Meet Denise Taylor, Otolaryngology Nurse, Head and Neck Surgery

What do you know about the people you pass in the hall or see in the cafeteria every day? What do they do at St. Joseph’s? Here we will introduce you to a member of the St. Joseph’s family, recognizing their contribution to respect, excellence and compassion.


As a nurse in St. Joseph’s Otolaryngology Head and Neck Clinic, Denise assists a team of specialists who perform various types of surgeries on the head and neck region. Conditions treated by otolaryngologists are wide-ranging and include tonsil infection, sinus and breathing problems, nasal congestion, deviated nasal septum, growths or tumors, skin cancer, thyroid nodules as well as many others.

Denise ensures all patients are well informed about the aftercare they will receive and answers any questions they may have related to their surgery. She also ensures each otolaryngologist has the proper medical equipment and tools set up prior to each procedure and assists the surgeons as needed.

Typical day

A typical day for Denise varies from week to week. While the majority of patients are scheduled for their surgeries, some patients are transferred from St. Joseph’s Urgent Care Centre and must be treated immediately. Each specialist within the clinic has procedure days when the surgery takes place and clinic days where follow up or consultations with a patient occur. “I do a lot of hand holding on procedure days,” says Denise. “Needles in sensitive areas like the nose can be a bit stressful and it’s my job to put them at ease and assist them with their aftercare. It’s extremely rewarding to be part of their journey and to hear someone say that they can suddenly breathe properly again in the first time in years because of a procedure that was performed by our otolaryngologists.”

Personal touch

Denise also helps staff and physicians become more comfortable around another type of needle – the flu shot. For seven years, she has worked with St. Joseph’s Infection Prevention and Control Team as a Peer Vaccinator and administers the influenza vaccine during flu season. During flu clinics, which are happening across St. Joseph’s this month, Denise provides staff and physicians with their annual flu shot. She also “roams” clinical and program areas as part of Infection Control’s roaming flu clinics to administer the vaccine right at the individual’s workspace. 

“Roaming clinics are great for nurses, physicians and other clinical areas who might find it harder to step away from direct patient care,” says Denise. “Coordinators in other program areas can also contact us to arrange a specific time to come when service levels and staffing adjustments can be better accommodated so staff can get their flu shots.”

Denise admits that after seven years as a Peer Vaccinator, her passion for getting the flu shot and speaking up about the importance of it has strengthened immensely.

 “I have learned that it’s really not about me or whether I get sick often or not,” says Denise. “It’s about protecting the elderly patients that come into our clinic that may be more vulnerable to the flu. It’s about my young son who might have flu related complications by getting the flu because of his age. It’s all about the patients and the people that we care for – I get it for them.

Just for fun

In her spare time, Denise enjoys taking walks and hikes with her family. She stays active by playing softball and has even been known to take up a little competitive dodge ball.

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