Honouring a lasting legacy

When Sister Pat McKeon read the nominations of this year’s Sisters of St. Joseph Awards for Excellence recipients, she felt “awe and gratitude.”

“They are honoured not for the position they occupy but for the way they occupy that position,” Sister Pat told the packed Parkwood Hospital Auditorium during the awards ceremony on March 19. “They make St. Joseph’s and the world a better place. They inspire me to try harder, resolve to do better, to live up to the values they exemplify.”

Heady words from the very group the awards honour. Established by St. Joseph’s Health Care London in 1990, the awards honour staff, physicians and volunteers who share the remarkable attributes of the Sisters of St. Joseph - excellence, positive attitude, reliability, honesty, efficiency, creativity, respect, caring, compassion, empathy and appreciation for the work of others.

Watch the award ceremony:

“Regardless of the great changes we have experienced over the years, of new directions we now travel, and of horizons we have set our sights on, the example of the Sisters will always act as our guide and be a part of who we are,” said Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, St. Joseph’s president and CEO.  

This year, there were five recipients of the Sisters of St. Joseph Awards. Recipient Becky Moran called the award “the highest honour.” 

“I will never win with an Olympic gold medal, an Oscar, or a Nobel prize, but I won this,” said Becky, an occupational therapist who shared the credit with her outpatient acquired brain injury (ABI) rehabilitation team. 

Becky was nominated by colleagues for going the extra mile for both patients and team members. For one patient who was a nursing mom, Becky had staff bring in a play pen, toys, blankets and turned a quiet room into a baby nursery. The development of the ABI 101 Steps to Success program, BrainEx90, and the Parkwood Pacing Points Program are among Becky’s many accomplishments.

Executive assistant Joanna Teixeira was called a “connector” by colleagues because she continually looks for ways to build relationships and pride in St. Joseph’s. She is also known as a calm, “silent soldier”, solid in her ability to handle complicated situations in a compassionate way. This quality stood out as Joanna managed a colleague’s sudden illness at work. She later learned all she could about the symptoms should another episode occur. Joanna is equally dependable in her work with a knack for managing multiple priorities and juggling impossible schedules to ensure the needs of administration are met – efficiently, seamlessly and courteously.

In the Caring Hands Gift Shop, 15-year volunteer Linn Loftus has created a vibrant shopping mecca that attracts neighours as well staff, patients and visitors. With its unique items and friendly atmosphere, it’s a delightful refuge away from the hustle, bustle and realities of the hospital. An-always colourful Linn is the best example of customer service. One customer who bought a pink stool for her granddaughter needed a blue one for her grandson. When Linn couldn’t find one she painted a pink one blue, added Spiderman and from its webbed wrists painted the grandsons name on it.  

Linn’s passion for St. Joseph’s, creative marketing and buying has seen profits at the shop jump annually. The shop has raised about half of a $300,000 goal for the Breast Care Program. 

Primary care partner Sheryl Toy is also known for her special touch. In a special care unit at Mount Hope, she finds ways to diffuse difficult situations calmly, with tremendous skill, patience, compassion and understanding. She has an innate ability to distract and ease the fears of residents with challenging behaviours by engaging them in meaningful activity, exuding kindness through words, and taking on tasks that comfort them. One night, a woman would not settle until she was sure things were clean. Sheryl, asked her for help folding towels. This shifted the resident’s mood, kept her calm and prevented others from being disturbed. It was a good night for all.

Sheryl is also a standout as a team player, always taking on extra duties to lighten the load of others.

At the Roth | MacFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre (HULC), registered nurse Lorna Macaulay ensures the extremely busy clinic is run like a well-oiled machine.  Despite often unexpected and additional work, she coaches staff to peform their duties with a smile and positive attitude, and leads by example. 

Due to complex nature of their conditions, many patients need home care, outpatient physiotherapy or convalescent care. Lorna is a tireless advocate for her patients, communicating with outside agencies and institutions. She is also passionate about patient safety, takes on initiatives to improve care, and is an inspiring teacher. She organizes a monthly introduction for all new trainees explaining how HULC runs and the values aspired to. When problems arise, Lorna is there, whether it’s a patient at their wits end, staff struggling with volumes, or schedules that need rearranging to accommodate patients and physicians. 

Hired by St. Joseph’s as new graduate 40 years ago, Lorna, in accepting her reward, said “from the beginning, I knew I had become part of something very very special.”

To be nominated is an honour

Those considered for the Sisters of St. Joseph Awards are nominated by their colleagues.

In addition to the five recipients, this year’s nominees were: 

  • Bill Barnier, RN, Southwest Centre
  • Norma McIntyre Fogarty, PCP, St. Mary's 5, Mount Hope
  • Florence Cummings, PCP, St. Mary's 5, Mount Hope
  • Donna Morrison, PCP, St. Mary's 3, Mount Hope
  • Christine Zanutto, RN, Operating Room, St. Joseph's Hospital
  • Dr. Anat Kornecki, radiologist, St. Joseph's Hospital
  • Mariola Gnatek, lab technician, Pre-Surgical Screening, St. Joseph's
  • Amanda Thibeault, Director, Nursing Professional Practice 
  • Helen Sadiku, PCP, St. Mary's 1 Mount Hope
  • Randa Venesoen, team assistant, Corporate Professional Practice Leadership and Student Affairs
  • Michelle Flewin and Ella Navarro (team), dietary aides, Food and Nutrition Services, Mount Hope
  • Jim Nicholson, voice data technician, St. Joseph's Hospital

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