Hospital News May 2021 Edition

Page 1

Perseverance First a shutdown, then a lockdown. Dangerous COVID-19 variants on the rise across Ontario. Hospital ICUs struggling to keep up with admissions. And a third wave that, despite abundant warnings, has been bigger and more disruptive than the previous two. Perseverance is defined as continued effort in the face of difficulty or opposition. It’s a word that nurses and health-care professionals have been living every day. Throughout this pandemic, we’ve continued to put ourselves in harm’s way, holding the line. To Ontario’s Conservatives we say: prove that you’ve learned from this pandemic. Build health-care capacity. Prioritize the hiring of more RNs. Restore the collective bargaining rights you took away. Honour the perseverance that has cost nurses and health-care professionals so much.

Contents May 2021 Edition


A Salute to o Nursing Heroess


▲ Cover story: Nursing Hero winner Ordia Kelly


▲ Two surgeries save mom and baby


▲ On the move: ICU patient transport an essential tool during COVID surge

COLUMNS Guest editorial ..................4

10 8

In brief ..............................6 Editor’s Note ..................14 From the CEO’s desk .....57 Evidence matters ...........58 Long-term care ...............58

▲ Double-lung transplant after COVID-19

▲ New action plan for cancer surgery


610 Applewood Crescent, Suite 401 Vaughan Ontario L4K 0E3 TEL. 905.532.2600|FAX 1.888.546.6189

It’s time to


Three critical things health care providers should discuss in serious illness conversations


While most Canadians do not want aggressive medical interventions in these situations, many still receive them because their wishes were not known. They may even become unable to speak for themselves, either because of physical or cognitive impairment. Knowing what patients would want can help guide medical decisions that respect their wishes. Knowing what to say and how to say it can help people get started. That’s why Choosing Wisely Canada, a national campaign to engage clinicians and patients about what they need and what they don’t when it comes to medical tests, treatments and procedures, is sharing resources to help support this conversation. So, as a doctor and a patient we are urging you to have these conversations with your care providers and your loved ones. Receiving a serious illness diagnosis is life-changing for patients. Their plans and ideas of what the future holds suddenly become uncertain. Too often patients are unprepared for what comes next. Serious illness conversations can help patients plan for the future and better understand what to expect. Continued on page 6

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By Cindy Dumba and Allan Grill anadians with serious or progressive chronic illness are feeling especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has underscored how quickly circumstances can change. Talking about a serious illness diagnosis and the impact on life expectancy is difficult. Many Canadians are uncomfortable having these conversations, even though they know it is important. Surveys have uncovered this paradox: while 93 per cent of Canadians think it is important to have discussions about goals and values related to their health, only 36 per cent have done so and only 18 per cent have documented them. As a doctor and a patient, we know these conversations can make a difference to ensure that patients get the care that they want, and avoid what they do not. Research shows that early discussions about goals, values and wishes can improve the quality of life and reduce pain and suffering for a person who is seriously ill. The tools that health care can offer to prolong life, like CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or a feeding tube, often do not contribute to improved quality of life, especially for those who are frail and have reached the end of curative treatment options for serious illness.

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Two surgeries save mom and baby By Ann Gibbon hen Japleen Gill’s first child was born last October 2, she and her husband chose to name him Jeevan. In Punjabi, it means bringer of life. The name couldn’t be more apt, given the harrowing circumstances in which Gill gave birth – and the dramatic way a vast team from numerous disciplines at St. Paul’s came together to save her life and that of her child. Gill’s introduction to motherhood goes back to her own birth. The 31-year-old was born with a bicuspid aortic valve, in which this valve, which pumps blood from the heart to the rest of the body, has two “leaflets” or doors, instead of the usual three. This can cause a variety of health issues, including placing extra stress on the heart. For most of her life, this congenital condition didn’t interfere much. She was monitored by a cardiologist as an infant and later became part of the PACH (Pacific Adult Congenital Heart) program at St. Paul’s Hospital. When she became pregnant, cardiologists at St. Paul’s kept a close eye on her health as part of the Cardiac Obstetrics Clinic, known as COB. The first trimester was fairly smooth. However, by the second, “things went downhill,” explains the Vancouver teacher. She developed a litany of symptoms – breathing problems, painful swelling in her fingers and toes, a fracture in her foot, and extreme abdominal pain – that prompted two visits to Emergency. Doctors thought she might have had gallstones. “All the symptoms could have been related to the pregnancy,” she says, making a diagnosis difficult. “But then they became worse.”


AORTIC VALVE DESTROYED BY INFECTION When on September 28 she arrived for her regular outpatient visit with her St. Paul’s cardiologist Dr. Jasmine

Japleen Gill with her husband and her son. Grewal, she could barely walk. A battery of tests confirmed she had severe endocarditis (infection) of her aortic valve. The aortic root, which connect the valve to the heart, was infected as well. “She was very sick with the infection. Her aortic valve was destroyed,” recalls Dr. Grewal, Director of the St. Paul’s Hospital Cardiac Obstetrics Clinic. Gill was extremely unwell. She needed antibiotics and surgery, so Dr. Grewal immediately admitted her to Cardiac Intensive Care. The heart condition would be serious for any patient. What made Gill’s situation more precarious was her pregnancy, which at that point was only 30 weeks along. What followed was a delicate balancing act to keep Gill’s baby safe while treating her serious cardiac infection. The Cardiac Obstetrics team quickly mobilized 30 people from multiple specialties for a Zoom call to develop a strategy for this unique case. There were doctors, nurses and other health workers from anesthesiology, obstetrics, pediatrics, from both St. Paul’s and BC Children’s Hospital, where the newborn would be moved for immediate pre-term care.

The care plan was this: a caesarean section to save the baby, then surgery to replace the damaged aortic valve and aorta with a human cadaver graft – a procedure called a homograft. This would provide protection against recurrent infection and let Gill have more children in the future. Performing this almost immediately after a patient’s C-section would be a first in British Columbia. On Friday October 2, little Jeevan was born by C-section just shy of 31 weeks, weighing a mere three pounds. There were 30 people in the operating room, compared to the usual five to seven during a regular section. “I remember the walls of the OR were rimmed with cardiac people just in case,” recalls Gill. Her chances of going into cardiac arrest were high. Jeevan was immediately whisked to BC Children’s NICU. The separation was difficult for Gill but her tiny infant inspired her to be strong for her own surgery. “I saw him at Children’s via video. He was connected to so many tubes and so I thought, ‘if he could go through that, I could go through my surgery.’” The St. Paul’s team performed her homograft surgery just three days

Photos provided by Priya Brar

later. St. Paul’s cardiac surgeon Dr. Jamil Bashir, who led a team through the homograft procedure, says while endocarditis cases are common, “when the infection gets to the point of being a root abscess, immediate surgery is needed. This condition is 100-per-cent fatal if it’s not treated.” The operation went well and Gill was discharged on October 15. Meanwhile, her son, now more stable, was moved back to St. Paul’s NICU in mid-October, where he stayed until November 8. Both mom and baby are now doing well.


The case was an unforgettable one for the St. Paul’s teams involved, emphasizing how effectively numerous different disciplines can unite to care for high-risk patients from across BC. “It highlights how the St. Paul’s team really came together to develop a plan and to trust one another,” says Dr. Grewal. Obstetrical nurse Jenna Baumgartner was thankful for the speH cialized collaboration involved. ■

Ann Gibbon is a Senior Communications Specialist at Providence Health Care in BC.



Predicting COVID-19 outbreaks with cell phone mobility data obility tracking using cell phone data showing greater movement of people is a strong predictor of increased rates of COVID-19, according to new data in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). “This study shows that mobility strongly predicts [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2] SARS-CoV-2 growth rate up to three weeks in the future, and that stringent measures will continue to be necessary through spring 2021 in Canada,” writes Dr. Kevin Brown, Public Health Ontario, with coauthors. Until Canadians are widely vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, nonpharmaceutical public health interventions such as physical distancing and limiting social contact will be the main population-based means of controlling the spread of the virus.



“Mobility measures capturing human activity through anonymized tracking of smartphones are believed to be reasonable proxies of contact rates outside of one’s own home; these measures can provide more timely and reliable sources of information on contact rates compared with time-use surveys or contact tracing,” write the authors. Researchers looked at anonymized smartphone mobility data from March 15, 2020, to March 6, 2021, both nationally and provincially,

It’s time to


Continued from page 4 Doctors and other primary care providers are often the ones who initiate these conversations after the diagnosis of a serious illness, or when they are concerned that their patients have a life-limiting condition. Here are three things you should know about these important conversations: First, talk about your understanding of the illness. Having a sense of what a patient’s disease trajectory looks like can help set health priorities in order to better deal with the uncertainty that accompanies it. Second, discuss your goals and wishes. In the context of serious illness, this can be things like exploring sources of strength and support, as well as fears and worries. Patients often express concerns about how certain medical interventions will im-

pact their independence, and what possible outcomes might result from tests or treatments. Third, explore your values that can inform decision making and talk about trade-offs. For example, we talk about how much someone is willing to go through for the sake of added time. Discuss what to expect from treatments that might prolong life at the expense of quality. These conversations take time, and we strongly encourage people to start talking with their health care providers as well as their loved ones. Having a trusted person who knows your wishes means that they will be honoured and communicated, even if you can no longer speak for yourself. Don’t wait until it’s too late. It’s H time to talk. ■

Allan Grill is a family physician in Markham and Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto. Cindy Dumba is a patient and family advisor for Choosing Wisely Canada and Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan. 6 HOSPITAL NEWS MAY 2021

controlling for date and temperature. They found that a 10 per cent increase in the mobility of Canadians outside their homes correlated with a 25 per cent increase in subsequent SARS-CoV-2 weekly growth rates. They looked at the mobility threshold (the level needed to control the virus) and the mobility gap (the difference between the threshold and actual movement). “The mobility threshold and mobility gap can be used by public health

officials and governments to estimate the level of restrictions needed to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and guide, in real-time, the implementation and intensity of nonpharmaceutical public health interventions to control the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors write. The study was conducted by researchers from Public Health Ontario, the University of Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health, Sinai Health System and the University Health Network, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Communications Research Centre Canada, Women’s College Hospital and the Public Health Agency of Canada. “The mobility gap: estimating mobility thresholds required to control SARS-CoV-2 in Canada” was pubH lished April 7, 2021. ■

Patients with cancer at risk if second vaccine dose is delayed nformation from a new UK study has shown that delaying the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine greatly reduces the effectiveness of protection from COVID-19. The Canadian Association of Pharmacy in Oncology (CAPhO) is concerned about the emerging data and calls upon the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to adjust COVID-19 vaccination schedules protect the wellbeing of Canadians with cancer. “The study shows that three weeks after one dose of the vaccine an immune response was found in 39 per cent of people with a solid cancer and just 13 per cent of people with blood cancer. An antibody response was found in 97 per cent of the healthy volunteers tested,” says Tina Crosbie, President of CAPhO. “This demonstrates the urgent need for the NACI to factor in people with solid cancer and blood cancer earlier into phase 2 rollout of the vaccination strategy. Further, this study identifies that delaying the second dose for these


vulnerable individuals puts them at a greater risk for suboptimal protection.” The study analyzed the immunity response to vaccination in patients with cancer by measuring blood antibody levels, neutralization of SARSCoV-2 Wuhan strain and of a variant of concern (VOC) (B.1.1.7) and T-cell responses to determine the level of immune response generated against the coronavirus. When the second dose was given three weeks after the first, immune response at the five-week mark was seen in 95 per cent of people with solid cancers. For those patients with solid cancers who didn’t receive the booster at the three-week mark, only 43 per cent of people kept an immune response at the five week mark. For patients with blood cancer who only received the one dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, only eight per cent of people with blood cancer still showed an immune response at the five-week mark. Earlier observations from the SOAP trial showed that people with certain types of blood cancer varied in how well they H were able to respond to the virus. ■


COVID-19 shown to leave unique lung fingerprint esearchers at Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson) developed and tested an artificial neural network for diagnosing COVID-19. The AI system was trained to learn and recognize patterns in ultrasound lung scans of patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and compared them to ultrasound scans of


patients with other types of lung diseases and infections. “The AI tool that we developed can detect patterns that humans cannot. Lung ultrasound scans of patients with COVID-19, as well as other lung diseases, produce a highly abnormal imaging pattern, but it is almost impossible for a physician to tell apart different types of infections by looking at these images. There are details, however,

Children less infectious than adults with SARS-CoV-2 hildren may not be as infectious in spreading SARS-CoV-2 to others as previously thought, according to new University of Manitoba-led research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). “Our findings have important public health and clinical implications,” writes principal investigator Dr. Jared Bullard, associate professor, pediatrics/child health and medical microbiology/infectious diseases, Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba and associate medical director, Cadham Provincial Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “If younger children are less capable of transmitting infectious virus, daycare, in-person school and cautious extracurricular activities may be safe to continue, with appropriate precautions in place, and with lower risk to child care staff, educators and support staff than initially anticipated.” Fourteen researchers from multiple disciplines at the University of Manitoba, Cadham Provincial Labo-


ratory, Manitoba Health and Seniors Care and the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory analyzed samples from 175 children and 130 adults in Manitoba infected with SARS-CoV-2 to see if there was a difference in infectiousness. Using cell cultures of nasopharyngeal swabs, they investigated viral loads in both groups to determine if children were more infectious. “As an increasing number of jurisdictions consider whether in-school learning, daycares and extracurricular activities should continue or resume, a better understanding of the relative contributions of children and adolescents to SARS-CoV-2 transmission, when compared with adults, is essential,” the authors write. “This is particularly important given the increased likelihood of asymptomatic infection in this group.” “Infectivity of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in children compared with adults” was H published April 9, 2021. ■

that distinguish COVID-19 at the pixel level that cannot be perceived by the human eye,” explains Dr. Robert Arntfield, Lawson Researcher and Medical Director of the Critical Care Trauma Centre at LHSC. “The neural network was able to identify the unique characteristics among different scans, and exceed hu-

man-level diagnostic specificity. Our study of over 100,000 ultrasound images showed that while trained physicians could – as expected – not distinguish between different causes of lung disease, the AI had nearly perfect accuracy in making the diagnosis. It’s almost like the AI sees a QR code that we canH not see, unique to the disease.” ■

Geography, job risk should be factors in prioritizing SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations hen setting SARS-CoV-2 vaccine priorities, Canada should take a more nuanced approach that considers geographic and occupational risk exposures, as 75 per cent of Canadian adults have at least one risk factor for severe COVID-19, argues an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). “Using risk factors for severe COVID-19 in a strategic vaccination strategy may not offer much refinement because of how widespread these conditions are. More detailed weighting of medical, geographic and occupational risks might be required if vaccination is constrained,” writes Dr. Finlay McAlister, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, with coauthors. “In particular, since the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be disproportionately affecting essential workers in economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods, weighting of such risks may be necessary for equity goals to be met.” The authors looked at national data on more than 60 000 people to determine the presence of risk factors


for severe COVID-19 in the Canadian population. While age is the most important risk factor for severe illness, three-quarters of adult Canadians have at least one other risk factor, and one-third have two or more. The most common risk factors were hypertension (23.1% of men and 21.1% of women) and obesity (21.7% of men and 20.2% of women). Although risk factors increased with age, the authors note that even in the 18–49 age group, 70.9 per cent of men and 67.9 per cent of women had at least one risk factor and 31 per cent had at least two risk factors for severe COVID-19. The authors acknowledge that vaccine prioritization decisions are as much an ethical question as a scientific one. “We suggest that transparency in decision-making is important, especially where decisions vary across jurisdictions, to confirm that the rationale for decisions is driven by data and concordant with the shared values of local populations,” the authors conclude. “Informing COVID-19 vaccination priorities based on the prevalence of risk factors among adults in Canada” H was published April 9, 2021. ■



Dr. Marcelo Cypel, (L), seen here performing an unrelated surgery, says scans showed Timothy Edwards Sauvé’s lungs were so badly damaged by COVID-19 that “his only chance of survival would be by receiving a transplant.”

Photo: UHN

Double-lung transplant after COVID-19 performed in Canada Case done at UHN is believed to be a first in Canada on a patient whose lungs were irreparably damaged by COVID-19 HN has performed what is believed to be the first lung transplant in Canada on a patient whose lungs were irreparably damaged by COVID-19. Timothy Edwards Sauvé, 61, contracted the disease in December and was referred to UHN for a transplant assessment about two months later. After a careful assessment by a multi-disciplinary team in the Toronto Lung Transplant Program at UHN’s



Ajmera Transplant Centre, Sauvé was listed and received the life-saving organ in February.* “It’s been quite a journey, and I’m very thankful to my medical team and to my donor,” says Timothy, who had no prior comorbidities that would put him at higher risk for infection or complications from the disease. “I was in great physical shape, so I never thought I would get so sick from COVID. It still doesn’t seem real

to me, and I hope my story will show people how dangerous this disease can be.” Timothy developed cold-like symptoms and screened positive for COVID-19 back in December. In a matter of days, the disease progressed, and he was hospitalized. As oxygen levels went down, he needed support from a mechanical breathing machine (ventilator) – which ultimately was also not enough

to keep him alive. Once transferred to Toronto General Hospital, he eventually needed the advanced lung support therapy called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) – which is essentially a machine that pumps and oxygenates the blood outside of the body providing healing time and relief to damaged lungs. “A few weeks after he cleared the virus, it was very clear from his scans


that Mr. Sauvé’s lungs were severely and permanently damaged, and would not recover,” says Dr. Marcelo Cypel, Surgical Director at the Ajmera Transplant Centre and the surgeon who led the team performing the transplant. “His only chance of survival would be by receiving a transplant.” Dr. Cypel says transplant is certainly a life-saving treatment for a very small subgroup of COVID patients. However, with variants of concern increasingly infecting younger healthier patients during this third wave of the pandemic, the number of transplant referrals may grow. The program is currently evaluating three additional COVID patients for transplantation candidacy. There have been few cases of lung transplant after COVID reported around the world, as it is only a recommended therapy in exceptional circumstances. The majority of patients who develop severe COVID infection are usually not candidates for transplant, since other risk factors and complications from the disease would significantly compromise the chances of success for such a major surgery. “Transplant is not a cure for COVID,” says Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, Director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program. “In this case, with ECMO support and intense rehabilitation, we were very happy to see it provided a second chance of life for Mr. Sauvé. “Given the nature of COVID infections, transplant is only recommended in exceptional conditions – where the lungs are truly destroyed from the disease without hope of recovery, and the patient is strong enough to go through a lung transplant.” Drs. Cypel and Keshavjee have authored a scientific paper published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine that explored considerations for transplant assessment. Timothy was an ideal candidate for transplantation as he had no other comorbidities, and no other organs were significantly impacted by the COVID infection. Despite being on ECMO, he was awake and able to understand the implications and risks of transplantation.

Photo: Courtesy Timothy Sauvé

Timothy Edwards Sauvé, pictured in 2017 with his partner, Julia Garcia, is rehabilitating from a double-lung transplant, which was performed at UHN after his lungs were irreparably damaged by COVID-19. “We had one-on-one lengthy conversations so he understood the long road ahead of him, of the recovery journey after surgery, and the immunosuppression that comes with any transplant,” says Dr. Stephen Juvet, a transplant respirologist at UHN, who was part of the team looking after Sauvé.

Bickle Centre is a leader in transplant rehabilitation, providing innovative care to help patients overcome disability, injury and age-related health conditions, and provides an

essential piece to the integrated care model for transplant patients at UHN. *Exact date of transplant is not being published to protect organ donor H confidentiality. ■

This article was submitted by University Health Network.


While no longer critically ill, patients that have spent prolonged time in hospital often require a period of inpatient rehabilitation to regain their strength before transitioning home. Breathing with new lungs is one thing, but it can take time to work up the stamina and energy to use those lungs and re-train one’s muscles to complete everyday tasks. After his transplant, Timothy Sauvé is recovering well. His lung function is excellent and he no longer requires any oxygen support. He has been transferred to UHN’s Toronto Rehab Bickle Centre, where an active multidisciplinary team is helping him improve his mobility, lung function and quality of life. “Our primary goal is to improve a patient’s independence and function,” explains physiatrist Dr. Alexandra Rendely. “We learn about their home environment, interests, support system and hobbies to work with them to get back to the activities they enjoy. “We want to add life to the years that the transplant has afforded them.” MAY 2021 HOSPITAL NEWS 9


On the move: ICU patient transport an essential tool during COVID surge By James McDonald f the sights and sounds of an Ornge air or land ambulance were familiar in the Greater Toronto Area before COVID-19, in April 2021, these could be described as omnipresent. As GTA ICUs reach and exceed their capacity as a result of a surge in COVID-19 cases, patient transport has become a critical lifeline for hospitals. Even for a medical transport organization like Ornge, Ontario’s provider of air ambulance and critical care transport services, the events of the past month have been extraordinarily challenging. “There is nothing that we can compare it to. It is the busiest we’ve ever been,” says Justin Smith, Chief Flight Paramedic at Ornge. “It is an incredibly complex piece to move a patient who requires critical care,” says Dr. Michael Lewell, Associate Medical Officer for Ornge. “Our teams are accustomed to transporting patients with mechanical ventilators and multiple infusions, and do this with such skill and precision every day.” In Ontario’s third wave of the pandemic, ICUs in the GTA are experiencing a volume of patients that is more than double the load during the second wave. This has resulted in the


need for ‘load sharing’ – where hospitals under significant capacity pressure can transfer patients to other facilities with ICU beds available. This approach has accelerated in recent weeks, as COVID patients in GTA hospitals were transferred to destinations such as London or Kingston, or even several hundred kilometres away to Sudbury, Ottawa, Windsor or North Bay. In some cases, smaller hospitals which would ordinarily send patients to larger facilities for a higher level of care are now themselves receiving patients. The Ontario Critical Care COVID Command Centre, which was established during the initial response to the pandemic in April 2020, carefully monitors hospital capacity data throughout Ontario. With multiple partners at the table including Ornge, CritiCall, regional Ontario Health critical care leaders, and Critical Care Services Ontario (CCSO), daily transport requirements are determined and centrally coordinated to preserve hospital capacity. Once a patient has been identified who requires transport from a hospital under pressure, patient information and other logistics are sent to CritiCall, then pushed to the Ornge Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) where specialized Communications Officers and Ornge Transport Medicine Physicians (TMP) review every patient to assign

the appropriate level of care required, and ensure patient safety. “These people in the background put all those pieces together to get to the right patient to the right hospital in the right amount of time,” says Michael McCallion, Operations Control Manager for Ornge. “There is a deluge of calls between 10 a.m. and four o’clock in the afternoon when we’re taking call after call after call. You’re on for 12 hours of the day planning and conversing and making entries. At the end of the day, they’re pretty tired.” When the EOC was first activated, approximately 200 patient transports per month were coordinated through the centre. In April, more than 700 patient transports had been processed in the first three weeks of the month alone. Patients identified for transport may fall into one of two categories: ICU patients requiring complex medical care including ventilation, and “acute” patients who are hospital ward based requiring lower volumes of oxygen but are at risk for deterioration and may eventually require ICU care. ICU patients are transported using Ornge Critical Care Land Ambulances (CCLA) based in the GTA and southern Ontario, as well as Ornge helicopters and airplanes for medium and longer distance transports. In some instances, hospital based teams

have been created in centres such as Kingston, Barrie, London, Sudbury, Ottawa and completed ICU transports in partnership with land based municipal Paramedic Services. Acute patients, given their relative stability, are typically transported by municipal Paramedic Service partners throughout southern Ontario. As more patients are admitted to the ICU each day, the demand for patient transports is increasing. To meet this demand, with support from the Ministry of Health, Ornge has tripled its GTA land transport capacity by making new resources available, including extra Critical Care Land Ambulances based in Mississauga. These are staffed by members of the organization’s Surge Response Team, comprised of Ornge paramedics who have volunteered for overtime. York Paramedic Service loaned multi-patient ambulance buses which are capable of transporting two patients at a time. This vehicle can be particularly helpful when moving patients who are being transferred from the same hospital to the same location. “I’m fiercely proud of the work that our team does. Nevertheless, I don’t think we can underscore enough the sobering reality of what we’re confronted with on a daily basis,” says Dr. Lewell. “It’s a story of collaboration and all hands on deck, but it’s certainH ly a very sobering moment.” ■

James MacDonald is the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Ornge 10 HOSPITAL NEWS MAY 2021

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List of Nominees

2021 Nursing Hero Awards Betty Anne Abell Peterborough Regional Health Centre

Kathy Bates University Health Network

Christine Byrne Saint Elizabeth Healthcare

Karen Choe Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Andrew Abouhanna The Ottawa Hospital

Sarah Bendle Saint Elizabeth Healthcare

Grace Cabanlit Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Amy Choy University Health Network

Brenda Bennett Eastern Health (NFLD)

James Alexander Callahan Michael Garron Hospital

Joanne Clarke Eastern Health

Sarah Abraham University Health Network Marilyn Adagi The Ottawa Hospital Susan Adams Niagara Health System Yitayew Alameneh Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Kaelyn Albert The Ottawa Hospital Robyn Alcock Eastern Health (NFLD) Melissa Alexandre Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Jane Alexandrovich University Health Network Charlotte Altenburg Responsive Group Miriam Amon Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Krista Angione Peterborough Regional Health Centre Adriana Antoniu Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Imelda Aquino Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Teri Arany University Health Network Nadiya Arkipova Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Anna Beskrovnaya Vancouver Coastal Health Jean-Paul Biancolin Humber River Hospital Sue Bonk Markham Stouffville Hospital Christine Bottomley University Health Network Gagendip Brar Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Crystal Bremner Interior Health (BC) Sherry Brousseau Blanche River Health Maddie Brown Southlake Regional Health Centre Eugena Bryan University Health Network Diandra BuchananSmith Humber River Hospital Julia Budiansky The Ottawa Hospital Emily Bursey Markham Stouffville Hospital Ariana Buttoo Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre


Mayson Cappan Interior Health (BC) Michelle Carbonel Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Maria Theresa Carmelo Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Maria Caruso Markham Stouffville Hospital Anne Cayley University Health Network Laura Chamberlain Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Stephanie Chandler Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Bhoj kumara Chettri Mackenzie Health Juliana Cheung-Ha Queensway Carleton Hospital Eram Chhogalam Scarborough Health Network Cynthia Chia-Hsin Chuang Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Well Chito Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Edith Cloutier The Ottawa Hospital Marybeth Costigan Eastern Health (NFLD) Evelyn Craig The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Sue Crocker University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Ivan Dublin Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Lisa Gault Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Candace Duguid Mackenzie Health

Amy Gayo Humber River Hospital

Catherine Duffin St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Megan Gerbasi Southlake Regional Health Centre

Heather Dunlop-Witt St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Mahsan Ghasemian Mackenzie Health

Halimo Elmi Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Nellie Estrada Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Janet Evans The Ottawa Hospital Tsega Eyasu Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Sandra Fawcett Halton Healthcare

Nancy Curtis Manitoulin Health Centre

Ashley Ferguson Southlake Regional Health Centre

Jennifer Dale-Tam The Ottawa Hospital

Kevin Finnegan Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Keli Davis Peterborough Regional Health Centre Lori Debono St. Joseph’s Health Centre (Toronto) Mulegeta Demisashi Humber River Hospital Liyan Deng Humber River Hospital Kunjal Desai Humber River Hospital Lily Lemlem Desta Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Ann Devine The Ottawa Hospital

Andreana Flores Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Meghan Fockler Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Tyson Foss Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Carolyn Franke University Health Network Nichola Fraser Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Kimberly French Eastern Health

Cheri Dobos Island Health (BC)

Pamela Gallagher Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Tsetan Dolkar Unity Health

Mirriam Gallego The Ottawa Hospital

Thusigia Gnanaruban Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Farhang Golmoradi Saint Elizabeth Health Care Chito Gonzanga Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Melanie Grandy Eastern Health (NFLD) Jacqueline Green Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Sue Guillemette The Ottawa Hospital Denese Hark Interior Health (BC) Patti Harmer Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Patricia Harris Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Jodi Hazel Peterborough Regional Health Centre Mary Ann Head Eastern Health (NFLD) Sandra Henriques Halton Healthcare Kenda Hepburn St. Thomas Elgin Hospital Carol HolmeKillingbeck Peterborough Regional Health Centre Susan Holness Halton Healthcare

NURSING HERO CONTEST 2021 Olivia Howard University Health Network Sheila Hutton Winnipeg Health Sciences Noorin Jamal Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Shaina Janmohamed Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Kellye Jawkowski Halton Healthcare Rose Jeevaretnam Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Emily Johnston Saint Elizabeth Healthcare

Jennifer Kitsul Interior Health (BC) Felicia Kontopidis Saint Elizabeth Health Nikoletta Kovacs Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Morgan Krauter Southlake Regional Health Centre Karen Krizan Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Dennis Kwong Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Vickie Lacroix Montfort Academic Hospital Vicki Laing Eastern Health (NFLD)

Ally Jol Saint Elizabeth Healthcare

Rochelle Lamont Interior Health (BC)

Nichole Joly Providence Health (BC)

Caitlin Lanktree University Health Network

Harshlata (Harsha) Joshi Queensway Carlton Hospital

Kristi Larocque Atikokan General Hospital

Eunji Jung Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Blessymol Kalathiparambil Humber River Hospital Inthuja Kanagasabathy University Health Network Ordia Kelly Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Mary Anne Kerkhoeve St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Rubeena Khan Halton Healthcare Marcy Kinsman Brant Community Healthcare System

Julienne Latham The O’Neill Centre Long Term Care Home Judianna Law University Health Network Sandy Lee Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Sean Lee The Ottawa Hospital Natalie Legere Eastern Health (NFLD)

Courtney Lindsay University Health Network

Jada Myers Markham Stouffville Hospital

Jillian Parsons-Haynes Eastern Health (NFLD)

Jemila Sala Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Fiona MacDonald The Ottawa Hospital

Jennifer Nesbitt Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Nichole Pereira Alberta Health Services

Mariam Salih Vancouver Coastal Health

Tran Nguyen Westpark Healthcare Centre

Caitlyn Perrot Montague Hospital (PEI)

Rita Sampson University Health Network

Jeanette Nicolas Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Jessica Kira Posloski Metropolitan Hospital Windsor

Petal Samuel University Health Network

Kate MacFarlane University Health Network Kelly MacGregor Queensway Carlton Hospital Brenda Manley Peterborough Regional Health Centre Allison Mann University Health Network Benedetta Mannino Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Leslie Ann Nigh Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Bisharo Noor Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Lorriane Pratt Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Catherine Rae The Ottawa Hospital

Karen Noseworthy Eastern Health (NFLD)

Narges Rajabi Mackenzie Health

Andrea Maysenhoelder The Ottawa Hospital

Charlene Cron Oates Eastern Health (NFLD)

Zahra Rajaeiramsheh Humber River Hospital

Dorothy McKune Vancouver Coastal Health

Tita Oblea St. Joseph’s Health Centre Toronto

Young Mee Jung Saint Elizabeth Healthcare

Fakhria (Farah) Omar Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Sinthuha Ranchithan University Health Network

Sharon Mills Saint Elizabeth Healthcare

Doug Raney Saint Elizabeth Healthcare

Betty Omorogbe Mackenzie Health

Richard Reid Eastern Health (NFLD)

Trish Mizzau West Park Healthcare Centre

Erin Owen Trillium Health Partners

Tracy Reynolds The Ottawa Hospital

Stanislav Mordovine University Health Network

Vlad Padwre Humber River Hospital

Janice Morgan Saint Elizabeth Healthcare

Jenice Lewis Humber River Hospital

Denise Morris University Health Network

Sylent Lewis Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Christina Mueller Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Lorrie Liberty The Ottawa Hospital

Tracey Mullins Eastern Health (NFLD)

Nita Lim Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Edsel Mutia North York General Hospital

Gilbert Pankhurst Brockville General Hospital Jennifer Pantaleon Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Joseph Parilla Trillium Health Partners

Kerry Rheaume The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Nate Rimorin Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Keiths Robinson Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Roxanne Rodgers Eastern Health (NFLD)

Hyjein Park Runnymede Healthcare Centre

Patricia Rodriguez University Health Network

Tori Parker Saint Elizabeth Healthcare

Kinnon Ross Providence Health BC

Christine Sandiford Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Yvonne Scheurman Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Anneke Schroder Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Clarica Seville-Morgan Humber River Hospital Deana Shea-Haines Eastern Health (NFLD) Jordan Shaw Delisle Alberta Health Services Ildar Shigapov Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Ifrah Shire Runnymede Healthcare Centre Maria Sia Sunnybrook Regional Health Centre Anmol Sidhu Interior Health (BC) Danielle Simpson Smith Peterborough Regional Health Centre Thao Sindall Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Amanda Singh Sinai Health System Piraveena Sivapatham Humber River Hospital



List of Nominees

2021 Nursing Hero Awards Ali Sleiman Saint Elizabeth Healthcare

Sue Thorne Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Sarah West St Thomas Elgin General Hospital

Jessica Slutsker Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

April TiczonMalabanan Trillium Health Partners

Cindi Wheeler Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Angela Smith Humber River Hospital

Judi Toal Halton Healthcare

Angela Williams Humber River Hospital

Mark Sotto Humber River Hospital

Kayla Toplis Southlake Regional Health Centre

Carrie Winslade Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Sui Ling (Cansus) Tso Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Ben Wong Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Carla St. Croix Eastern Health (NFLD) Emily Steele Trillium Health Partners Shandie-Lyn Stockill Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Gina Stokes Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Allanna Straus Peterborough Regional Health Centre Emily Stroumos Saint Elizabeth Health Care Yejin Suh Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Eliseo Tamburri Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Gloria Tang Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Tricia Terkuc Smiths Falls Hospital Hailey Texiera Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Dawn Thomas Unity Health Sage Thomas Interior Health

Tamding Tsomo Runnymede Healthcare Centre Melanie Tucker Eastern Health (NFLD) Alicia Valley Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Teresa Van Hulsen Saint Elizabeth Healthcare Sherry Veilleux Montfort Hospital Jessica Venables The Ottawa Hospital Rodolf Villanueva Humber River Hospital Tony Vong Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Natalie Warren Eastern Health (NFLD) Natasha Warren Humber River Hospital Robert “Bob” Weber The Ottawa Hospital Kelly Webster The Ottawa Hospital Annie Wereley The Ottawa Hospital


Nicole Wong Providence Health BC Krista Wood Kingston Health Sciences Centre Andrea Wright Eastern Health (NFLD) Carey Wright St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Iris Wu University Health Network Shelby Wyatt Brockville General Hospital Cathy Xi Aowei Lu Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Eileen York Peterborough Regional Health Centre Kimberly Yorke Humber River Hospital Janice Yu Humber River Hospital Kathy Zajac Peterborough Regional Health Centre Min Zhang Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Heroes of

humanity have spent the last three weeks reading stories of heroism. Stories that brought a variety of tears; happy tears and some sad ones too; but mostly they were grateful tears full of pride. Up and down and all over the place – much like the past 14 months have been. The last 14 months have been a challenge. We have never lived through anything quite like this before – facing a deadly virus – and building the plane as we fly it. Our hospitals are operating at nearly full capacity at the best of times – throw in a pandemic and it is a miracle our health system is still standing. The health system is still standing because of its people. The custodians, lab technicians, PSWs, nurses, doctors and all other hospital staff – they are the reason we are still in this fight. And for that we say thank you. To every single hospital employee – thank you. On the very frontlines of this battle are our nurses. In this fight against COVID-19, our nurses have become our first line of defense (they should be our last) as a wealth of misinformation and COVID-fatigue has led to many people underestimating the virus and ignoring public health guidelines and restrictions. Despite this, our nurses still show up and provide exemplary care, often putting themselves and their own families at risk. This is the 16th year we have run this contest to honour nurses and without a doubt this year has been the most profound for me. Having spent the last 14 months living in


uncertainty and worrying about my loved ones has given me a new perspective, as I am sure it has for many. Reading nominations for our 265 nominees has also provided a new perspective and I am so excited to share these stories with everyone. The nurses you will meet in these pages are more than nursing heroes. They are humanity heroes – reminding us that compassion, kindness and hope can sometimes be the greatest gifts you can give. With a record breaking 265 nominees it was almost impossible to select just a few to receive prizes and have their stories shared. Fortunately, we did have some sponsors donate prize money to add additional winners. Thank you to HCP, Spectrum Health Care and healtHcentric for their generosity. This year’s winners and honourable mentions stood out because their heroism is not merely demonstrated in a few specific examples, or only when at the bedside of a sick patient. These heroes provide exemplary patient care and go above and beyond in every single interaction they have with others – patients, colleagues, and strangers. They lift everyone up and remind us that there is light at the end of this dark and dreary tunnel. These nurses are heroes because they are beacons of light in these darkest of days. And for that we salute them. Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees. There are no words or prizes large enough to show our appreciation. We are deeply grateful to all of you for your courage and H dedication. ■

Kristie Jones Editor, Hospital News




Trish Mizzau

West Park Healthcare Centre



Cash Prize

nd prize


Ordia Kelly

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Sue Thorne



Cash Prize

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Cash Prize





Nichole Joly

Denise Morris

Nichole Pereira

Bob Weber





Providence Health BC

Cash Prize

University Health Network

Cash Prize

Alberta Health Services

Cash Prize

The Ottawa Hospital

Cash Prize

Thank you to our GOLD sponsors HCP and healtHcentric and our SILVER sponsor Spectrum Health Care.


Ordia Kelly

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre rdia Kelly, a registered nurse at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto is Hospital News’ 2021 First Place Nursing Hero! Ordia received nominations from many of her colleagues – some provided examples of her nursing skills and expertise, others listed the extra things Ordia does in her unwavering effort to provide the best patient care possible to every single patient. What really stands out about Ordia is not the impact she has on her patients and all she does for them – it’s the way she uplifts her entire team to do their best for patients as well. Her impact is felt by patients she may never even meet because she inspires her colleagues to also provide the best patient care. Ordia is the essence of a hero – she leads by example and her most profound impact comes from inspiring others to be better nurses, colleagues, and humans. Below are some excerpts of the nominations from her colleagues: “I would like to nominate Ordia Kelly, a registered nurse at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, as a Nursing Hero. A long-time Team Lead (TL) Nurse on the C6 General Internal Medicine Unit here at Sunnybrook, Ordia truly exemplifies a Nursing Hero as demonstrated by her compassion, kindness, and ability to elevate the work of colleagues around her. With Ordia, days never seem as stressful knowing you have her support and team player attitude as she manages her extensive duties as TL with a sense of humour and a smile. Ordia is immensely helpful in ensuring the safety of our patients. If I ever have concerns that a patient might be at risk of falling and in need of additional support or prevention strategies, Ordia always finds a way to shuffle the



unit, ensuring the patient has a bedside observer, or a room closer to the nursing station. Recently, Ordia has shifted to a bedside nursing role, where I have seen her go above and beyond for her patients; spending extra time with them, ensuring they are comfortable and feel wellcared for. I worked with a patient recently who shared that she had a “great nurse” today, prize and sure enough, it was Ordia looking after her. In this time of uncertainty and as many patients are fearful of being in hospital due to COVID-19, Ordia goes about her nursing duties with a sense of calmness and assuredness, which in turn helps her patients and her colleagues.” – Emily Brewer, Registered Physiotherapist “I have had a lot of little moments working with Ordia over the last few years where I thought to myself ‘wow, she’s crazy good at her job.’ Be it her outstanding memory for patient details, or her ability to seamlessly execute various duties, she is always positive, funny and dedicated to her role. Most notably, Ordia was the first TL on our first COVID unit when we officially opened last year, shifting from her home unit to a new environment with an entirely new patient population. As cases began to stack up, she always remained a calm leader for her staff, again invaluable as we went through various iterations of COVID-19 management and shifts in PPE and practice and having her support, collaboration and leadership truly aided in launching the COVID-19 unit at the most uncertain time in the pandemic. This, at its core, is the very nature of above and beyond. In a flurry of uncertainty and anxiety that saw many staff lashing out and feeling afraid to come to work, Ordia never complained, but


instead used her experience from the SARS epidemic to take measured responses and patiently help those around her. I can think of few more deserving candidates than Ordia.” – Amber Linkenheld-Struk, Infection Prevention and Control There are so many examples of Ordia going above and beyond: • A homeless non-verbal patient was admitted for quite some time preCOVID. Ordia bought clothes for the patient, took the patient on walks, and found a way to communicate with the patient and he eventually became somewhat verbal. • Rallied members of the team together to get another homeless patient a bag with some clothing and toiletries etc. even bringing in some of her husband’s clothing for the patient. • There was a palliative patient whose son and fiancé wanted to have their wedding on the unit before the patient passed away so he could witness their union. The entire team was very helpful in assisting the coordination of the wedding but Ordia went the extra mile to ensure patient and family had the room that was best suited to host the wedding and was very accommodating to their other needs for the special day. • She has led the team through several changes in management, moving units and construction. She was instrumental in developing and assisting with the planning for the move and construction as well as mentoring and being a great support for new team members including management. • She is always celebrating her colleagues on the unit, whether it is personal, such as a baby or wedding shower, or celebrating the different health professionals when it’s their week or month. Pre- COVID she always arranged tea-time to celebrate these events and always gave flowers and a gift.

• She has an incredibly special rapport with the physicians. I have heard several returning resident physicans tell her how much they miss her and that she is one of the best TLs they have ever worked with. The doctors appreciate how thorough she is and her ability to follow up with getting patient’s appointments etc. in timely manner which assists with timely discharges etc. • One of the things that always stands out about Ordia is her everyday demeanor and the way she treats others. She does not get upset or flustered even on the busiest of days or when staff/patients or families are upset she does not allow it to get the better of her. Far from it, she has a great ability to de-escalate situations and show great understanding to others concerns. Nicole Hinds, the C6 Patient Administrative Associate “I would like to nominate Ordia for the “Nursing Hero” award as she is the most hard working and compassionate nurse I have ever worked with. When I was working with her, she was the team lead and always went above and beyond to not only complete her job flawlessly but also to ensure that all of the team members and patients were well supported. For example, when we started on the covid unit, Ordia went out of her way to check up on me everyday to see how I was feeling because she knew I was really nervous. I don’t know how any of us would have survived the first wave of the pandemic without her. Even after the wave, she continued to be a calm and supportive face on the unit. In addition to her compassion, she was always the most helpful and knowledgeable nurse. Regardless of the question or problem, Ordia always has an answer and handles any issue with absolute grace. A day with Ordia as team lead was always happier, less stressful and way more organized.” – Jennifer Mutrie, Physiotherapist

“As a Registered Dietitian (RD) who worked with Ordia Kelly as my former Team Lead, I have personally been inspired by the tremendous leadership, compassion, and commitment Ordia displays towards her profession, her team, and her patients. During our daily team rounds, Ordia consistently ensures that our clinical plans were well-coordinated and aligned well with the delivery of patient centered care.” -Michelle Lau, registered dietitian “Ordia has always gone the extra mile as team leader. There have been numerous instances where her passion for patient-centered care has shined through. For example, there was an individual that was being discharged back out in the community and he did not have much in terms of personal items. Ordia quickly created a self-care package filled with clothes, hygiene products and other items of comfort. He did not expect such kindness and support upon discharge, but he was so grateful. Ordia always treats every team member with respect, kindness, and patience. She has always been a leader while creating space for others to be heard and appreciated.” – Harmeet Sidhu “I first worked with Ordia more than 10 years ago when I was a medical student. She was the first Team Lead or charge nurse I ever knew in my career and I still distinctly remember how much of a welcoming and supportive presence she was, even though she probably meets dozens of medical students every year. Over recent years, Ordia has become one of my most trusted colleagues. Everyone on her team knows how hard she works and her dedication to her patients and her team; in her role as Team Lead, it was not unusual for many of us to be bothering her about still being here well after her shift ended, and trying to get her to go home; but Ordia always quietly finished her work, with absolute grace. She is such

a genuine and caring person, preCOVID helping to organize moments to honour the work of the team like the afternoon tea or when people left the team.” – Dr. Zac Feilchenfeld “I have worked as a staff physician at Sunnybrook for about 12 years now and have worked at other major academic hospitals in Canada and the US over my 25 year career. Ordia Kelly is one of the best nurses and unit managers I have ever had the pleasure of working with. First, Ordia manages to work tirelessly, from the moment she arrives early in the morning to late in the afternoon when she finally leaves, while multitasking so many things I often can’t keep track, yet always

manages to make it look effortless and have a smile on her face. She could be simultaneously sorting out patient assignments, dealing with a difficult situation involving a patient’s family, overseeing an unexpected minor infection control crisis requiring the swapping of patients across various rooms on the ward. There’s an expression: ‘if you want something done, give it to the busiest person.’ Ordia is a perfect example of the truth of that adage. No matter what the situation is, Ordia will just roll up her sleeves, she always has a smile on her face, and demosntrates deep humanity when it comes to helping patients. I remember just a few weeks ago a deaf patient

with cancer who was miserable over various issues he was facing telling me “on top of it all, I don’t even have a brush for my COVID long hair.” I knew Ordia would have the solution and, sure enough, she went and fetched a bag, and a brush. She had clearly prepared herself with various items patients might need. The same was true for a homeless man with no suitable jacket or shoes being discharged in winter and Ordia went and fetched both from a collection she had amassed over the years. Sunnybrook has many excellent nurses, but I can’t think of another who I would rather see receive recognition as a Nursing H Hero.” – Dr. Kaveh Shojania ■ MAY 2021 HOSPITAL NEWS 17


Trish Mizzau

West Park Healthcare Centre

f there is one person who truly depicts a “nursing hero,” it would be Trish Mizzau. After 14 years at West Park, Trish has become a wellknown and well-liked fixture across the organization. She has worked as a clinical nurse on almost every unit, effectively utilizing her skills while forming meaningful relationships with patients. She’s built rapport with staff during her time in the Occupational Health, Safety and Wellness department, and she’s making a significant impact on the future of West Park by excelling in her most recent post with the Campus Development team, to help operationalize West Park’s new campus of care. Trish excels in many ways, and for this reason she is many things to many people. Her ability to connect with staff, patients and families, and the profound impact she has had on those around her make her stand above the rest. To patients, she is not only a caregiver but a relentless advocate, a social worker and a cheerleader who ensures every step of their care i s complete. To her colleagues, s h e is a confidante that people can depend on for guidance, who provides support and empathy in any situation big or small, personal and professional. To families she is a clear communicator who is there when they can’t be. To the organization, her honed skills and knowledge have made her a hospital-wide resource, setting a high standard of clinical excellence – a true professional. With all of this experience it’s no surprise that at the outset of the pandemic, Trish was redeployed back to Occupational Health to assist with our COVID-19 response. Since then, her responsibilities have included testing, contact tracing, screening, and more recently, vaccine rollout. Trish’s innate capacity to care deeply for others and her larger-than-life positive personality give her the abil-



nd prize ity to make people feel at ease, motivate others, and diffuse situations when necessary – all traits that have contributed to her significant impact over the course of the last year. When the Nursing Hero Award nomination was discussed at West Park, many of us thought of Trish immediately. Within days, we received messages of support from across the organization. Trish is incredibly special to all of us at West Park and the entire organization stands behind this nomination as illustrated in the numerous letters included in this nomination package. Excerpts from colleagues “This past year has been extremely challenging, however Trish has carried on with a calm and a re-assuring presence. Her unwavering commitment to the positive patient experience is exhib-

ited in the numerous patients and families she has offered comfort and care for during her tenure. Trish truly embodies what it means to be person and family centric and empowers her colleagues to do the same.” – Sarah Benn-Orava, Patient Experience Coordinator “Trish has been seconded into Occupational Health and Safety since the beginning of the pandemic. During the first outbreak she came in on her own time to deliver some food to the nurses who had been working overtime. Also, during the early days of the pandemic when rules, expectations and protocols seemed to be changing not only daily, but hourly, she was a great shoulder to cry on (a physically distanced shoulder) when things just got too overwhelming. She has worked almost non-stop since Christmas of 2020, I am pretty sure she came in on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day and most weekends, in order to test staff on outbreak units and

follow up with, educate and reassure her colleagues regarding their COVID results.” – Lynn Suter, Physiotherapist and Clinical Practice Leader, Neurological Rehabilitation “Trish and I have worked together on the TB service. I’ve seen her in Occupational Health and Campus Development. Most recently, we have all seen her tireless work with the Covid-19 vaccine clinics. In all these areas, she has excelled. On TB, I remember her advocating for the needs of one particular patient who needed a family physician. She looked up the home address and found family doctors who were accepting patients and ensured the patient had this information. In Occ/health, she has been a champion for the flu vaccine campaign. At campus development meetings I have seen her advocate for the nursing needs of the new buildings. Continued on page 20


Sue Thorne Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre ue Thorne is the epitome and the pure definition of a Nursing Hero. She is a nurse with a heart so big and full of love for human beings, that you can see it bouncing out of her chest with every step she takes through the endless hallways of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Sue has been a nurse for over 30 years, with an impressive 22 years of these at Sunnybrook. She is an Emergency Room nurse to the core, and spent a great many years caring for every type of patient imaginable in this capacity, both at the bedside (where she loves to be) and as a dedicated Clinical Care Leader in the ED. In recent years, she has taken her skills, talents, and pure dedication to quality and safe patient care to other areas of the hospital. She has brought her extraordinary nursing experience, patience and compassion to the Sunnybrook roles of advisor in the Office of the Patient Experience, working in EMAT (Emergency Medical Assistance Team), a clinical coordinator in Infection Prevention and Control, and most recently as a Risk Manager. We have come to know Sue as her Risk Management colleagues, and every single day we learn from her more and more, and endeavor to lead by her example of putting the patient and the family first. There are countless stories we can share about how Sue exemplifies the attributes of a true Nursing Hero, but we will focus on but a few that we believe showcase her tremendous heart, spirit and advocacy for every patient and family member she encounters. Firstly, Sue is known lovingly to ALL staff in this building, no matter their role in the organization, as ever smiling and friendly. One cannot pass her in the hallways without her happi-


ly sharing a greeting and a simple expression of thanks to staff for the hard work they are doing, whatever that might be. However when it comes to patients, always a nurse at heart, Sue will inevitably stop to share a warm hello, funny joke, direct them to their appointment location and brighten their day just by virtue of the fact that she has the opportunity in front of her. We can hear her saying: “Why wouldn’t I stop? Meeting patients is the BEST part of my day! If they are here, that means they are going through so much already... and it’s our job to bring a little sunshine!” As Risk Managers, much of our time is spent focused on developing hospital processes and improvements that enhance quality and safety for all of our patients. Through conducting quality reviews and managing everyday safety concerns brought forward by staff or patients’ families, Sue brings her unique nursing lens and knowledge to ensure that the health system within which we provide care is held to the highest standard of excellence. We also get unusual requests that Sue describes as challenges that do not necessarily fall under anyone else’s responsibility, therefore if it needs to be done for the betterment of the patient and family, she will do it, no hesitation. Examples include lost patient belongings and valuables, challenging legal, ethical and safety issues, locating a patient who may have gotten lost in the building, resolving unfolding conflicts and unanswered questions, and ensuring that someone’s rights to self-determination and

decision making capacity are honored. If she sees a patient standing in line looking fatigued waiting for a clinic to open, Sue will immediately offer a chair or a hand, along with that great smile that tells people – SHE CARES for them as human beings. What resonates with me the most is related to a concept we have in my culture known as “the ultimate kindness” – defined as a kindness which can never be reciprocated, i.e. after someone has passed away. When we think of nursing and healthcare, we often think of caring for the living of course. However for Sue, great care extends beyond a person’s death, by ensuring dignity and honored wishes. There are some very unfortunate situations where a deceased patient does not have any family to assist with burial plans. Sue takes it upon herself to ensure that these patients still have the very same opportunity for a dignified burial process as anyone else, by liaising directly with city officials and the Public Guardian and Trustee. She also takes great care to ensure that if there are any cultur-



al or religious rituals associated with death and burial that these are fulfilled to the best of our ability. When it comes to patient advocacy, whether she is at the bedside or in an administrative role, there is nothing she wouldn’t do to ensure transparency, safe care, empathy, and accountability. As many have heard her say : “This person is not just our patient, this is a human being, and all we need to think about right now is: what would WE want to happen if this was OUR family member?” For those of us who are privileged know and work alongside Sue, we know she is a true friend and confidante. Selfless and caring beyond belief. She will pause and listen, lend a hand or a shoulder to cry on for anyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Patients and families would come back to the ED many years after their healthcare event specifically to thank Sue. They remember her unique ability connect with them as a person, and they share that this is what makes all the difference. This exemplifies a true nursing hero. Nominated by Elise Goldberg, Risk Manager, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Bronwen Edgar, Director of Risk Management and Clinical Services Collingwood General and Marine HospiH tal (formerly at Sunnybrook) ■ MAY 2021 HOSPITAL NEWS 19


Trish Mizzau Continued from page 18 Her newest role with the COVID-19 clinics has been invaluable. She has recruited patient-facing staff tirelessly. She has ensured that there is no wastage of even a single dose of vaccine.” – Jane McNamee, Nurse Practitioner, Professional Practice “Her empathy, her honesty, her sense of humour are a few of the qualities that make her special. I recall an interaction I had with Trish early in the pandemic. I was feeling nervous, stressed and fearful. She spoke with honesty, empathy and humour. She followed up with me after our conversation, which was so kind and made me feel reassured. During our conversation, she made reference to the fact that I may have been exposed to COVID. Knowing that she had referenced my file and took the time to review the details about my situation, made me feel valued and reinforced that I could trust her.” – Kimberley Day, Clinic Coordinator “Trish has been a positive force around me since my first days here at West Park. She often stopped by to check in and see how things were going and to ask if I was enjoying my time here so far. Whether I am here at West Park or at home Trish is always willing to answer any questions I may have regarding one of my patients or one of my family members. When my kids are sick and I need some advice she is my go to person when I can’t reach their physician. She is more than a nurse. She is an outstanding person.” – Samantha Chambers, Assistant, Physiatry “Trish has gone above and beyond. I see her working a full day and then some. She phoned me at home in the evening to set up my vaccination appointment. I think she had another 50 people on her list to call that day. She personally takes on work just to ensure our safety even if it means she is working seven day-a-week around the clock. Despite this she is cheerful, friendly and always has a smile. A remarkable person.” – Lisa da Cunha, Physiotherapist, Neurological Rehabilitation “When Trish was redeployed, she performed all tasks given to her with heart and determination. When units were reporting outbreaks and she began conducting COVID-19 tests, 20 HOSPITAL NEWS MAY 2021

she would come in early to swab staff. She stepped up to plate when she was given the challenge to start vaccines in the hospital.” – Linda Dell’Erario, Registered Nurse “Trish is not only a nurse, but a kind sensitive human being. She has helped me in so many ways. She was one of my rocks when it was my darkest hour. I will never forget what she did for me. Trish, never forget the love we all have for you.” – Linda Dell’Erario, Registered Nurse, Ambulatory Clinic “I had reservations about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Trish is one of the main reasons I ended up getting it. She answered all my questions which helped to calm my anxiety.” – Nadra Nelson, Administrative Support “Trish has helped with all aspects of the pandemic. She’s made our swabbing process very smooth for staff when we’re in outbreak. She has written clear processes so that any nurse that comes into Occupational Health, Safety and Wellness will be able to follow a consistent process. Trish stands out because once she knows you need help, she’ll just help. She doesn’t hide or slack. She puts her all into it.” – Lynn Bullock, Manager, Occupational Health, Safety and Wellness “Trish has been working tirelessly on spreading the word on the importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. If you need some information on practice on the units – she is the one to ask. Trish demonstrates a genuine caring nature. – Pam Madan-Sharma, Manager, Outpatient Care Services “For me the best description to summarize Trish is “above and beyond.” It doesn’t matter what you ask her to do – she goes above and beyond. It doesn’t matter which department she is asked to work in – she goes above and beyond. It doesn’t matter what hours you ask her to work – she goes above and beyond. It doesn’t matter what time of day or day of the week – she goes above and beyond. All with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. Super dedicated. Super committed. Super knowledgeable.” – Sandi Noble, InfecH tion Control Practice Leader, IPAC ■

Denise Morris Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network enise built the MSICU. No one here, and probably very few in this province, know as much as she does and is as passionate about this work as she is. She is constantly creating best practices and teaching new generations how to be excellent in this field. This pandemic experience has been devastating for all of us and if it hadn’t been for her leadership, many of us would not have made it through with any decent level of good mental health. And when I think of how Denise has had to support those of us who have never been through this type of thing, as well as those of us who were here during SARS… she has carried a tremendous load for all of us. In the beginning there was a lot of fear, as we didn’t know much about what we were facing. Denise held us together with calm and compassion. She sought out the best information available and always made us feel like our safety was her priority. She has created a culture of diligence and respectfulness that really made all the difference in the face of the unknown. We knew we had to rely on each other and that she would always have our back and do what was best, always. The days and nights in the MSICU are really, really tough. There are a lot of really sick people, and therefore a lot of deaths. Denise ensures none of us are experiencing this on our own. Because of the nature of this disease taking care of these patients can be a very isolating experience, and trying to comfort the families who can’t be with their loved ones…it’s hard to explain what that feels like. Denise hasn’t hugged


her own parents in almost a year. She would be the first to tell you that this is all about teamwork, she would praise her team and say how grateful she is for all of us. But none of us would still be standing a year into this, without her. – Clare Fielding, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Critical Care Denise leads by example. When you think of the impact of this disease on our ICUs, you have to imagine the intense care that is involved. It requires a specialized skill set and a particular resiliency and strength to come in, day in and day out, to care for the very sickest patients. And even though they are highly skilled and committed to the best quality care, they lose patients. The thousands of Ontarians that got Covid and recovered…we didn’t see those patients. So, our patients die. Not all of them, but many of them. That kind of situation takes a toll and the best of the best, not only withstand that, but find ways to support their colleagues and ensure families are comforted. No one in this unit dies alone. No one on this unit, manages a dying patient, alone. Denise ensures that. Not that long ago, a patient died and there was a young nurse attending to them. Denise was leaving at the end of another very, very long day when she saw the nurse in the patient’s room, she took one look at her and realized she might be struggling. She asked if this was her first death, and the nurse nodded. So Denise went back to her office, put her things down and went back to help the nurse prepare the patient for their




SHE IS CONSTANTLY CREATING BEST PRACTICES AND TEACHING NEW GENERATIONS HOW TO BE EXCELLENT IN THIS FIELD. final journey. Denise was not going to let this nurse handle her first death alone. She may have known what to do, but Denise knew she needed more than just the operational knowledge. In that moment, the young nurse needed kindness and support, something Denise offers in abundance. Throughout this unprecedented experience she has been laser-focused on safety for her staff and her

tients. When it seemed that her night staff were not getting the same quality of information as her day staff, Denise decided she would work nights too. Along with a few other Nurse Managers, Denise now regularly works the night shift so that continuity isn’t an issue – safety and quality of care will never be compromised on her watch. She is a hero by any measure. – Linda Flockhart, Clinical Director, UHN

I’ve known Denise my entire career, more than 30 years. A kind and funny person. A passionate person. Passionate about her work and about her people. She’s a strong advocate for her team and her patients and their families. She’s always been a leader in the way she conducts herself and serves those around her. She is committed to the ICU world. It takes a special person to take this on as a career. Many people learn what they need to and move on because this work is hard on the heart. Denise has made her career here and really established the modern MSICU as we know it here. The physicians who know her and have worked with her will tell you how much we respect

her. Her actions are very principled, and you can’t argue with principle. She demands professionalism all around her. She will call people out, at any level who are behaving against her values. She is such a decent and caring human and that character is reflected in her leadership style and in how her people care for our patients. This unit has seen the worst throughout this pandemic – the sickest of the sick patients, and yet morale is good, our staff and patients feel supported, I think Denise is a very strong reason for all that. She is certainly a hero in the eyes of all who get to work with her. – Dr. John Granton, Interim Medical Director, H Health Services UHN ■ MAY 2021 HOSPITAL NEWS 21


Nichole Joly St. Paul’s Hospital Providence Health Care n behalf of the 7B interdisciplinary team at St. Paul’s Hospital/Providence Health Care in Vancouver BC, I am nominating Ms. Nichole Joly for the 16th Annual Hospital News Nursing Hero Awards. Nichole has had a long nursing career with our organization and for the past two years, Nichole has worked as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) on 7B. 7B is our hospital’s Acute Medicine unit where we have COVID+ patients and patients considered high-risk, awaiting two swab results. Many of these patients come from the downtown eastside,which is considered to be the poorest neighbourhood in Canada. These marginalized patients are often homeless, or reside in SROs, and have substance use and mental health disorders. Nichole consistently provides a trifecta blend of socially just, culturally competent and trauma-informed lens to her care. Nichole introduces herself to each patient as they settle in on the unit. If a patient needs something, she is on top of it! Nichole initiated the “comfort table” on 7B; this was initiated as a harm reduction approach to prevent COVID+ from leaving against medical advice. Nichole routinely procures patient-specific snacks and ice cream in order to keep COVID+ patients on the unit, receiving the medical care they require and hoping to minimize transmission in the community – and she refuses reimbursement for these purchases! In addition to our patients “visiting” family members by FaceTime and Zoom, Nichole advocates for community case managers to visit our most vulnerable of patients and for families to be with their loved ones in end-of-life situations. Nichole has such a caring and empathetic ap-



proach with staff members. She consistently supports all staff members, regardless of discipline, in every way possible. Nichole checks in with each person throughout their day to make sure they are managing their caseload. She will debrief with the team after challenging patient situations ranging from emotionally draining code blues to adrenaline-pumping code whites. Nichole is the glue that holds her team together. She reinforces PPE practices daily to keep everyone safe and provides relevant COVID+ updates on topics like isolation requirements, vaccination and variants of concern. Holly van Heukelo, Patient Care Manager St. Paul’s Hospital/Providence Health Care There are a few rare gems such as Nichole Joly, whose inherent approach to life and work is to consider the underdog – that person who society has often given up on or seen as beyond the pale. In the hospital, it often seems like Nichole’s raison d’être is to empower the powerless and give a voice to those who others do not even see. Nichole is a humble being and takes pains not to offend, however this humility takes a back seat w h e n Nichole feels like the rights, opinion and worth of one of her ‘people’ is is not being considered and respected. At times like these Nichole is an outspoken advocate, whose sense of purpose, clarity and humanity cannot but be heard. It is this passion and purpose which inspires all who work with Nichole to become not just better healthcare workers, but better human beings. One of the core roles of any leader is to instill confidence in their team in its ability to get the job done. Nichole’s engaged and strength-



THERE ARE A FEW RARE GEMS SUCH AS NICHOLE JOLY, WHOSE INHERENT APPROACH TO LIFE AND WORK IS TO CONSIDER THE UNDERDOG – THAT PERSON WHO SOCIETY HAS OFTEN GIVEN UP ON. based approach to her leadership helps all of those she mentors and supports to identify their worth and place within the team. She is also conscious of giving people the space they need to grow, while creating a safe space for dialogue where people feel safe confiding their challenges. Nichole is a fantastic nurse, an inspirational leader and most importantly a beautiful human being. Padraig Reynolds, Social Worker It’s so hard to think of a specific story about Nichole. With her it’s just a lot of little moments that add up to incredibly compassionate care. She really genuinely cares so much about the wellbeing of all of her patients, the nurses, and other staff she works with. She is a strong advocate for patients who use substances and have experienced trauma. She takes time every morning to ensure every member of

her team feels heard, supported and understands the expectation of working with such a vulnerable population. She has thrown herself into the challenging work in red/yellow and spends time with staff to ensure they understand how things work different on the COVID unit. Nichole goes out of her way to make a connection with everyone on her team. When she asks how you are doing, she gives the impression that she really cares about you and how you are feeling in that moment. She is so incredibly empathetic and that her empathy is infectious. Any staff who have the opportunity to work with Nichole appear to be changed by the experience. She reminds us all why we are here, why we are nurses and our humanity can make a difference. Zoe Mulvenna, Clinical Nurse EduH cator ■


Bob Weber The Ottawa Hospital e is truly unlike any other. A nurse by description, but our Avenger, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Incredible Hulk, and Guardian of every single patient Galaxy by definition. Meet Robert “Bob” Weber, the Coordinating Care Facilitator of the Orthopedic Trauma program within the main operating room at The Ottawa Hospital General Campus. For close to a decade, the operating room staff have marveled at his dedication. His superpowers are unprecedented. As a quiet leader he oversees the coordination of every orthopedic patient’s trauma care within our hospital. He may not wear the more widely recognized cape of a surgeon, but his remarkable efforts help to fix bones and patients daily. If you peel back Bob’s surgical mask, you’ll always get an unassuming smile and a warm greeting. Although his face is rarely shown, he meets every patient he encounters with the familiarity of a loved one. He has the unique capacity to relate to all. Bob can put an anxious 21-year-old after an ATV accident, a terrified 57-year-old facing bilateral leg amputations from a life-threatening infection, and an unsettled 102-yearold waiting for hip fracture surgery all at ease with his friendly explanations and calm demeanor.


ever steer off course. He understands and has mastered the art of doing “the little things.” A 63-year-old Ottawa male slipped on ice December 2020, sustaining a femur fracture adjacent to his total knee replacement. This patient underwent a surgical open reduction and internal plate fixation at our facility and went home after a threeday stay in hospital. This grateful patient took the time to write a heartfelt letter to the Ottawa Hospital thanking the skilled surgeon, the knowledgeable anesthesiologist, the caring residents, the ward nurses, and the physiotherapy team. What this patient failed to realize was that Bob Weber also greatly contributed to his positive experience. It was Bob that noticed that a type and screen blood test had not been ordered prior to surgery just in case this patient were to require a blood transfusion. It was Bob that made multiple phone calls to uncover what type of joint replacement the patient had in his knee just in case it was loose and required alteration. It was Bob that coordinated with an available anesthesiologist and an off-duty surgeon to open an additional operating room to gain access to care for this patient in a timelier fashion.

HE IS DEDICATED TO IMPROVING THE PATIENT CARE WE DELIVER. HE IS MOTIVATED BY THE NOTION THAT WE CAN ALWAYS BE BETTER. Patients often remember him as the caring nurse who wished them off to dreamland prior to their anesthetic, but the depth of his heroics often goes unnoticed. His broad reach is in action prior to any patient entering the operating room. Bob successfully drives our high-volume service by organizing surgical equipment, personnel, and patient perioperative needs well in advance. He is always leaps and bounds ahead of the pack, leading by example and guiding us if we

Bob provided the novice scrub nurse with guidance as to the nuances of the required equipment and had a product representative on standby in case extra assistance was requested. When a specialty drill guide broke during the surgical case it was Bob that called for, fetched, and unwrapped a replacement without missing a beat. As his capacity is endless, this patient will never know that they had a smoother operative course because Bob showed up to work.

rd prize He is dedicated to improving the patient care we deliver. He is motivated by the notion that we can always be better. Bob is diligent in communicating with our multidisciplinary staff to ensure mishaps of all severities are not repeated and that we truly aim to constantly improve. He takes pride in educating and advocating for fellow nurses, students, and surgical trainees. We all learn from Bob. He has even mastered the art of telling a surgeon when they are incorrect and has yet to be impaled by a surgical instrument. When scrubbed-in to directly assist or circulating around the operating room, Bob’s productivity is unprecedented. By increasing our team’s efficiency he indirectly allows us to care for more patients and lessens their wait time for surgery. His knowledge and

skillset make us more effective as a team. Our anesthesiologists, surgeons, nurses and trainees all truly appreciate when he is in their operating room. His presence is felt. When the COVID-19 pandemic pounced like an evil world villain, all hospitals, patients, and operating rooms were impacted. Nursing heroes have emerged in all forms and we are lucky to work with some of the best at The Ottawa Hospital. Bob’s skills have continued to shine, and his dedication has never wavered. He has led by example over the past year, embracing new roles, adapting, educating, and providing input into our local perioperative pandemic policies. Bob Weber is an exceptional team player that we are so grateful to have at The Ottawa Hospital. Bob’s strength to lift us all up rivals any classic super hero. On behalf of the Division of Orthopedic Surgery at The Ottawa Hospital and the perioperative team, we truly honor him for soaring. Nominated by Dr. Randa Berdusco, Orthopaedic Surgeon and the entire perioperative group at The Ottawa H Hospital. ■ MAY 2021 HOSPITAL NEWS 23


Nichole Pereira Stollery Children’s Hospital, Alberta Health Services am very proud to nominate Nichole Pereira MN, RN as a nursing hero. I have had the privilege of working with her now for just over two years in her capacity as clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in the pediatric intensive care unit here at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. Nichole, in her 11 years of RN practice has worked as an RN in pediatric critical care, an RN in a quality portfolio, has completed her MN degree and is now working full time in her CNS position while currently enrolled in a PhD program at Queen’s University, completing her Doctor of Philosophy in Health Quality examining resiliency factors in the health care system and medication safety. Nichole is passionate about the intersection between patient safety and nursing competencies. She is leading the work with our teams to address how we can best assess nursing competencies across the continuum of newly graduated nurses to experienced nurses with several years of experience. Based on the Wright Competency Model, she is facilitating working groups of RN’s, clinical nurse educators, and nurse managers in developing competency priorities for the unit and exploring unique methods to meet competencies. She spent five years working on the continuing competency committee for CARNA and brings that vast knowledge to our site in this work.


and families in critical care, complex decision making in supporting nurses and other health providers to meet those needs. She is a role model to the staff, and is always volunteering to have leadership nursing students work with her in their practicums. She volunteers on the Stollery patient and family centered care committee, working to enhance the experience of the children and their families. Nichole leads numerous quality improvement and patient safety initiatives in the unit, as discussed in the following testimonials from her colleagues. – Kathy Reid, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Stollery Children’s Hospital Amidst all the challenges of Connect Care and COVID in the past year, Nichole continues to help move our PICU forward and engage staff. She is always patient focused and keeps that front and center in prioritizing her work. She led her CNE team and brought in a strong physician champion with the Make No Mistake Campaign in PICU that had a weekly focus on improving medication admin errors, bar code scanning and independent double checks. This has been a huge success and has dramatically

NICHOLE IS ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT MAKE EVERYONE AROUND THEM BETTER AND I AM GRATEFUL FOR BEING ABLE TO WORK WITH HER EVERY DAY. OUR UNIT WOULD NOT BE THE SAME PLACE WITHOUT HER. Nichole embodies the multiple domains of the clinical nurse specialist role including possessing expert knowledge of the needs of children 24 HOSPITAL NEWS MAY 2021

decreased medication errors and RLS reports in our PICU, ultimately improving safe outcomes for our patients. Nichole is unflagging in her energy and


passion for patient quality and safety as well as improving staff education and morale. She is very deserving to be recognized as a Nursing Hero! – Tracy Downie, Patient Care Manager, PICU Stollery Children’s Hospital “Nichole has been a strong leader and advocate for patient and staff safety within the Stollery Critical Care program. This has been demonstrated by her role in supporting the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program within the Critical Care to provide staff with the support and access to resources 24/7. Nichole has also been instrumental in running hot debriefs with her team and being one of the CISM mentors within the portfolio. Nichole has been a key member in reviewing quality improvement measures within the portfolio, including leader rounding, safety huddles, simulation and education. The level of enthusiasm and passion Nichole brings to her work is incredible. She is very approachable and always willing to lend a helping


a helping hand.”– Kristy Cunningham, Executive Director, Critical Care Stollery Children’s Hospital ‘Even though she is relatively early in her career, Nichole already embodies what it means to be a strong, reflective, and inspiring leader. She leads our education and quality team and every single one of them would tell you that they are better at their jobs because of support and mentorship from Nichole. Wise beyond her years, I have learned much from her about what it means to be an effective leader and how to put it into practice. I have watched her work with people from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives and she is very adept at effortlessly modifying her leadership and communication style to be the most effective leader she can be. Through all of this, she brings this presence of self-assurance, a calming influence no matter how chaotic the situation might be. Nichole is one of those people that make everyone around them better and I am grateful for being able to work with her every day. Our unit would not be the same place without her.” – Dr. Jon Duff, MD Pediatric H Intensivist Physician ■



Cindi Wheeler

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre t is with unreserved enthusiasm that I wish to support the nomination of Ms Cindi Wheeler as a Nursing Hero. Cindi serves as the Nurse Practitioner for the TAVI Program at Schulich. She joined our program three years ago. Since Cindi’s arrival, our program has doubled in size (and scope) but we, and the patients we serve, have been blessed to have gone from strength to strength to have someone as impressive/impactful as Cindi serve in this NP role. Her care is characterized by initiative, innovation, teaching expertise and outstanding compassion and dedication to her patients and colleagues alike. As an aside, we stole Cindi from the Renal Program here at SHSC, and I can still feel the ‘death stares’ from Dr Michelle Hladunewich whenever I pass her in the hallways. To state that Cindi is invested in our patients undersells her dedica-


tion. When Cindi first arrived, she had had little direct clinical involvement in the care of cardiac patients. Although, she clearly was a fast learner and had a mastery of the clinical scenarios around the pre and post management of our TAVI patients, she independently decided that she needed to invest her free-time and efforts to obtain her Canadian Nurses Association Cardiology Nursing qualifications, which she achieved this past December 2020. Her signature tagline now reads like an alphabet soup – Cindi Wheeler NP-PHC MN GNC(C) CCN(C) – but attests to her tremendous qualifications as an expert in her field. In turn, she has been sought out by many student NPs for observer-ships; further, the success of our Schulich TAVI program’s expansion through the recruitment, training and empowerment of NPs has encouraged other TAVI programs nationally

to adopt this model, specifically facilitated by onsite visits to Sunnybrook from other TAVI program NPs to learn from Cindi through sharing of best practices. Cindi has a major role, not simply in service, but also in shaping the type of care we provide to TAVI patients; at Sunnybrook and beyond. She has diligently worked on a new website for the Schulich Centre’s TAVI Program; highlighting where we excel (i.e. Why Sunnybrook), patient stories, as well as critically important patient and family educational tools to help them navigate through what is clearly an emotional and stressful process of workup for, waiting for and then ultimate TAVI and recovery. Beyond the walls of Sunnybrook, Cindi has been called on in an advisory role to help with ‘Shared Decision Making’ tools to be rolled out as part of a provincial CorHealth initiative.

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It is however in the service of high quality, highly empathetic, repeated but individualized patient/family care that Cindi excels without parallel. I know that my TAVI colleagues will highlight a few individual examples of outstanding care in their supporting letter, so I won’t repeat them here. It is unequivocally correct to note that there are numerous examples of patients who without Cindi’s support and tireless efforts to formulate plans just to facilitate getting them to testing and the actual TAVI procedure, would never have undergone their life-saving intervention. However, I’m personally filled with immense pride to see that (all) her office walls are adorned with so many Sunnybrook “Champion of Care” cards and pins that she has lovingly received from ever grateful TAVI patients directed specifically to thank HER for HER care. Continued on page 32 MAY 2021 HOSPITAL NEWS 25


Natalie Warren Clarenville G.B Cross Hospital, Eastern Health (NFLD) hen I read the description for the Nursing Hero Contest, my mind instantly went to my colleague and friend – Natalie Warren. We both work at a rural hospital in Clarenville, Newfoundland. Natalie floats to different units of the hospital, showing her competence in multiple areas. A few words I could use to describe Natalie would be: reliable, compassionate, dedicated, patient focused, empathetic, advocate, volunteer, and respectful. She has proven her reliability during a time when it is difficult to come into work and even more difficult to do overtime. She will constantly pick up overtime, which ultimately benefits not just her, but her co-workers who get to go home because she will be there. Ambulance escorts, constant care, replacing those on her units who must be moved. She does everything



and wherever she does end up, she will give it her all and she will succeed. Natalie is, to my belief and the belief of management and our clinical edu-

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! On behalf of all of us at the Health Care Providers Group Insurance Plan, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate all of the hard-working nurses across Canada! The past year has dealt you an insurmountable challenging and we cannot express in words how truly JUDWHIXO ZH DUH IRU \RXU VHOȵHVV DFWLRQV DQG VDFULȴFHV as you work to keep Canadians healthy and safe. Whether you’ve been working tirelessly to support your local hospital system or have been redeployed to a health care sector in need, you’ve come out of retirement or stepped up to support a neighbouring province - your continuous compassion, care and dedication don’t go unnoticed! Each and every day, we’re thankful for the immense impact that you have on our health care system.


cator, a highly competent nurse. She is one of the smartest nurses at our hospital and I have heard that more than once. She is eager to participate in education when possible; she seems to always be learning. She has travelled with Team Broken Earth to Haiti and excelled. She is adaptable and brave. Natalie often orientates colleagues and takes RN students for clinical placements. If they want to learn to work hard and treat their patients with empathy and compassion, Natalie is the one to learn from. She advocates for employees, patients, and herself. She will not turn away from conflict or resolution, no matter how painful. She is an advocate for mental health care, but more specifically she can directly help those that are experiencing harassment, triggers, or any hardship. She is quite capable of doing so, drawing on past experiences. Mental health is huge. We work in difficult areas and have not only patients, but employees suffering from mental illnesses, as any hospital does. Natalie is always there for us. She has been there for me through flashbacks and triggers at work. She will, when appropriate, take the time she needs to actually talk to co-workers and try her best guide and support them. I have seen her de-escalate many a situation. People trust her. In addition, bullying is common amongst nurses, and at some point I feel like we all get a share of that. Natalie does not tolerate bullying and actively discourages gossip, forcing people to really think about what they are saying to one another. Someone has to be an advocate for this and she embodies that role.

Natalie is very patient/family focused. I recall a recent incident of going above and beyond. The patient had been an inpatient for weeks and was later transferred to a larger hospital for surgery. Weeks later, the patient arrived back in our ER in cardiac arrest and did not survive. This was a major shock to his family – it wasn’t an expected outcome. They were distraught, and I witnessed that myself. During that day, the family stayed with the patient for as long as they needed. They experienced support start to finish, from Natalie in particular. She ensured they had a quiet area where they could be comfortable while trying to take in the fact that they’d just lost a family member. She spoke with the family like they were important, that their feelings mattered, and even though they were in a busy ER department, she made this impossible situation more bearable with her bedside manner, compassion, and unwavering support. She saw the situation to the end, and I can honestly say they were one of the most grateful families I’ve seen in a long while. She provided care that went above and beyond, and in situations like this, that can make more of a difference than we ever really get to know. Natalie Warren is the definition of a nursing hero. She is a confident role model for those around her. As she is still early in her career, she will continue to be an asset to any workplace. She is ambitious. Natalie is the type of H nurse that we should strive to be. ■

HM mention




CELEBRATING 25 YEARS 1997 - 2022


Farhang Golmoradi Saint Elizabeth Health Care am 35 years old and have been suffering from Endometriosis for many years. Having had eight surgeries and organ damage, the disease continues to wreak havoc and cause intolerable pain. This last year I have been receiving St. Elizabeth LHIN homecare and Farhang is my Primary nurse. He has gone way above and beyond the call of duty. My GP has been prescribing pain medication to keep my pain level manageable (basically just enough relief to keep me out of the hospital


yet not enough for me to function with any sense of normalcy). Farhang comes twice a week at minimum to dispense my medication and check my sub-cutaneous port placement to ensure there is no infection or other problems. At the beginning of homecare I was being provided supplies for my sub-cutaneous port that had the port sliding out of my arm a few times a week. Farhang found a secondary option called Cleo and from then on we haven’t had any problems with it sliding out or getting clogged, not once.


Anytime there has been a hiccup in my supply problems he has found a way to ensure better care and service which helps provide me with a bit more normalcy and less Medical PTSD. After seeing me become dehydrated and have my nausea spiral out of control when the pain is not managed well, Farhang has sought my GP to speak with her directly on multiple occasions to find solutions such as at home hydration and nausea medication through IV. Now I have a team that can work together to provide me with life saving relief. Farhang has watched and witnessed everything I have been going through and how hard I have to work at living in pain and he continually fights for my care and acts as my advocate, even without my asking him to be. He has done his very best to reach out to anyone who could help aid in making me more comfortable. He

knows that I have hopes and dreams that are currently on hold and he has done everything he can to help me have some normal life back. In my entire experience I have NEVER come across a Nurse like Farhang. He constantly surprises me with his never give up attitude, reminding me so much of my former self. He is kind and compassionate and does all aspects of his job with love. I have had nice nurses and nurses that go above and beyond but I have never had a Nurse advocate for me, EVER. If all nurses could be trained by someone I would recommend him. If all patients could pick their nurse, I would tell them to pick him. If I could give him a medal for his kind compassionate work, I would! He deserves a cape and a crown! I am honoured that he is my nurse and has worked so tirelessly to help me. Thank you Farhang. H Nominated by Jennifer Glas ■

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Janet Evans

The Ottawa Hospital am nominating Janet Evans because she has a passion for nursing, and she genuinely likes dealing with people. She is qualified and experienced and the strongest nurse I know. She is my ‘go to’ person for any of my healthcare questions, and if she doesn’t know the answer she works to find the answer. Below, please find three examples of why I think Janet is a Nursing Hero. Example 1. – Pandemic Nursing Response, The Ottawa Hospital, Brewer Covid Assessment Centre, in Ottawa (2020 to present). Here are two instances of Janet going above and beyond. Parents with children that come for a covid assessment, go through a


JANET TALKS TO PEOPLE. SHE FINDS OUT EVERYONE’S PERSPECTIVE ON ISSUES AFFECTING RESIDENT CARE. process that can take some time with multiple repeated information requests. The kids get restless. Recently, Janet introduced the ‘power of pink’. This is where the bravery superpower cooks in your tummy and comes out your hands. It’s very powerful and the kids have to use it to help mommy and daddy be brave for their test, because they are scared. Usually, the kids calm down, and go to the waiting area with their parents and even take their test without incident. Janet even had one

Spectrum community nurses keep patients safe at home! Spectrum Health Care is proud to support and celebrate our nurses during an unprecedented 2021 Nursing Week. Nurses across the province, whether working in hospital, clinic or home settings have shown extraordinary courage in delivering care with compassion to patients and their families. We are proud to partner with hospitals across the Greater Toronto Area to support safe discharge of patients to their homes where our highly skilled community nurses provide complex care and support. Home care nurses are a crucial part of our health care system. They provide management and monitoring of chronic conditions, health education to patients and families, specialized medical wound care, ostomy and foot care, and also support patients through palliative and end of life journeys at home. Now more than ever people want the confidence and choice to be cared for at home. Home care nurses everywhere are instrumental in transforming this desire into a reality and Spectrum nurses have been making this happen for more than 40 years. Long after the pandemic is over, our nurses will continue to support patients with their care at home – it’s where we all want to be. Thank you home care nurses everywhere for your incredible dedication and commitment.



e honouraobnl menti in pain. Janet advocated

child come back and say ‘the power of pink really works and I didn’t even cry when I had my test done’. On another occasion, there was a gentleman who presented with three symptoms on the list for covid testing. This gentleman provided all the required information and was very pleasant. However, he would not sit down during assessment nor would he take off his coat. In an effort to make the gentleman comfortable in a stressful environment, Janet disinfected his chair and the entire assessment area. She helped him feel more at ease by simply talking with him and learning a little about him. This helped him feel more comfortable. He sat down and removed his coat so a set of vital signs could be taken. It was then, Janet saw a purple hand, which would account for the symptoms he was having. Through conversation, Janet learned that he had separated his two dogs during a fight, and in the process one of his fingers had been nicked by a dog tooth. The doctor was called and referral to acute care was made, and the gentleman’s hand was saved. Example 2. – Long Term Care Management, Bourget Nursing Home (2019-2020). Janet’s journey to Long Term Care Management has taken the scenic route, and provided her with the opportunity to fine tune her management skills for optimal benefit for her residents and staff. Janet recently completed a contract in long-term care covering a maternity leave position. There was a gentleman who had a strong personality with embedded and unswayable ideas. This fellows’ primary language was French, and Janet nurses in English. Soon, his health issues caught up with him and he was

for a pain management program for him, and through a lot of pointing and with interpreter support, multiple pain control interventions were implemented. However, this fellow remained very uncomfortable. In collaboration with staff specialized in behaviour support, the medical staff, and the home’s frontline staff (RPNs and PSWs), Janet transferred him to acute care for pain assessment and management. When this fellow returned back to long-term care, Janet arranged bilingual wound care education and training for all staff. Janet provided an extra pair of hands for repositioning and turning, promoting resident comfort and helping staff. Janet even assisted with meals, as this gentleman was on prescribed bed rest. This fellow was very appreciative, and often smiled. His health improved to the point where he played Santa in the nursing home’s Christmas party. To celebrate his return to health, Janet connected with a community organization and facilitated donated Christmas gifts for the entire long term care home. Example 3. – Independent research for organizational change – program and process improvements (2012 to present). Here is an overview of Janet’s work. With experience working in nursing organizational change, Janet completed her program evaluation and management certificate. This began initial development of an organizational change process that she presented at the regional long- term care conference. As Janet was awarded management contracts in long-term care, her research continued. She linked organizational change process to leadership theory, education, and frontline practice. Janet used her experience to build her research, and fine tune her techniques for an evidence based approach to required programming in long term care. For example: Janet talks to people. She finds out

everyone’s perspective on issues affecting resident care. She, then uses this information to drill down to the root cause of the issue. Then, knowing the cause of the issue, Janet develops plans to overcome the issue, basing all plans in theory, and planning all actions in collaboration with people. Once the actions are implemented on a small scale, the actions are spread throughout the organization. Its effects are almost immediate, as Janet incorporate both positive and negative feedback into the program. This is what makes her organizational change program unique, it’s built in evaluation system that essentially is the recipe for success. Janet then incorporates quality indicators and annual evaluation markers for sustained improvement. H Nominated by Christine Beach ■

Thank you Spectrum nurses, our community heroes. Your compassion and dedication keep our patients safe and cared for where they want to be – at home.


Cindi Wheeler Continued from page 25 It really is the tip of the iceberg to ALL the ‘Thanks Cindi’ adorations she gets every day from patients, whether seeing them in the clinic, talking to them on the phone, responding to their numerous emails or simply lending an ear to their frustrations, fears and hopes for better days of health ahead. I’ve often joked with her that while there is no “I” in “TAVI-TEAM,” if there were it would probably look something like “TECindi-AM.” Spend two minutes in the TAVI clinic or talking to a TAVI patient and family and you’ll see that Cindi Wheeler is a Nursing Hero – Dr. Sam Radhakrishnan MD, FRCPC, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Schulich Heart Centre I work alongside Cindi Wheeler, Nurse Practitioner of the TAVI Program since May 2018. She is an amazing worker. Her role includes but not limited to triaging referrals, clinical consultations, liaising with other health care providers who are involved

or will be involved in the care of the patients including physicians, nurse practitioners, staff of other departments as well as research associates, personal social workers, etc. She sees patients in consultation and their follow ups appointments independently and explains information clearly to patients, families, and caregivers in a proper manner. Many patients have commented that Cindi is very knowledgeable and explain things very clearly in “laymen language vs medical terminology.” A patient had once said to Cindi as he was walking out of the exam room after the initial consultation, “You are very good, in fact you are better than all the doctors that I have seen.” She often spends her lunch time planning, coordinating, and advocating for our patients. This is predominately seen especially throughout the COVID19 Pandemic where she continuously advocate for our elderly patients (age 80+) with severe aortic


stenosis, critical AS, or a failing valve whom all requires a new heart valve implantation. These elderly patients are experiencing extreme anxiety and emotional distress coming to the hospital without a family member due to current pandemic no visitor policy restrictions. She keeps a running tab on each and every patient who is on the waiting list for the TAVI procedure as well as monitor their symptoms throughout to ensure no patients are fallen through the cracks. We have at least two patients who live alone with significant socioeconomic issues requiring proper care pre and post TAVI procedure. Cindi went through many different channels in order to arrange all diagnostic tests in an expedited manner and orderly fashion including arranging for social worker support and arranging respite care post procedure as resources are limited due to the COVID 19 pandemic. – Kim Truong, Medical Secretary to the Structural Heart Program (TAVI) – Schulich Heart Centre Cindi has consistently gone above and beyond for our patients to support them through this anxiety provoking process. This has been particularly

evident during the COVID pandemic, when due to visitor restrictions, our TAVI patients were often unoccupied by family. A specific example below: One of our patients had substantial socioeconomic and mental health issues, including social isolation and distrust of the health care system and providers; this in turn, made the diagnostic process very difficult. Cindi was able to earn the patient’s trust and worked with anesthesia and medical imaging to ensure the patient’s work-up was complete and timely. As recovery post-procedure was a concern due to her isolation, Cindi made arrangements with Pine Vella, to make an exception for our patient and allow for a more extended respite stay post TAVI, to allow for a safe, and clean environment for recovery. The amount of time spent to make all of these arrangements was substantial; she was able to do so, while concurrently making sure all of the other TAVI patients were well looked after. – Dr. Harindra Wijeysundera, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FAHA, FCCSChief Schulich Heart Program, Sunnybrook H Health Sciences Centre ■




Mariam Salih

Vancouver Coastal Health ariam joined the spine unit at Vancouver General Hospital in the spring of 2019 and quickly became one of our most valued resources. She immediately recognized the need to collaboratively integrate our teams of residents, fellows, nursing staff and surgeons and has become the central conduit for all communication around our complex patient population. She meets with our Fellows and Residents each morning at 6:30am to facilitate overnight hand-over, even though her shift does not begin until 8am. No detail is too small, no ask is too big for Mariam. She has a clear and effective communication style with both patients and staff and engages easily with both groups. Mariam is extremely diligent in her care of our spine patients and is quick to ask questions and look further into the details if she notices



anything out of the ordinary. She is extremely thorough with an indepth knowledge base that is unique to our spine patient population. She has been a champion of comprehensive spine care on our ward, tackling wide ranging opportunities to better the care of our patients both during their time in hospital as well as upon their release. Mariam’s dedication has made the spine program at Vancouver General run with greater efficiency and thorough communication amongst all members of the ward. Most significantly, she has provided a greatly valued resource to our patients and their families, making sure that their stay on our ward is handled professionally and

with exceptional kindness. During the challenges of the pandemic, Mariam recognized that patient’s separation from their families represented not only gaps in care but also in communication. She immediately stepped in to ensure continuity of communication with the family to help eliminate fears and uncertainty for both the patient as well as their loved ones. One of the greatest differentiators of our patient population is that spinal cord injury patients place not only increased physical demands on our nurses but emotional ones as well. Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) are life changing and devastating to patients and their families, especially our quadriplegic patients.

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This is a life altering condition and many of these patients are young and in the prime of their lives when these injuries occur. Emotional support is so critical to these SCI patients and their families and this is where Mariam has shone as a true hero. Her kind and caring manner, coupled with a wealth of experience and knowledge has made her a trusted and valued resource for everyone on the VGH Spine Service. Nominated by Dr. Charles Fisher DiH vision Head – VGH Spine Service ■

Thank you to our nurses for #RisingUp throughout the pandemic and for providing exemplary care for our patients through their recovery journey. #WeAnswerTheCall


Photos taken at various times and various states of restrictions



Kinnon Ross Providence Health Care BC am delighted to nominate Kinnon Ross, Clinical Nurse Leader of the Urban Health Acute Care Unit at St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver. St Paul’s Hospital, located in downtown Vancouver serves the Downtown Eastside (DTES), Canada’s poorest postal code, which is facing a double public emergency, with the ongoing overdose death epidemic and COVID-19. This has resulted in a worsening level of toxicity in the illicit drug supply resulting in overdoses, brain injury, violence and aggression, compounded by extreme poverty and homelessness. The Urban Health Acute Care Unit is a 25-bed medical unit for medically ill patients with the sequelae of active substance use disorders.



Kinnon leads her team from a place of extreme empathy and compassion, often in the face of highly complex and challenging patient presentations. She is an expert in substance use nursing and medical nursing of patients suffering from endocarditis, cellulitis, sepsis and a variety of other infections and infectious diseases. She supports the whole team in delivering a high standard of care and has recently steered the unit through two COVID-19 outbreaks. She is seen as an expert in behavioural health and person-centred care planning across the hospital and is regularly called on to help co-create care plans with patients living with behavioural health issues. She can engage the most vulnerable and un-trusting patient and work with

We are grateful for the incredible commitment of nurses to patient care across Canada, especially during these unprecedented times. Your dedication reminds us that we’ll get through this – TOGETHER.

© 2021 Medtronic. All rights reserved.


them to have their medical and social needs met. She is a fierce advocate for person-first care and anti-stigma practice, leading education formally and informally. Kinnon moves heaven and earth to meet the needs of her patients. She most recently worked many hours arranging a complex inter-provincial transfer of a patient to Alberta who had suffered a brain injury following an overdose. She researched every possible option and refused to accept that he could not return to be close to his parents. He is now successfully placed in a long-term care facility close to his family. In the same week, she managed the care of a young indigenous man from a northern community whom many had given up hope for. She arranged an Indigenous recovery placement close to his home community and he is now free of substances and thriving. Kinnon was a driving force in the development of multiple harm reduction initiatives that are now standard practice including the Managed Alco-

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hol Program, High Dose Hydromorphone, and the in-hospital Overdose Prevention Site. She manages to achieve all of these things while still managing her staff, unit budget and the daily pressures of access and flow in a busy, inner-city teaching hospital. The Access and Flow managers are constantly praising Kinnon for her flexibility, responsiveness and expert logistical mind that always has patients at the centre of every discussion. Kinnon always comes from a place of ‘Yes’ and has a mind that works miracles every day for some of Canada’s most vulnerable people. It gives me great pleasure nominating Kinnon for this award. – Scott Harrison, Director, Urban Health, HIV & Substance Use Co-Regional Director, Regional Substance Use & Addictions Program Adjunct Professor, School of Nursing, University of British H Columbia ■


At Medtronic, we are grateful for the courage and dedication of nurses who respond to the needs of patients across Canada every day. We face challenges together and are honoured to support the inspiring work that you do. Thank you for your commitment to patient care and for your continued trust in us. At Medtronic, we will continue to adapt and innovate to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life.

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© 2021 Medtronic. All rights reserved.


Sheila Hutton Health Sciences Centre Children’s Hospital Winnipeg Health Sciences work in a department full of nursing heroes, but I would like to single out their leader – Sheila Hutton. I personally have been inspired, encouraged, empowered and awestruck by Sheila. She is the Manager of Patient Services at the Health Sciences Centre Children’s Hospital Emergency Department in Winnipeg, but she is so much more than just a manager – she is a force to be reckoned with! In the nearly 16 years I have worked with her, I have witnessed Sheila go above and beyond in every aspect of patient care, through direct initiatives and improvements, as well as indirectly through committees, working groups and the like. There is no way I can possibly detail the full extent of her awesomeness, but I will try to give you some insight into why Sheila is a Nursing Hero. Prior to moving to the Emergency Department, Sheila managed an acute Pediatric Medicine ward. Besides this ward being extremely well-managed and providing amazing care to the sick children, I recall Sheila being an instrumental force behind the introduction of Medication Reconciliation upon admission, which was rolled out in the early-mid 2000s. This was ground-breaking work, and provided the model that was followed by the other hospitals in the province. Sheila was tireless in the planning, education, implementation and continued evaluation of this vital component of seamless patient care that has now grown to include medication reconciliation at discharge and transfers of care. The other massive project that defined Sheila’s time managing the


in-patient medicine ward is the four-bed-advanced-monitoring-room for patients who might otherwise need critical care beds. Sheila worked tirelessly to secure funds, plan the space, implement, educate staff, and finally fill the beds. This monitored room is still a success story within the walls of our Pediatric Hospital. When the manager position opened up in Children’s Emergency Department in 2012, an abundance of staff members recruited, encouraged, pled with Sheila that she should move downstairs and take on this bigger department with wider reaching impact. And, happily for us, this is where she has been for the past nine years. Under Sheila’s inspiring leadership, we have made great strides in improving patient care and enhancing staff development. Sheila has advocated for better care for our children and adolescents who require mental health assessments, and we have seen progress. Sheila has helped adapt our triage area and waiting room for safer patient care, and she continues to push for further improvements. Sheila helped prepare our ED for potential patients with Ebola virus, and over the past year has been outstanding in everything COVID-related. She has managed to keep staff up to date and well-informed of all changes, answered millions of questions, participated on hospital and provincial COVID groups, kept her cool, kept her staff calm and pivoted over and over again. An often overlooked accomplishment of Sheila’s is her ability to men-

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WHEN SHEILA SEES A SPARK IN ONE OF HER NURSES, SHE WILL DEDICATE HER TIME AND ENERGY TO HELPING AND EMPOWERING THAT SPECIAL NURSE GROW TO THE HIGHEST OF ABILITIES THEY MIGHT NOT EVEN HAVE KNOWN THEY POSSESSED. tor staff from inexperienced nurses to higher and higher positions. She does this without fanfare, nor credit, but it does not go unnoticed by all. Quite incredibly, many of Sheila’s staff nurses have been encouraged and given opportunities and guidance to grow into clinical resource nurses, and nurse educators, and then into Managers of Patient Care. This is definitely not a requirement in her day-to-day duties, but when Sheila sees a spark in one of her nurses, she will dedicate her time and energy to helping and empowering that special nurse grow to the highest of abilities they might not even have known they possessed. This has far-reaching impact on patient care because, today, many managers carry with them the lessons they learned from Sheila.

Most notably, Sheila’s heroic superpower is the care she gives to our patients. Despite mountains of other important work and no longer being a bedside nurse, Sheila is often seen introducing herself to families, offering reassuring words, giving a therapeutic touch or hug during times of extreme stress or sadness. She genuinely wants each patient and their caregivers to feel that they are our top priority – because they are! Sheila is an inspiring nurse and hero to many of us at Winnipeg’s Children’s Hospital, and it is my hope that you will select her for this prestigious award and public acknowledgement of her heroism. Nominated by Tracy Furst, Pharmacist, HSC Children’s Hospital Emergency H Dept ■


Christina Mueller

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre would like to nominate Christina Mueller, Nurse Practitioner at C606 (CMH) for the “Nursing Hero” contest. As a current ALL patient, I can tell you that her care over the last year and a half has been integral to my healing. Every week when I come into the clinic to receive chemotherapy, her vast medical knowledge is reassuring, but also her commitment to patient care from a holistic point amplifies my healing. When I come in, she makes the conscious effort to talk to me outside the scope of just medicine and medical care, but inquire about my life, share something about herself and her family, and remember these stories, showing genuine interest. For example, during my Intensification



Phase, I was undergoing some serious negative thoughts; as a young capable man prior to my illness, I was stripped of every aspect of my life from work, finances, strength, and so forth, and in the process, I had a lack of self-esteem and confidence. I was struggling to find hope or at least positive thinking. Over the next few weeks, she would share some meditation techniques (breathing), research some hobbies like whittling (wood scalping), and give me personal arts

magazines to read. In addition, we would also share ideas about politics, climate change, education, raising children, and life in general. These small gestures of kindness and meaningful conversations added tremendous energy, and if I dare say, hope to my journey. I simply hate coming to the hospital; a constant reminder that I am sick from the visuals, sounds, and smell. But the time that Chris takes out of her schedule to speak to me makes me forget, even if it is for a moment, that I am sick. That is a powerful and transformative ability

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that is encouraging. Our conversations take my mind off the negative things, laughing about silly moments, and patching me up as I continue down this long difficult path. I know that she does this for other patients too; her personal touches make the lives of not just myself, but others around her better. This many not seem extraordinary to some people, but when you are dealing with patients who are given a difficult long path with no sense of certainty, what she is able do within a short period of time is quite extraordinary. Above and beyond the call of duty. I hope your team recognizes her and gives her the first-place award as she undoubtedly deserves this. Nominated by David Tran, a grateful H patient ■


Lisa Gault

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario H

ave you ever felt that familiar sense of panic when your fragile patient (or loved one) loses their IV access at 2am? My Nursing Hero is Lisa Gault, RN At the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) for her skilled venipuncture. CHEO is a Pediatric Hospital in Ottawa, ON. It is the added responsibility of nurses in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at CHEO to put their knowledge and expertise of venipuncture to work overnight – in addition to our usual patient loads – as our Vascular Access Team (VAT) leaves in the evening. It is Lisa who is called to the Resuscitation bay in Emerg to take blood cultures on a 2-day-old septic baby. It is Lisa who is called by the


Critical Care Response Team (CCRTa consulting service for inpatients with compromise to their Airway, Breathing, or Circulation) to place an IV in the anxious 15 year-old oncology patient for a STAT blood transfusion. It is Lisa who places the IV in PICU during CPR to begin an epinephrine infusion on the three year-old post-op cardiac patient. Lisa is called when no

one else can get the IV or the bloodwork, and she is always willing to try. It is no coincidence that her colleagues can often be heard to say “well… what would Lisa do?” when faced with a difficult poke. Lisa is that rare and special breed of night-shift worker who has developed her expertise over years of practice at the bedside during hours that

are traditionally resource starved- no VAT team, fewer MDs, no Child Life for distraction, etc. In the blink of an eye she has done her physical assessment, applied the patient’s history and made a device selection, while describing out-loud for stressed caregivers the rationale for the prescribed venipuncture, placement and duration of the procedure, and pain management options at CHEO for the poke itself. Lisa is a natural educator, and happily takes junior nurses along with her when called for an IV start. She takes the time to explain her technique step-by-step, and shares alternative strategies for successful venipuncture. This might include position change, device change, optimizing unique vascular

A special thank you to our compassionate and dedicated nurses during National Nursing Week! Nurses are needed. Like never before.

Join our diverse, caring team of nurses who help people stay safe at home. View career opportunities at



anatomy, warming of hands or feet, UV light goggles, and many other tips and tricks. She demonstrates critical thinking by asking probing questions during telephone consults and is quick to educate and advocate when necessary. Lisa supports her nursing colleagues throughout CHEO selflessly and quietly, regularly forgoing her breaks while balancing her primary assignment for the night as charge nurse or senior nurse to the PICU. Venipuncture and IV placement is a skill learned early in nursing school, but it is one I would argue that it takes years to develop fully in pediatrics. It requires complex organizational skills, collaboration between patient/caregiver/family, expertise in technique, and expert anatomical knowl-

edge. Lisa upholds the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario Best Practice Guidelines for Venipuncture, the College of Nurses of Ontario’s Standards & Guidelines for venipuncture, and CHEO’s Policies for Venipuncture alike. We can all relate to the feeling of relief when the poke is done: the IV is in place, the blood sample is sent to the lab, the treatment can begin. This is the sense of relief Lisa brings to CHEO when she arrives at the bedside at 2am, supplies in hand, to help a patient, to help a nurse, to help a family. Lisa is my Nursing Hero and I wholeheartedly nominate her for the 16th Annual Hospital News H Nursing Hero Awards. ■ Nominated by Sophia Bucking, RN, BScN, MScN PICU & SPOT, CHEO

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The World Health Organization has proclaimed 2021 as the International Year of Health and Care Workers to express gratitude for their unwavering dedication in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure all health workers are supported, protected, motivated and equipped to deliver safe health care at all times. As we continue the battle against COVID-19, RNAO thanks all nurses – and especially Ontario’s registered nurses and nurse practitioners – who have spent 15 intense months on the front lines of care with great courage, expertise and compassion. You have led organizations. You have reorganized curriculums. You have worked on the front lines, putting patients, clients and residents first. You have saved lives and witnessed the loss of too many lives. You have experienced anguish and joy. You have felt despair



Morgan Hoffarth

Doris Grinspun

RN, MScN, RNAO President


and hope. You have experienced exhaustion and you have been reenergized. Above all, you have made a grand difference. Your work in all sectors and roles shines and makes us proud. Nurses are the backbone of our health system and we couldn’t be prouder of you for your contributions. Today, more than ever, Ontario salutes you. As we continue to face trying times, RNAO will continue to speak out with you and for you. We stand with you every minute of the day and every minute of the night – shift to shift. You are today’s Florence Nightingales bringing knowledge and compassion, light and hope, wherever you go. We salute you with enormous gratitude, for who you are: a proud nurse. A promising nursing student.



Mark Sotto

Humber River Hospital

am writing to nominate an outstanding nurse that has gone above and beyond their normal duties and shows outstanding values. His name is Mark Sotto. Mark works at Humber River Hospital’s ICU for the past few years and I am in awe at how hard working and dedicated he is to patient safety, patient care, and staff satisfaction. Mark has worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic in one of Toronto’s busiest COVID ICUs, and his work is an example of the spirit of nursing and caring for our most vulnerable. I work with Mark very closely as we are coworkers on the same unit and I have witnessed him be continuously praised by our coworkers and management for being an outstanding nurse and team player. One, of many examples, that sticks out in my mind is during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our ICU was very busy one shift with various intubations and proning to support our COVID patients. Mark was in a different area of the unit, very busy with his own critical patients and I needed to prone my own patient who was a large young man and required approximately 8-10 staff. Mark had earlier agreed to help me, but when the time came to prone my patient Mark was also very busy and running behind on his own schedule. Instead of asking someone to cover for him and help me with my prone procedure, Mark stuck to his commitment to help me. It was such a subtle action but Mark does this every single shift! Mark will always find a way to help his team even if he is incredibly busy, because he values integrity, teamwork, and patient safety to such a high regard. I have witnessed Mark go above and beyond as a rapid response (CCRT) nurse,


which is an incredibly demanding role in our hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many nurses avoid the CCRT role, but Mark is not a regular nurse! I remember one specific example, I was incredibly overwhelmed as a CCRT nurse myself and Mark took time out of his assignment, which was already busy, to help me in my role to prevent me from getting really behind, and later on from burning out. He takes time out of his day to help every

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one of his colleagues, myself included! I have seen him take leadership roles in code-blues on patients that are not his, because he is always there to help us. I have also seen him there during critical events, such as cardioversions and intubations to help our team. I have also been witness to Mark’s outstanding compassion and patience. One recent example of Mark going above and beyond is with a patient’s family member who was hard of hearing. The family member had a difficult time understanding the staff with the masks in place due to

the pandemic, but Mark stayed with the family member for approximately 10-20 minutes to explain slowly and clearly, and with different mediums such as using technology to communicate with the family member in a way that the family could understand. Additionally, given that the patient was under AGMP (aerosolizing generating medical procedure), such as BIPAP, the family could not visit the patient at the bedside but Mark spent a significant amount of time finding opportunities for the family to communicate with the patient. Mark ended up using a phone outside the patient room to connect to the bedside IBT (computer/phone device) so that the patient could hear what the family wanted to say. The patient ended up passing a day later, and I am sure the time that Mark created with the family allowed for a special time they will never forget. This is one of numerous examples of how Mark conducts himself with remarkable compassion and patience. Mark has also volunteered to be on the unit council called RPCC (Reinventing Patient Care Council) to assist in performing audits and surveys to better improve patient care and staff satisfaction. In his spare time Mark approached companies to donate “goodies” for staff in an effort to boost morale during the first two waves of the pandemic and help avoid burnout. Mark successfully received free glasses and warm socks for staff. Our staff was very appreciative of Mark’s kind gesture, initiative, and leadership to care for our team! Mark is an outstanding nurse, and I look up to him as a professional and personal role model. He has shown remarkable values and works with the utmost professionalism. He always works with a cool-minded attitude in a very-high stress environment in the ICU and will find a way to help his team and every single patient he is assigned to. I cannot think of a more deserving nurse to be a Nursing Hero! Nominated by Alicia M Lara GonzaH lez, RN, Humber River Hospital. ■

Thank you For over 25 years, HealthPRO has been honoured to serve Canada’s healthcare system, and this year, more than any other, we’ve heard countless inspiring stories of how our members have adapted and transformed amidst the pandemic. We recognize your dedication, your compassion and your Ã>VÀ wVi°


to see how artists are paying tribute to your efforts and vote for your favourite – the winner will have an opportunity to direct $25,000 to a publicly funded healthcare organization.


Deana Shea Haines Eastern Health (NFLD) t is my pleasure to nominate my colleague, Deana Shea Haines, for a 2021 Nursing Hero Award. Deana is a nurse in the Health Sciences Centre Emergency Department in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Throughout the pandemic, Deana has provided continuous and compassionate leadership during what has been an incredibly stressful period in our department and community. Walking in for one of my shifts, she was out in full PPE to swab an elderly gentleman prior to an urgent


procedure. She made this happen to save the patient from coming into the hospital and in doing so, ensured the procedure could go ahead. This is just one example of the many small tasks that she does in a day, always with consideration for patients and her team at the forefront of her mind. In any critical patient encounter, Deana is the first person to lend a helping hand. There was one night where a team was called stat to the triage area for a woman in labor. Deana remained calm, made sure that all required personnel were available, and was the first

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n behalf of The Ontario Podortho Nurses Association members, we would like to thank our hard-working nurses and front-line health care worker colleagues, for their continued efforts to care for those who are impacted by COVID-19. Our Podortho Nurse members will continue to assist our frontline health care workers by keeping our communities mobile and healthy, to ease the pressure while caring for those clients with foot health related conditions and preventing lower limb complications. May is Foot Health Month & Nursing week is upon us! Our participating Podortho Nurse members would like to offer special foot care treatments to our front-line health care workers as we know how much you are on your feet and the impact lower limb and foot conditions will have on you as “care providers”. Visit our website to learn more about the special offers in your area for our front-line health care worker colleagues, so we can care for you who are caring for others.

Put your feet in our hands 44 HOSPITAL NEWS MAY 2021

to assist at the bedside. I remember her steady voice and presence as a comfort to the patient, her family, and the medical staff. Deana is an excellent educator, mentor, and advocate for patient and family-focused care. However, one of her most remarkable attributes is her ability to lead a team through challenging times. We have a poster in our Emergency Department that reads, Tough times don’t last, but tough teams do. Deana is not only a source of strength in our department, she is also the heart. We are a stronger department due in large part to her leadership. On behalf of the Emergency Department staff, I hope you’ll consider Deana for Nursing Hero Award. – Dr. Margo Wilson Emergency Medicine Eastern Health St. John’s, N

affected by the storm. Deana showed leadership throughout this time, particularly when several hospital staff found themselves enduring 24-hour shifts, and was dedicated to caring for staff, physicians and most importantly the patients who required care. Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began we lost one of our young nursing colleagues, who had two young boys, to sudden cardiac death. Deana helped to organize a memorial for our friend and colleague Alison, including paramedicine, nursing, physicians, and her family in the parking lot of our hospital so we could physically distance. Nurses like Deana are rare and need to be celebrated. One example of her exceptional clinical care happened on December 24th this past year. We had a patient who had a second trimester miscarriage. Deana took the time to wrap the fetus in a little blanket so mom could have a photo with the infant. She also made a list of funeral homes for the mom so she could arrange a funeral and burial when she went home. She also helped resuscitate the mom when she had a postpartum hemorrhage that required admission to hospital. She did all this while still keeping an eye on the rest of the department as the nurse in charge and providing continuous care to other patients. We believe Deana Shea-Haines is an exceptional nurse and a true hero to all of us. Her ded-

DEANA HAS PROVIDED CONTINUOUS AND COMPASSIONATE LEADERSHIP DURING WHAT HAS BEEN AN INCREDIBLY STRESSFUL PERIOD IN OUR DEPARTMENT AND COMMUNITY. Deana Shea Haines is a true nursing hero. Our emergency department started 2020 with a massive snowstorm that caused a week-long state of emergency in St. John’s, requiring assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces. The ER played an integral role in providing medical care to patients

ication to our emergency department has helped guide us through our darkest hours and we would love to honour her with this award. – Dr. Gillian Sheppard, Dr. Rebecca Bobby, Julie Bartlett RN, Dr. Margo Wilson, Dr. Emma McIlveen Brown and H Dr. Sarah Mathieson ■

You can become a

Podortho Nurse THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE AND NEED FOR FOOT CARE IN ONTARIO 9 Ontario’s population: 14,745,040 with a growing need for more qualified Regulated Health Care Providers to deliver medical foot and lower limb care in Ontario. Podortho Nurses ensure our active and ageing population remain mobile and healthy. 9 Chronic and complex care management is required by nurses who have the knowledge and skill set to deliver optimal advanced care in many health care settings. 9 More and more nurses are specializing in this field of care and more are needed.

Own your own practice as these nurses do! Who are Podortho Nurse’s? “Podortho ® Nurse’s are Registered Nurses (Registered Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner (s) who are regulated health care providers that specialize in the field of Advanced Medical Foot and Lower Limb Care. The primary objective of a Podortho ® Nurse is to optimize foot and lower limb health, improve client mobility and overall health related quality of life.

The Ontario Podortho Nursing Association provides members with access to continued education, resources, and advocates for their Podortho Nurse members to advance their career.

Advanced Nursing Foot and Lower Limb Care

Become a

Podortho® Nurse today Feet for Life School of Podortho® Nursing (FFLSPN) is an education facility in Ontario with six learning locations to choose from in Alexandria, Barrie, Burlington, Embrun, Ottawa, and Windsor. A portion of the program is completed online. Clinical and some theory is in person training.

9 Work for yourself 9 Set your own hours 9 Create a healthy work life balance 9 Own your own practice 9 Earn great income 9 Obtain Superior hands-on training and advanced clinical skills 9 Set you learning times 9 Complete training quickly to start earning great income 9 Work alongside experienced mentors who own their own clinics/practices For more information or how to register

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Catherine Duffin

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton ver the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Catherine Duffin has demonstrated dynamic leadership and unwavering commitment to the nursing profession to meet the needs of the hospital and its patients, her colleagues, and the community. At the onset of the pandemic, Catherine – a nurse of nearly 25 years – took the lead in establishing St. Joe’s COVID-19 screening protocols to curb risk of the virus’s transmission, and help keep patients, healthcare workers, and the community safe. With congregate settings in Hamilton, Ont., identified early in the pandemic as COVID-19 hotspots, Catherine played a pivotal role in supporting local long-term care and retirement homes respond to the global health crisis.


Catherine used her expertise to share infection and prevention control best practices, including the use of personal protective equipment, with staff in these facilities so they could safely

Helping our heroes care for Scarborough Scarborough Health Network (SHN) is at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario. Our Birchmount, Centenary and General hospitals continue to face among the highest volumes of cases in the province, with ICUs that are bursting at the seams and courageous frontline staff pushed to their limits. Despite these challenges, SHN’s response to the pandemic has been swift and effective - and this rests largely on the shoulders of our dedicated nurses, physicians, clinical staff and frontline workers as they deliver the best possible health care to the people and patients of Scarborough. Now, as we work to overcome the intense third wave and rollout COVID-19 vaccinations to our most vulnerable and hardest-hit communities across Scarborough, our sights are set squarely on our bright future. SHN Foundation remains committed to raising the support needed to ensure our hospitals can be as exceptional as the care they deliver and to provide our SHN staff with the necessary tools to perform at the highest levels today, tomorrow and every day. “Thank you to our donors and our community for standing alongside us during this challenging time and helping those who are working to keep Scarborough safe and healthy,” said Alicia Vandermeer, President & CEO, SHN Foundation. “No matter the size, every gift and offer of support for our hospitals is important and appreciated.”

Learn more at 46 HOSPITAL NEWS MAY 2021

care for residents while also protecting themselves against the virus. When the need for more boots on the ground presented itself, Catherine didn’t think twice about working on the front lines of care homes in COVID-19 outbreak, delivering care to residents in need. In so doing, she inspired others at St. Joe’s to raise their hand to provide care to some of the city’s most vulnerable populations.

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Catherine works diligently to keep her team informed on new policies and procedures to help them in their day-to-day duties, and makes herself available to answer questions, or to lend an empathetic ear, if needed. Whether it’s stepping in to help solve a problem or covering for a colleague who could use a break, Catherine looks for opportunities to relieve any pressures her team members might face. To help bolster their resiliency during the pandemic, she encourages team members to take time to reflect on how they are feeling at the end of each shift. With these debriefs, they are able to decompress before leaving work – to rest and recharge for a new day ahead. Caring for others has always come as second nature to Catherine, who aspired to be a nurse from a young age. She started her career in her teens as a healthcare assistant before

WHEN THE NEED FOR MORE BOOTS ON THE GROUND PRESENTED ITSELF, CATHERINE DIDN’T THINK TWICE ABOUT WORKING ON THE FRONT LINES OF CARE HOMES IN COVID-19 OUTBREAK. Catherine’s responsiveness to the challenges COVID-19 has posed, coupled with her ability to engage others, saw her take on a number of roles during the pandemic, including interim director of nursing practice for acute care, complex care, and rehabilitation, and interim director of the general internal medicine program and emergency services at St. Joe’s. Today, in her role as nurse manager on Clinical Teaching Unit West, St. Joe’s largest general internal medicine unit, Catherine is committed to supporting her team as they continue to navigate the pandemic while delivering quality care to patients.

earning a diploma in nursing, a bachelor of science in critical care nursing, and a master’s degree in nursing and education. Long before COVID-19, Catherine was reputed among her colleagues for her compassion and composure under challenging circumstances. During the pandemic, she courageously stepped up in times of crises, and never lost sight of St. Joe’s mission, vision and values. For these reasons, and more, St. Joe’s is grateful to Catherine for her contributions to the hospital and community as we continue to work togethH er to fight COVID-19. ■


Heather Dunlop-Witt

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton ince the start of the pandemic, Heather Dunlop-Witt has risen to the occasion of supporting the health and well-being of patients, her colleagues, and the community by taking on a number of diverse roles, including helping to shape COVID-19 recovery at a local vaccine clinic. Heather is a well-respected nurse educator in St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Mental Health and Addiction Services program who is consistently relied upon for her expertise and commitment to high-quality patient care. Over the course of the pandemic, Heather has demonstrated dynamic leadership along with the ability to adapt to the evolving needs, and challenges, the pandemic has posed for the healthcare system. In response to the pandemic, Heather has worked diligently to educate her co-workers in new and chang-


ing policies and procedures introduced to keep them, and their patients, safe during COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, she also helped with mask fit testing to ensure her colleagues were equipped with the right personal protective equipment to support their safety. Heather’s positive outlook makes her a regular sounding board for co-workers. With her eyes always smiling behind her mask, her colleagues feel at ease to talk to her about the pressures of the pandemic, how they are coping, and strategies to bolster their resiliency. During the second wave of the pandemic, Heather raised her hand to support congregate settings in crisis and in need of staff to care for residents. She was among a number of St. Joe’s staff who worked at a care home during a COVID-19 outbreak, where she helped assess residents, administered their medications, and provided frontline care.

thank you

to the courageous nurses and frontline workers at Scarborough Health Network (SHN) for keeping our patients and our community safe — today and every day.

Show your support @


Recently, Heather played a valuable role contributing to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and its delivery into the arms of people in our community. A departure from her regular nursing duties, she worked alongside pharmacy colleagues at a Hamilton, Ont., vaccine clinic to rapidly assemble and prepare vaccine injections to deliver to the community. All the while, through her affiliation with McMaster University’s nursing program, Heather continues to play an instrumental role in supporting the future of the nursing profession through tutoring nursing students as they begin their careers in health care. With her experience as an acute mental health nurse, Heather has the skills, strength and courage to respond

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to crises with empathy, compassion, active listening, and meaningful action. During the pandemic, she demonstrated these attributes a number of times by stepping up to take on the roles asked of her, while delivering upon St. Joe’s mission, vision and values. Thank you Heather for your unwavering commitment and contributions to St. Joe’s, and the broader community, as we continue to work together to H fight COVID-19. ■


Dorothy McKune Richmond Hospital, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority hen my mother had asked me if I was nervous about the delivery of my first baby, I said “No.” almost without hesitation. My mom was not able to come because of Covid, and she never thought I could face this on my own. It was not until later, I realized what I was dealing with. Being on my own in a foreign country, with my first baby and a husband that knows practically nothing about child birth. I thought I had to fight my own battle. Having mentally prepare myself for worst case and the possibility of being



scarred for life about child-birthing, Dorothy – my nursing hero stepped in and offered me the warmth that I never dreamt of having. She has changed what health care means to me and I am truly grateful she was there to share this precious experience with me.

Thank you Thank you. Two words that have never meant so much right now, and yet, still don’t feel like quite enough. On behalf of Ontarians everywhere, we the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WeRPN) want to take the opportunity to express our deepest gratitude for the sacrifice you’re making every day to keep us safe. You’re at the front lines of a fight against a global pandemic, and yet through it all, your hope, professionalism, and compassion inspires us. During this uncertain time, our healthcare system has been pushed to its limits and health professionals are working courageously despite tremendous sacrifice. We understand - now more than ever - the importance of connection and community. Together, we act as a strong voice for RPNs and champion innovative ideas so we can improve care for our patients, and better support our fellow health professionals. Today, more than 50,000 RPNs support patients in Ontario hospitals, public health units, in the community, long-term care facilities, schools, and private health providers. When any of those RPNs encounter barriers to patient care, they can count on our support. We are stronger together.

To learn more, please visit


The night my water broke, my husband had tried to convince me that I had soiled myself, which seemed to be possible, being in the last trimester of my pregnancy. After being admitted to the birth centre, I was having irregular contractions which had caused me pain like I have never experienced. I was in constant agony despite the help of laughing gas. Having trouble resting, I had to pace the room from dark to sunrise. Just when I thought things could not have gotten worse, laughing gas seemed to be wearing out on me. This is the moment an angel stormed in to rescue me – Dorothy. I was barely surviving when she came in to take my blood. Dorothy, who reminded me very much of my mom, was there to comfort me and hold my hand. It was heartening to know there is someone like Dorothy, who cares so much about patients and loves babies with such great passion. Every time I looked to her while groaning because of pain, I met with her concerning eyes. She put me on Morphine and told me to rest while she was sitting next to me, watching closely how I was doing. When that

much needed epidural was deep in my spine, she had my head rested in her chest and was constantly reassuring me everything will be ok, that moment I had realized I was never alone and fighting my own battle. Before I met her, I was never faithful enough to believe there will be someone who could provide more love than one’s own parents in these critical moments, but she has proved me wrong. After my baby was born, she had shown her abundant patience explaining to us new parents how to take care of a baby. Everything seemed so easy and effortless while she was near. All I could feel is a peace of mind knowing she would come into my room in the morning to check on us. Her selfless love and compassion has gotten me through my few nights spent in the hospital. Instead of calling it a painful life-transitioning experience, it was rather therapeutic and beautiful because of her care and unconditional love for patients. My few nights of hospital stay was more than beautiful and memorable, I had kept every note she gave me just so I could look back and indulge on the memory of her warmth and support. She has taught me the meaning of selfless care and embodies why healthcare workers are angels in disguise – to love and support those in need and never let them down. Nominated by Jiemei Wu, a grateful H patient ■

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We’re in this together. Together we have courage. Together we have hope. Together we are strong. Thank you to the more than 50,000 RPNs in Ontario keeping us safe every day.


Amanda Singh Mount Sinai Hospital W

hen a request to self-identify critical care nursing skills was sent to staff to help an intensive care unit under pressure, an exceptional nurse working in the Operational Readiness department more than answered the call. She volunteered to return to the front lines of the ICU. Amanda Singh was working in a planning role as Program Champion for the ICU when employees where asked to identify their clinical skills. COVID-19 continued to threaten ICUs province-wide, and in response, we were exploring alternate care models to meet expanding ICU needs. But having worked as a critical care nurse at Mount Sinai for seven years, Amanda recognized that her specialized nursing experience could be put to use immediately on the front lines. And so she went above and beyond identifying her skills. Amanda asked if she could help the patients on the unit, during the peak of the second wave. Her first day back saw her in the throes of the department, attending to a COVID-positive patient. It takes a tremendous toll to work in an ICU during the best of times. That she volunteered to do this during a pandemic, while continuing with operational planning responsibilities, is incredibly challenging. Yet Amanda saw this as an opportunity to help those with the greatest need, and as a way to support her colleagues and community in the most direct way possible. To her, it was simply the right thing to do. Now, she continues to perform “double-duty” – balancing the needs of the ICU, Operational Readiness and her young family – and plans to do so until the end of June. Amanda, true to her vocation, exemplifies selflessness, compassion and caring. Daily, we are inspired by her generosity and leadership, and her dedication to her patients and profession. On behalf of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Renew Sinai redevelopment 50 HOSPITAL NEWS MAY 2021

team, and with tremendous pride, we are delighted to nominate Amanda Singh for the Nursing Hero Award. Sincerely, Tanya McDonald, Director, Operational Readiness & Transition

Planning, Renew Sinai, Mount Sinai Hospital Additional Endorsements: All of the work Amanda does is definitely with her heart. She is always

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thinking about how others will feel, what would benefit them and how a change may effect someone. You can see this in everything she does. Amanda always takes a step back and

NURSING HERO CONTEST 2021 thinks about people – the patient, her colleagues and staff. Many forget how important this is, and the impact that it has. When planning for the new ICU, with every detail, change and move, you will hear her ask, “how will this affect the patient?” and “does this make sense for staff and patient safety?” Amanda is someone who cares very deeply about the people around her and no matter how busy she may be she will always make that clear. If I see her in the hallway she will ask if I need help, always without fail and makes sure I know that she is there if I ever needed anything. With her busy schedule she decided to help her ICU team and patients during this pandemic because she cares and because everything she does is 100% with her heart. I am honoured to work with such an amazing person and I definitely learn from her daily. Her strength and support through this time is unmatched and truly beautiful. Renée Matrundola, Training & Orientation Lead – Operational Readiness, Renew Sinai Amanda Singh is an outstanding nurse. Her leadership impact is visible in Critical Care surge planning. She

ALL OF THE WORK AMANDA DOES IS DEFINITELY WITH HER HEART. SHE IS ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT HOW OTHERS WILL FEEL, WHAT WOULD BENEFIT THEM AND HOW A CHANGE MAY EFFECT SOMEONE. led the work to re-purpose the 16th floor of Mount Sinai Hospital as an ICU surge space. Amanda has supported initiatives beyond Renew Sinai as she’s been working clinically in the ICU as a staff nurse as well as supporting Renew Sinai ICU redevelopment. Carolyn Farquharson, Senior Clinical Program Director (interim) Urgent & Critical Care Director of Patient Flow & Admitting Amanda’s dedication, care, and passions shows through in the work she does. While assisting with future planning of new equipment for the ICU, she was also simultaneously working on the front line during the COVID pandemic helping patients who need care the most. We are so fortunate to have her time and knowledge as our resource on this project and look for-

ward to making the new ICU space an ideal place for patient recovery. Victoria Young, Manager, Equipment & Furniture, Renew Sinai A true collaborator with endless energy and dedication. Amanda is lovely to work with. She is so devoted to what she does and was instrumental not only in supporting the ICU redevelopment project but in taking on huge responsibility to help prepare additional ICU space to address COVID needs. Alice Geertsen, Project Manager, Operational Readiness, Renew Sinai Amanda has amazing dedication to healthcare and is willing to do whatever is needed to get the job done and improve patient outcomes. She has been a tremendous lead for setting up surge ICU spaces to service COVID patient needs. She is wonderful to

work with, very collaborative and responsive. Suzanne Wyman, Project Manager – Transition Planning and Move Coordination, RPO/Operational Readiness, Renew Sinai I have worked with Amanda side by side since she joined the ICU nine years ago. We have both served in the Unit Council in which Amanda was Wonderful Secretary. Amanda has been instrumental in initiatives such as the Social Committee where she organized outings for ICU inter-professionals to promote work and life balance and collaboration. She is very professional and a strong advocate for patients and her colleagues. She is always present and makes herself available for help and support in addition of her planning for ICU surge areas. I remember during the first and second wave of COVID-19 Amanda was always around offering support by assisting during a code when we needed more hands or with words of encouragement during the difficult moments post code blue. Amanda is a kind and compassionate person. Catherine EtaNdu, Peri-operative Educator, OperaH tional Readiness, Renew Sinai ■


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Krista Walsh

Eastern Health (NFLD) et me introduce you to our “Hero” Krista Walsh. Krista is a Registered Nurse, Infection Prevention and Control, at the Burin Peninsula Health Care Center (BPHCC), Burin Newfoundland and Labrador. If Covid-19 has taught us any lessons, it is to be more aware of infection prevention and how to look after ourselves and our families. 2020 and 2021 have shown us the value of washing our hands, covering our faces, and sanitizing everything! To be the face of this messaging every day for over a year takes fortitude! It is not easy to be a nurse in this pandemic, let alone be the sole Infection Prevention and Control Nurse in a rural region of Newfoundland. Krista has shown strong leadership, and at times certainly sacrificed her health and well being for our patients and staff in the region.


I remember the first time I heard the word Covid-19, it seemed so far removed from our little neck of the woods. I watched from afar never thinking it would grow to where it is today. As our Health Authority began to educate us on this disease and how to prevent transmission, what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to wear, Krista became the face of Covid for all our sites. Through countless presentations and coaching sessions, she dedicated herself to ensuring all of us, would be ready should it come knocking on the door. Then, in true pandemic fashion, Covid not only knocked, it “kicked in the door”! Surprising us a little, taking us all off guard, we then did the only thing we knew how, we marched straight into

The Nurse

By Roopdai Mohotoo and Nita Marcus

Florence Nightingale, the lady with the lamp, Mother Theresa in the refugee camp, Caring, compassionate, gentle and kind, A more noble profession, one could not find. The nurse is the doctor's eyes and ears, Records any changes, allays patient fears, Monitors rhythms, takes vital signs Administers drugs, sets up IV lines. The nurse is highly trained in her skills, To assist in the healing of wounds and ills, In the OR, wards or critical care, Her presence unnoticed because she is always there. With devotion and pride, she nobly serves, Though pressures, demands, may fray her nerves The nurse lowly paid, in gold is her worth, For she's truly god's angel sent down to earth 52 HOSPITAL NEWS MAY 2021

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battle. When the world was asking people to stay home, stores were closing and people were sent home to work, where was Krista? Not only is she in the battle, she was the Sergeant, instilling confidence, and relieving fears. “We got this” is her theme, and as true soldiers, we all followed her lead, stood with her and began fighting this war as a team. Krista was part of the team who developed our swabbing centre, she led the group in helping select the safest location, and guided our construction team through the set up, and then, without skipping a beat ensured our nurses were ready to begin the testing! There were endless hours worked every day, there was never a day off, Krista was on the ground running and fielding calls even when at home! Her ability to juggle the many balls that were in the air, showed us her willingness to put her patients and her colleague’s safety above her own. She was part of our local leadership huddles daily and ensured all our managers had the most up to date in-

formation, and answered all their questions like a pro. She is our modern-day Florence Nightingale, making sure we follow policy, ensuring we have clean pathways, and coaches staff on how to safely remove their PPE to make sure they do not contaminate themselves or their peers. She spends time in all our nursing units and provides support to our nurses and physicians day and night! While she did not need to be at our site all those long hours, she stayed, she was present, she is a true leader. There are many lessons learned in crisis, we become increasingly aware of our own fears, and we get to see how we and others around us respond when things become intense. Covid has taught us, that we are rich in our little rural hospital, we have a strong team, we have staff who are dedicated and who will run into battle with us, and we have Krista, our risk taking, courageous, trailblazing, respected, real life “hero” who is more deserving of this nomination that my pen can really capture. – Leslie Ann Rowsell RN BScN, ActH ing – Senior Site Manager ■


Thank you to the 4,387 Nurses at Trillium Health Partners for your unwavering commitment to providing exceptional care for the patients, their families and the community we serve. Your ongoing support and partnership in providing safe, compassionate and high-quality care through the COVID-19 pandemic and always, makes us better every day.



Edith Cloutier The Ottawa Hospital would like to recognize the dedication and commitment to nursing of this amazing nurse, who goes above and beyond every day. As the Covid virus started to hit the various hospital units, virtual care was suggested to provide diabetes education to admitted patients and families. While the concept has proven to be effective with many patient populations, Edith felt that these patients required hands on education. Diabetes management requires the nurses to show and demonstrate various tools and ensure patients have understood the recommendations and


are ready for discharge. Edith stayed calm and followed as best as she could, given the fast-changing PPE directives, and met with patients at the bedside for education. Family members are important team members and as they were not allowed on units, Edith had to be creative to provide teaching in a different way, especially when there was a language barrier and a phone discussion was not an effective option. In the early days of the pandemic, virtual tools were still being developed, so Edith ended up meeting many family members either at the cafeteria, the front door of the hospital, and

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THANK YOU Humber River Hospital would like to thank all of our resilient, dedicated and compassionate nurses who have touched the lives of so many during the COVID-19 pandemic.


EDITH HAD TO BE CREATIVE TO PROVIDE TEACHING IN A DIFFERENT WAY, ESPECIALLY WHEN THERE WAS A LANGUAGE BARRIER AND A PHONE DISCUSSION WAS NOT AN EFFECTIVE OPTION. even outside for some that were not feeling safe coming in the building. These uncommon teaching areas are located further away from the units and therefore took extra time out of her schedule. Hospital stays were shorter, and communication was more challenging during these extremely stressful times. She always ensured patients and families had the right information and supplies to start managing diabetes at home. Edith didn’t have time to look at her watch, she hardly sat down for lunch, she went home when she felt patients and families had received the right education and were ready to move forward. When asked why she was working late so often, her answer was always, “because it is the right thing to do for patients”.

Now, over one year into this Covid new way of living and providing nursing care, Edith continues her daily dedicated work and commitment to patients and families without asking anything in return. She seems to find a reasonable balance between her personal health, work and time off and now has access to virtual care platforms to help her provide the care and education needed to patients and families. As a colleague and manager, I wish to recognize Edith’s work. I admire her devotion and compassion to nursing and patient care, and the quality of her work. Annie Garon-Mailer, Advanced Practice Nurse, Endocrinology, The Ottawa H Hospital. ■

THANK YOU National Nursing Week gives us the opportunity to express our gratitude towards all of the hard-working nurses at Humber River Hospital. This week, we celebrate their contributions to patient care and their dedication to the health of our community. On behalf of Humber River Hospital, we would like to extend a whole-hearted thank you to all of our compassionate, determined, and professional team of nurses. The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for our hospital, our country, and the world. We acknowledge the role you have played in helping Humber River Hospital and how you have provided light to many during these dark times. You have all demonstrated patience and resilience throughout the pandemic, and our community is truly appreciative of your past, present and future efforts. Thank you once again to our talented nurses; we sincerely appreciate your contributions.


New action plan for cancer surgery will address inequities in access and improve survival Dr. Christian Finley urgery is often the best treatment for cancer, but access to it varies across Canada – and correspondingly so do cancer survival rates. These disparities are why the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer brought together 11 surgical associations to develop the Pan-Canadian Action Plan for cancer surgery. The goal of the group – known collectively as the Canadian Network of Surgical Associations for Cancer Care (CANSACC) – is to ensure quality surgical oncology care is available to everyone, regardless of geography or income. The COVID-19 pandemic has put great strain on the healthcare system. This is why, more than ever, we need healthcare providers and organizations working together to break down barriers and ensure equitable access to high-calibre surgical care. Across the healthcare system, we all have a role to play. The Pan-Canadian Action Plan for cancer surgery points the way. The plan has its roots in the Partnership’s 2015 report, Approaches to high-risk, resource intensive cancer surgical care, which found tremendous variances across Canada in resection rates, in-hospital mortality


and length of stay for high-risk cancer surgical patients. It also stems from the 2019-2029 Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, a 10-year roadmap to improve outcomes and equity in the Canadian cancer system. The action plan outlines the actions Canada’s health system stakeholders must take to reduce wait times, improve rates of curative surgery, and provide the best possible outcomes for patients post-operatively. The plan’s key priorities include: • Deliver high-quality surgical oncology care; • Eliminate barriers to surgical cancer care for vulnerable and underserviced populations; • Establish pan-Canadian benchmarking and data-driven quality improvement to cancer surgeries; • Integrate surgical care and medical services to improve outcomes; and • Support research and innovation in surgical cancer care.


There is much to be done. One of the most urgent priorities is the need to provide respectful, responsive, timely, and culturally appropriate surgical

care to underserviced and vulnerable populations. In part, this will require funding and support for approaches to speed up the diagnostic phase. The sooner a patient is diagnosed and treated, the greater their chances of survival and the lower their stress. Early diagnosis is also an important part of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, and initiatives are already underway in many provinces that have decreased wait times and improved access to care. We must ensure this level of rapid diagnosis is available everywhere. Also crucial is making better data available to stakeholders in all regions of the country. Pan-Canadian, integrated, systematic benchmarking would allow for data-driven quality improvement across cancer surgeries. The action plan offers guidance on steps to build such a system over the long term. In the meantime, we need to make use of all the data we do have. Institutions should be able to access timely data to compare their performance and outcomes with their peers and cultivate a culture of continuous learning. This can help to inspire improvement, which in turn will help all patients to thrive.

Integration of surgical cancer care and medical services is vital, too. For instance, home care should be coordinated with surgeons and hospitals to provide 24-hour on-call services to help reduce emergency and hospital re-admissions. In addition, given the central role primary care physicians play in managing comorbid conditions and treating psycho-social symptoms, which are common among cancer patients, we need to do a better job of collaboration between surgical, cancer and primary care. The entire healthcare system is under tremendous pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we must continue to work together to improve access to cancer surgery. The Pan-Canadian Action Plan for cancer surgery will help us to do that, collaborating, removing barriers, and sharing data and best practices to ensure more equitable access to potentially life-saving surgical cancer care for all. To find out more about the Pan-Canadian Action Plan for cancer surgery and the role you can play, please visit our website: Action plan to optimize cancer surgery in Canada – Canadian H Partnership Against Cancer. ■

Dr. Christian Finley is a thoracic surgeon at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Hamilton, Ontario and Expert Lead, Clinical Measures, at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. 56 HOSPITAL NEWS MAY 2021


Fostering wellness in an integrated health-care system By Cameron Love he wellbeing of our staff has always been a priority, but over the past 15 months, its importance has become even more abundantly clear. As we meet the third and largest wave of the pandemic, we must ask our teams to rally again and push through seemingly insurmountable challenges. People across the health-care system are experiencing extreme levels of stress, anxiety and exhaustion due to the relentless personal and professional demands posed by the pandemic. Burnout risk is high, especially in the health-care field where people are so passionate about their work and so committed to providing exceptional patient care. What we value most about them – putting others first – puts even the most resilient health-care worker at greater risk of falling victim to these chronic stressors. This is why the future of world-class care within an integrated health system needs a values-based, data-driven, systematic wellness strategy for its people, with rapid and flexible implementation processes in place to protect and promote the wellbeing of our workforce. Providing resources and programs that promote both physical and psychological wellbeing will lead to a better staff experience, better patient outcomes, and a stronger healthcare system overall. Part of the challenge is that wellness is a two-way street. Hospitals can point staff to all the resources in the world, but staff need to be willing and able to use them. As leaders, we need to promote a physically and psychologically safe workplace and tear down systemic barriers that prevent our staff from reaching optimal wellbeing. We can do so on two fronts: by managing on-the-ground issues that affect wellness such as staffing levels, work-


loads, and effective conflict resolution strategies, and by fostering a well and inclusive culture in which people feel comfortable being themselves. What does this look like at The Ottawa Hospital? Our wellness strategy focuses on three pillars: healthy body and mind, healthy workplace and healthy culture. Intricately intertwined amongst these pillars is the hospital’s equity, diversity and inclusion strategy. At the most foundational level, our values underpin our wellness strategy. Compassion, in particular, informs how our leaders interact with their team and support them through challenges. As those challenges arise,

we ask our leaders to support each individual as though they were a loved one, just as we ask individuals to treat each of their patients. A strong governance structure also bolsters our wellness strategy, whereby a dyad of executive sponsors and senior leaders collaborate on a corporate wellness strategy for physicians, resident physicians and staff, representing the full range of medical departments and service lines. Outcome accountability lies with this team. Committees were created as advisory boards which also support the feedback loop – implementation of specific initiatives and communications back to the people they represent.

With values and governance supporting the “why” and “how,” data inform the “what.” Our quarterly wellness pulse survey to a random selection of staff and all physicians, which started two years ago, has provided us with invaluable information on various wellness markers. Data can be segmented as needed, including by role, for unique insights that can lead to targeted wellness initiatives. During the pandemic, we have compared current results to baseline data to identify trends and make real-time interventions. Success of any wellness initiative also hinges on its integration into the organizational culture. When staff wellness is engrained into the culture of an organization and supported by senior leadership and middle management, staff feel safe, supported and respected. When a crisis hits, teams already know where to turn to help them weather the storm and feel confident in accessing the support. Our Just Culture is a major factor in creating the circumstances for widespread uptake of a wellness strategy. In a just culture, staff feel safe to speak up when they need help or have made a mistake, which reinforces our continuous improvement mindset. Many challenges lay ahead with respect to the pandemic, and we must remain focused on crafting timely, relevant and data-driven wellness strategies to support our staff during this challenging time. But we must also plan wellness in the health-care system of the future because our health system itself depends on it. When we create the systemic conditions for sustainable wellness, our health-care system remains strong because our people feel safe and free to apply their skills, increase their knowledge and pursue excellence. And excellence is exactly what our H patients deserve. ■

Cameron Love is the President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital.



Lessening Loneliness:

Technologies that might help address the negative effects of social isolation for older adults By Barbara Greenwood Dufour healthy social life is an important factor in healthy aging. However, older adults can be at a higher risk of becoming socially isolated compared with the general population. There’s been recent interest in whether technology could help prevent older people from becoming isolated. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified that interest. At the beginning of the pandemic, social activities and visits from loved ones at long-term care facilities were suspended. These restrictions have since been eased but, at that time, they were thought to be having dramatic adverse effects on residents’ psychological well-being. In fact, previous research has already found an association between social isolation


and anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline. CADTH’s Horizon Scanning Service scanned various health information sources for promising new technologies that might alleviate the loneliness of long-term care residents. CADTH is an independent agency that finds, assesses, and summarizes the research on drugs, medical devices, tests, and procedures. CADTH identified several commercially available technologies, or ones that will be available soon, marketed as ways to address loneliness in older adults. These technologies provide a sense of companionship, facilitate social connections, or support social engagement. Note that many of these technologies haven’t yet been assessed in published studies.


Pets can be excellent companions. It’s not surprising, then, that robot pets are being marketed as companions for older adults who are no longer able to care for a real one. These furry, animatronic pets respond to their owners’ voice and touch. There’s a tablet-based interface, geared mainly to individuals with dementia, that builds on the pet concept – it features an animated, talking pet that’s operated 24 hours a day by people trained to provide care and companionship. Social robots are another new option. These robots are equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) software that allows them to adapt their responses based on the behaviour of the person in their company. They engage

and interact with individuals under their care and monitor their well-being. Some of them sit on a tabletop, while others walk or roll on the floor. There’s even one in the form of an animatronic baby harp seal, intended for people living with dementia.


Other technologies can help older adults stay socially connected with friends and family. Some are in the form of easy-to-use tablet or smartphone interfaces that can be used not only for phone calls, video chats, texting, and email but also for building photo albums, playing games, or attending events virtually with others. Telepresence robots take social connectedness to another level. These robots have a screen that allows for video calls much like the tablet or

What is Home Care?

Home care is about trust. It is feeling comfortable with a provider ĐŽŵŝŶŐ ŝŶƚŽ LJŽƵƌ ŚŽŵĞ ĂŶĚ͕ ƉŽƐƐŝďůLJ͕ ĂƐƐŝƐƟŶŐ LJŽƵ ǁŝƚŚ ƚŚĞ ŵŽƐƚ ŝŶƟŵĂƚĞ ĐĂƌĞ͘ Bayshore’s home care services are extensive and varied, depending on your needs. They ƌĂŶŐĞ ĨƌŽŵ ŵĞĂů ƉƌĞƉĂƌĂƟŽŶ͕ ŵĞĚŝĐĂƟŽŶ ƌĞŵŝŶĚĞƌƐ͕ ĐŽŵƉĂŶŝŽŶƐŚŝƉ Žƌ ĂƐƐŝƐƟŶŐ ǁŝƚŚ errands to nursing, respite care, wound care, ƐĞƌŝŽƵƐ ŝŶũƵƌLJ ĐĂƌĞ͕ Žƌ ƉĂůůŝĂƟǀĞ ĐĂƌĞ͘

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LONG-TERM CARE NEWS smartphone apps do, but the robots can be controlled by the person calling in. This allows a family member, friend, or health care provider to drive the robot and use it to interact with the older person remotely.


Participation in social activities helps us feel connected to our community. Some technologies offer new ways to socialize in long-term care or in any congregate residential care setting. For example, video console-based games that sense a player’s movement and translate it into action on a screen (such as Wii games) can be used for exercise and rehabilitation as well as for entertainment. They can be used as a small group activity or one-on-one with a health care provider. Virtual reality (VR) systems are another option. VR technology can take seniors on virtual travels and can also be used to provide reminiscence therapy for dementia – this is when a trained assistant guides a patient to

places they’ve previously lived or visited while inviting them to talk about the memories associated with those places. Some VR systems are also connected to a stationary exercise bike so that users can get physical exercise while they experience virtual bike trip.


The technologies identified by CADTH’s Horizon Scan are meant to be a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, social engagement. In-person contact and care from family, friends, and health care workers remain very important to the health and well-being of older people. As well, some older people are uncomfortable using digital technologies or find them alienating. As these technologies are new or have only recently been used to address loneliness in older adults, it’s unclear how effective they are for this purpose. Given the heightened awareness of the negative effects of social

isolation in this population, however, interest in this type of innovation is likely to continue. The full list of technologies that may address social isolation in older adults is freely available on the CADTH website – To learn more about our Horizon Scanning pro-

gram, visit, or to suggest a new or emerging health technology for CADTH to review, email us at HorizonScanning@cadth. ca. You can also follow us on Twitter @CADTH_ACMTS or speak to a Liaison Officer in your region: H Liaison-Officers. ■

Barbara Greenwood Dufour is a knowledge mobilization officer at CADTH.

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It’s time long-term care welcomed back essential care partners By Jennifer Zelmer and Lisa Poole here have been two overlapping tragedies that have befallen long-term care homes in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. First, the unimaginable death toll itself from COVID-19. Long-term care and retirement home residents accounted for eight in 10 COVID-19 related deaths in Canada as of October 2020 – and they continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic. Second, blanket visitor restrictions, which were designed to prevent the transmission of the virus, led to significant unintended distress for many residents, staff, families and friends. Essential care partners – which may include family or friends – were often not permitted on site when residents needed them the most. Today, some essential care partners may still be denied entry, even as other


long-term care facilities begin to loosen restrictions. But recent experience has highlighted that essential care partners are not just visitors – they never were. They are critical members of the care team and their inclusion in long-term care settings is vital to the well-being of residents and staff. It’s time for safe re-entry. Essential care partners are people who provide physical, psychological and emotional support, as deemed important by the long-term care resident. This can include support in decision making, care coordination, and continuity of care (for example, support for minor medical procedures, feeding, ambulation, cognitive stimulation, patient hygiene, medication adherence). Essential care partners offer comfort, compassion and joy to residents, they combat loneliness and can be the eyes, ears and voice of some of the

most medically vulnerable residents. There is limited evidence about essential care partners, when properly supported, transmitting COVID-19 in long-term care homes, but we do know that resident isolation can result in increased depression and anxiety and an overall decline in mental health. Residents living with dementia may also show an increase in symptoms. There is clear evidence that the presence of essential care partners benefits patient safety, patient experience, patient outcomes and patient care. The absence of essential care partners to support and assist in resident care has also contributed to staff stress and burnout. In some cases, it has been reported that staff cannot consistently provide the level of person-centred care necessary for resident well-being in the absence of essential care part-

ners. This has led to moral distress amongst staff. Safely welcoming essential care partners back into long-term care facilities is important across the country. They can be trained to use personal protective equipment (PPE), educated in infection prevention and control, and vaccinated. And they should be provided the appropriate tools and resources for re-entry in ways that recognize and support the important roles they play in improving quality of life. That’s why we created a resource at Healthcare Excellence Canada to help essential care partners safely re-enter long-term care homes during COVID-19. The resource was co-created by essential care partners, for essential care partners. It provides practical information so essential care partners can navigate the current state of longH term care during the pandemic. ■

Jennifer Zelmer is President and CEO of Healthcare Excellence Canada and Lisa Poole is an essential care partner, Co-Chair of Dementia Advocacy Canada.

Are you or a loved one in need of Palliative Care support or resources? The palliative care journey shouldn’t be a lonely one. VHA is committed to being with you every step of the way, providing compassionate, professional care. Our palliative care resources help clients and families make informed choices to remain at home for as long as they choose and avoid unplanned admissions to hospital.

Visit to learn more.


Care that never compromises safety. Put the well-being of residents first with TELUS Smart Building – Care Management. This innovative service allows suites to be monitored for irregular activity levels, and for instant notifications to be sent to staff and even family members. And if a resident ever needs assistance, help is only a tap away. Connecting to care has never been simpler.


Virtual simulations to help staff and physicians provide safer care By Erinor Jacob-Levine ince the beginning of the pandemic, the team at London Health Sciences Centre’s (LHSC) Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics (CSTAR) has been working with different areas throughout the hospital to improve safety and processes through providing simulations. With the second wave of COVID-19, outbreaks and subsequent staff and physician cohorting across the organization, CSTAR created an innovative virtual platform to provide training simulations which will launch later this spring.


Running through a situation before it happens in a simulation enables physicians and staff to learn how to perform and improve in a safe environment. CSTAR staff work with clinical subject matter experts to develop the simulations which are either run in the units or held in CSTAR at University Hospital. Simulations can be focused on process improvement, testing the environment, enhancing clinical skills, crisis management and teamwork. The pandemic has provided the team an opportunity to innovate by trying to provide training online. While there are several products available to purchase, they did not fully meet CSTAR’s requirements.

“We decided to devise our own system to meet our clients’ needs,” explains Scott Sumpter, CSTAR simulation technology consultant. The platform CSTAR created enables real-time two-way communications, which allows numerous remote participants from different locations to be actively engaged in the session. Multiple camera angles provide remote participants with different views. Since January, the CSTAR team has been developing and finalizing the virtual simulations. This has come with some challenges including lag time in the technology when sharing the videos, images and health readouts. “We’re very excited that we’ve been

able to achieve under one second lag time. Remote participants can be actively engaged throughout the simulation when the results change because of the tactics and procedures used. The new information is streamed in real time to the remote participants,” explains Sumpter. CSTAR has been engaging different units and departments throughout the hospital to trial the virtual simulation and explore how it can provide benefit. They have been obtaining feedback to ensure the new system meets the needs of the learners, staff and physicians. For Dr. Rob Leeper, a trauma surgeon and intensive care physician,

Adaptable and interactive tool for COVID-19 healthcare planning he COVID-19 pandemic has put an unprecedented strain on health care systems across the country. To support health system planners with their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) developed the first version of its COVID-19 Health System Capacity Planning Tool. The Tool covers the major aspects of COVID-19 health capacity planning in one model, from projecting epidemic trajectories to hospital bed supply to demand for personal protective equipment and staffing. It can be used by health system planners to: • Explore how public policy interventions affect the epidemic trajectory and demands on the healthcare system; • Examine the impact of recent changes such as vaccination rollouts on the number of infected individuals and health system utilization; and • Create and compare local scenarios We developed the Tool for users with different levels of knowledge. It is implemented in Microsoft Excel in both English and French, and contains modifiable and user-friendly features. The Tool is based on an underlying mathematical model and relies on in-


put values obtained from the literature or from publicly available data, including clinical administrative health data housed at CIHI. It contains over 40 customizable inputs and outputs information in tabular and graphical form. Planners can input local information including COVID-19 case counts, population size, implementation dates of public health measures and policies, clinical information, and healthcare supply information. Once this information has been entered, the Tool will output the number of new daily COVID-19 cases, the number of individuals requiring treatment in critical care and non–critical care beds with or without a ventilator, and the demand for health care resources and personal

protective equipment required to treat these individuals. By adjusting different inputs using local data, planners can create and compare different “what if” scenarios of viral transmission and examine the projected case counts and downstream healthcare resource demand. For example, planners could explore the potential impact of lifting certain public health measures or imposing new ones on future case counts and hospitalizations. The recently added vaccination component also allows the effects of potential vaccination strategies on viral transmission to be explored. We consider the Tool to be one component of a planner’s toolbox for making decisions related to

COVID-19. Used alongside other models and information (e.g., financial, ethical, etc.) it can aid planners when weighing decisions related to COVID-19. We have shared the Tool with over 75 organizations across all provinces and territories including federal and provincial public health agencies and health ministries, public health units, academics, and hospitals. The Tool has been used for updates to executive teams and government officials, validation of projections produced by other models, and within local dashboards for operational planning. Toronto Public Health and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador used the Tool for public releases to communicate the importance of public health measures in curbing viral transmission. We periodically update the Tool based on user feedback and changes in the pandemic and continue to support client requests including helping organizations adapt the Tool to their specific needs. For more information visit https:// To obtain the Tool, please email H ■

This article was submitted by the Analytic Techniques and Tools Branch, Canadian Institute for Health Information 62 HOSPITAL NEWS MAY 2021

CAREERS The team at LHSC’s CSTAR facility test the new virtual simulation technology they are developing

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who has collaborated with CSTAR on many simulations, “I was quite skeptical about the experience early on. However, on the day that we actually ran our virtual simulation I was a bit blown away by how smooth and seamless it actually was. It really was quite immersive and felt to me, and to the participants who we interviewed afterwards, like I was really right there. I was really impressed.”

Dr. Leeper, CSTAR and other physicians consulted foresee the potential of the new virtual simulations as providing opportunities to engage remote, regional, national and international partners. For now, the CSTAR team remains focused on using the technology internally for simulations during COVID-19 that enable LHSC staff and physicians to provide safe care and H a safe environment. ■

Erinor Jacob-Levine works in communications at London Health Sciences Centre.


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