During National Nursing Week, St. Joseph's celebrates the more than 1400 nurses providing quality-focused, compassionate care across all of our sites and programs. Now, more than ever, the contributions of our nurses, and all direct care providers are deserving of recognition.
The World Health Organization has designated 2020 as ‘the year of the nurse and midwife’ in honour of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, the found of modern nursing- an appropriate designation due to the unprecedented times we are facing.
We acknowledge our nurses’ commitments to continuous learning and applying that learning to practice, as well as their ongoing dedication to support the next generation of nurses. For the skills and qualities, they bring directly to our organization every day, we are grateful and thank our nurses for their efforts to earn the complete confidence of those we serve.
In recognition of Nursing Week and the Year of the Nurse, nurses working in various roles across St. Joseph’s have shared their passion for the nursing profession. Read their reflections below:
Patrick Pennacchietti, registered practical nurse
Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care Assessment Unit
What advice might you offer to nurses just starting their career?
I would remind them that they have chosen a career in which they can truly make a difference in someone’s life. For some patients, a hospital stay can be a scary and traumatic time in their lives and it is our job to ease this discomfort to the best of our ability. It is important to truly listen to the patient and show empathy toward their current circumstances. It is also important to lead by example and provide the best care possible, because that care and compassion will be noticed by others. A positive attitude is contagious and you could be the person who makes a difference in the care being provided by others. Finally, always remember that when work gets you stressed, that this too will pass. Take a deep breath and remember why you started.
Steven Macgregor, registered nurse
St. Joseph's Hospital, Heart Failure Clinic
What drew you to your role in cardiac care?
Because I’ve been fortunate to have a wide variety of nursing experiences over the past 24 years, cardiac care was not foreign to me. St. Joseph’s Heart Failure Clinic was a new and unique opportunity that sparked my curiosity and at the same time, humbled my outlook on health care. Having an opportunity to blaze new trails in the nursing field was extremely appealing and is concurrently challenging. Over the years we have expanded our team dramatically. I’ve been so lucky to meet and work with many people who are very passionate about our vision. I feel extremely proud of what our team at St. Joseph’s represents and I hope to continue to serve our patients to the best of my abilities.
Rob Mackenzie, nurse practitioner
Parkwood Institute, Specialized Geriatric Services
What inspired you to become a nurse practitioner?
From the beginning of my career, I was motivated to take nursing as far as I could in the clinical domain. I had been working for approximately 10 years as a registered nurse when I learned about the advanced practice nursing role, which provided the opportunity to work closely with patients and families, complete in-depth health assessments and contribute to therapeutic treatment plans. I was looking to pursue a Master’s degree in nursing, when the nurse practitioner (NP) program was re-launched by the provincial government. My Master’s, alongside the NP certification, complemented each other quite nicely, and allowed me to take my nursing skills to a higher level that would benefit my patients in a substantial way. Shortly thereafter, I was fortunate that an NP position was created in our Geriatric Rehabilitation Program (the first inpatient NP position at Parkwood Institute), where I continue to work to this day.
Mirella O’Neil, registered practical nurse
Steele Street Rehabilitation Residence
What do you find the most rewarding about working with patients during their transition to the community?
My nursing career began in 1985, on the Adolescent Unit of the London Psychiatric Hospital. Today, I have the opportunity to support mental health care clients as they re-integrate back into the community. Looking back on my experiences, I feel my role in supporting patients is effective, practical and truly makes a difference. I find great satisfaction in watching my clients' lives improve significantly. Some days may be challenging, but our team is committed to supporting our clients against all odds and there will always be a reward in seeing clients succeed in the face of the struggles they encounter. Mental health care nursing is a profession where one person can have a profound effect on another’s life; that is how I view my career today, and how I have looked at every shift for 35 years.
Anna Kras Dupuis, clinical nurse specialist
Parkwood Institute, Rehabilitation Program
What has been the highlight of your nursing career?
My entire 35 year nursing career has been a highlight! From sharpening my bedside skills in acute neurosciences when I was working at University Hospital, to developing as an educator at Fanshawe College, to seizing the opportunity of blending these skills in the Rehabilitation Program at Parkwood Institute, it has been a remarkable journey of positive professional growth. In the last 14 years I have led and supported practice change and integration as well as facilitated staff education and research. Fostering the culture of ongoing improvement and leveraging the collective wisdom of health care teams have been my aspirations. Along my journey I have worked with many remarkable, committed individuals with special talents, innovative ideas and true compassion. The numerous highlights for me have been the changes put in practice by the care teams. I have felt pride, a sense of reward and ultimate joy being part of the process and witnessing the impact these changes have made on patients’ lives. I am privileged to have had these tremendous opportunities to share my nursing career with others and in making a difference together.