Celebrating National Nursing Week 2022: SHN Nurses Who “Answer the Call’

Nursing Week is an opportunity to showcase the diverse skills, specialized knowledge and clinical acumen of nurses who work in varied positions across the profession. At Scarborough Health Network (SHN), one of the goals of Nursing Week is to highlight the important role nurses play in the health and wellbeing of patients, families and the public. These stories offer a glimpse into the varied skills and contributions of a few nurses who have truly risen to “Answer the Call” during the pandemic.

Hannah Kwok
RN, Critical Care

Hannah had a patient during the first wave of COVID who was terminally ill. His last wish was to be legally married to his common law partner. Unfortunately, he was on isolation precautions and was not able to receive any visitors at the time. Given his condition, Dr. Howard Clasky spoke to the manager and initiated a virtual wedding ceremony for them. SHN’s spiritual care team arranged for a priest to officiate the marriage, while the common law watched outside of the room on Zoom. Hannah signed as a witness after the short ceremony. Although it was a stressful 12 hours communicating between the patient, family member, spiritual care, priest, etc. (while keeping the patient alive!), Hannah says it was the most special and satisfying moment in her nursing career.

Judy To
RN, Surgery and Ambulatory Care

Judy is a Urology Resource Nurse who has always has made herself open to new projects, whether she was asked to be involved or take the lead. She is very positive and takes on new challenges eagerly and without hesitation.

Lisa Ryan
RN, Acute BSO

Lisa courageously accepted a position as a new Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) RN in the hospital, just as the pandemic was unfolding. With an unmatched strength and resilience, Lisa displayed dedication in managing and learning through COVID-19 practices. By going unit-to-unit, she raises awareness of the BSO role, and her commitment to strategies that promote meaningful nurse-patient interactions. She is creative in her adaptation of tools to ensure patients in isolation are provided with equal opportunity to participate in activities. Lisa welcome the opportunity to assist our patients in transitioning to our new off-site facility and in easing their adjustment to a new area, in a larger-than-usual volume, to a newly relocated team. She was often called upon to review patients’ documentation, meet with teams and create meaningful care plans specific for the new SHN environment.

Judith Elson
Patient Care Coordinator, Internal Medicine

Back in January, SHN was selected to provide regional therapeutic treatment to COVID-19 outpatients. The team hit the ground running and opened the clinic as soon as drug supply arrived. They have not stopped since, providing access to treatments to patients across the community, seven days week. As the lead nurse, Judith has gone above and beyond to support not only the needs of the clinic, but of the patients. The clinic has been well-received by the community, helping sick individuals to avoid serious illness and hospitalization as a result of COVID-19. Judith’s thorough, sensitive and compassionate approach has helped provide individual care options for many, including a new mother who needed support to accommodate her baby’s nursing schedule.

More about SHN nurses

Meredith headed into work early during the January 2022 snowstorm, and even began picking up staff who were stuck in the snow, providing rides to those stranded using her own vehicle. Through her dedication and courage, Meredith’s actions ensured that SHN’s Transitional Care Unit was staffed as much as possible.

As an experienced ICU nurse, Gisha brings a positive spirit and light to our vulnerable patients. Her unwavering dedication to delivering compassionate and high-quality patient care is evident in her daily interactions with her colleagues, patients, and their families Gisha is an essential and much-loved member of the team.

Described as compassionate, articulate and a fundamental member of the Mental Health team, Christine is a constant support for her patients, playing an integral and therapeutic role when it comes to interacting with them in the most challenging situations.

Alexis is newer to the world of critical care, but is taking it on with great strides! Her upbeat attitude and willingness to learn allows her to connect with patients and their families in a vibrant way, all while ensuring they receive the best possible care.

A leader in her own right, Sunita first expressed an interest as an RN in SHN’s Transitional Care Unit (TCU). Her call to action is a terrific example of the courage, leading an otherwise new and unknown environment. She is thorough, compassionate and willing to learn each day, always improving her skills as an RN and team member at TCU. In addition, despite her lengthily commute, Sunita travelled into work through the historic January snowfall, relieving coworkers and ensuring staff continued to provide exceptional care through challenging circumstances.

Eager and ready to leap into an exciting new environment, Rincy expressed interest in joining the team at SHN’s Transitional Care Unit. In addition to her work ethic, Rincy is an amazing example of compassion, living SHN’s core values each day. She has provided critical and essential care to many of our patients, including those requiring dedicated support at the height of transition. Rincy ensures successful strategies were embedded in the care plan, and continues to look “outside of the box” to motivate and sustain a meaningful routine for her patients.

Self-described as “at home with patient care,” Julie brings a loving touch to our Transitional Care Unit (TCU). With over 20 years of experience, her commitment to provide a compassionate experience is well-noted by the regular feedback received from her patients and grateful families. Julie is a true partner to all her team members. She promotes a collaborative approach to care, and continues to prioritize the importance of medical touch in patient interactions during her shift activity. In addition, Julie provided her clinical insight into the design of TCU McNicoll.

An exceptional resource and friend, Annette is scheduled to retire this month. She was instrumental in creating the role of Acute Behavioural Supports Ontario RN in partnership with the Central East Local Health Integration Network: a new opportunity to partner with a community of care practices, patients and families to create individualized care plans that are written in a person-centered language. Through assisted care plan design, aligned with isolation practice, Annette helped increased patient acuity and facilitated new provider partnerships. Annette’s “can do” attitude, partnered with her welcoming “let’s do it together” inclusivity, are incredible. She leads with kindness, thoughtfulness and most importantly, her passionate heart.

Through incredible dedication and selflessness, Kelsey and Joey undoubtedly answered the call during the historic snowstorm of January 2022. They working 22 hours straight “overnight and into the day” to support impacted staff with a busy, high acuity department. Through incredible teamwork, Kelsey and Joey came together to meet the patient needs with minimal resources.

With a deep desire to protect her community, including our most vulnerable, Kirsty became a frontline nurse practitioner without hesitation. After COVAX training, she was able to help vaccinate oncology pediatric patients and their families. These pediatric nurses are true examples of selflessness, and have gone above and beyond their scheduled shifts to provide essential and critical services to our community including volunteering to visit nursing homes to collect COVID-19 test swabs and administer vaccines.

Sandra, Priya, and Rhonda continue to provide exceptional patient care throughout our community.

Christine is creative and adaptive, taking a fun approach to virtual learning. Despite having to switch prenatal class content and teach last-minute virtual sessions families, she has brought light and laughter. With her trusty cat sidekick, Christine continues to bring her best self and educational classes to patients and families of SHN.

As the Patient Care Coordinator and Vascular Resource Nurse, Sandra has demonstrated her commitment to providing the best for our patients. She is compassionate, dedicated, and exemplifies all of SHN’s values.

Shannon is a vital part of the Patient Care team, who have looked out for one another as well as helped out on other units when staffing demands were high. This included floating to the other medicine units to help out, which continues today!Beverly, Cathy, and Tricia have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to support SHN patients and our capacity demands. Their work, both within SHN and with external hospital partners, ensured timely coordination for patient transfers.

Dominic and Kamilah have proved they are ready to answer the call, despite what it entails. Redeployed to other areas of the hospitals, both RNs showed they are not only the upmost professionals but displayed grace and understanding throughout.

As we kick off the 202nd year of National Nursing Week (May 9-15), SHN would like to acknowledge all of our dedicated and compassionate nurses who continuously provide personal and compassionate care to our most vulnerable populations.