorran Community; Child Youth and Family Services worked with the Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association to promote and support the important role of caregivers; and Rural Avalon staff from our Personal Care Home Monitoring and Licensing Team hosted an education day for personal care home operators. We built capacity in our communities—with the Reaching Out Project, an initiative of the Janeway Family Centre, funded by RBC, to develop facilitation manuals and training workshops for children and parenting group programs; with the Eating Disorders Community Capacity Project; and at the Carry the Torch, Light the Way Wellness Conference, involving 120 participants from communities throughout Eastern Newfoundland.

Dedication Our staff, physicians and volunteers work hard to mark special events for patients, clients, residents and families throughout the year. At the Pentecostal Senior Citizen’s Home in Clarke’s Beach, for example, the dietary staff dressed themselves in Valentinerelated attire and held a Sweetheart’s Dinner for residents and spouses in a restaurant-like atmosphere.

Growth The Grand Bank Health Centre and new long-term care facility in Clarenville were opened and renovations were completed at the Blue Crest Nursing Home in Grand Bank and the extension to the Veterans Pavilion at the Miller Centre.

Respect Creating a respectful workplace also means celebrating the successes of our employees. In 2008-09, 470 employees attended service recognition events held to honour employees who have provided 25 to 40 years of service.

Innovation Innovation is integral to the pursuit of excellence. Equipment such as the state-of-the-art Kodak Direct Digital Radiography System, installed at St. Clare’s, enhances image quality and improves work flow by enabling patients to spend less time in the x-ray room.

September 2009


Connect Fall 2009  

Connect is a full-colour magazine published four times per year for Eastern Health employees. The publication’s content focuses on employees...

Connect Fall 2009  

Connect is a full-colour magazine published four times per year for Eastern Health employees. The publication’s content focuses on employees...