There were seven nominees for the 2019 Sisters of St. Joseph Awards of Excellence and four recipients.
A physician, registered practical nurse, dietary aide, and an occupational therapist – very different roles, each working at a different St. Joseph’s site. Yet the ties that bind are many.
This year’s outstanding recipients (pictured above with the exception of Dr. Mather who was absent) of the Sisters of St. Joseph Awards for Excellence have much in common – a remarkable ability to connect with colleagues, patients and residents, a guiding belief in the power of respect and compassion, and a tireless commitment to excellence in all its forms. The 2019 recipients are:
- Dr. Rookaya Mather, ophthalmologist, Ivey Eye Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital
- Martha Scott, occupational therapist, Community Stroke Rehabilitation Team, Parkwood Institute Main Building
- Corinne Wilson, registered practical nurse, Assessment Program, Parkwood Institute Mental Health Care Building
- Marie Carroll, dietary aide, Food and Nutrition Services, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care
Established in 1990, the Sisters 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.
To date, there have been a total of 174 individual and team recipients – and hundreds of nominations. Individuals and teams are nominated by their colleagues, who have described each nominee’s acts of support, collaboration, caring and innovation. Without knowing anyone’s identity, an awards selection committee comprised of representatives from across the organization selects the recipients. To be nominated and to be a recipient is a distinguished honour.
Considered a role model by colleagues throughout her 39-year career as a registered practical nurse, a vivacious Corinne has been an inspiration in her ability to lead with empathy and create a place of calm and hope for mental health care patients. With an innate ability to engage patients in activity and bring them out of their comfort zone, she allows patients to see what they can do.
“She reduces patients’ frustration by listening to their words and body language,” say co-workers. “She helps everyone find autonomy safely.”
One patient recalls a time of deep depression when Corinne brought her a poem about hope. “She read it to me and made me see that I wasn’t alone.”
When work is stressful and overwhelming, Corinne reminds those she works with why they became health care professionals and the difference they can make in the lives of others by making them feel safe. Patients are acutely aware of Corinne’s honesty and empathy in the care she provides and will seek her out.
“They may not remember you by name,” a colleague remembers Corinne telling her as a student, “but they will remember the way you made them feel.”
Arriving with a smile each day, Corinne “leaves her presence of kindness at the end of the day,” say colleagues. “Her smile and laughter empowers the entire unit to be their best each day.”
Dr. Rookaya Mather
A fierce advocate for those in her care, an attentive Dr. Mather looks after much more than her patients’ vision needs. Determined not to let barriers stand in the way of care, she maximizes and leverages resources such as pharmaceutical support programs or alternative treatments for patients experiencing financial hardship. She will exhaust every option to mitigate a crisis and seamlessly links patients to support they need for overall physical and mental well-being.
“She is a shining example and a bright light for her patients who often see their world from a place of darkness,” say colleagues.
Dr. Mather values the spirit of every person. Her non-judgmental attitude encourages questions from patients and puts them at ease when feeling anxious and overwhelmed. She is known to bring together family members and community organizations so that all parties can maximize a wrap-around approach for her patient. She is a change agent who thinks outside the box.
For more than 15 years, the ophthalmologist has been a tireless leader in advancing cornea care, collaborating with the multi-disciplinary team to enhance care and service. Her human spirit, wisdom and positive attitude towards staff and colleagues “creates an environment of irrefutable care and nurturance – qualities that are not tangible but felt from within,” say co-workers. “Dr. Mather is a true gem within the walls of St. Joseph’s.”
Radiating a positive energy, Martha exemplifies a belief that “respect is love in action and compassion an action with no boundaries,” say colleagues. “She lives every aspect of a deeply held belief that the purpose of life is to compassionately serve others.”
Through curiosity, ingenuity, persistence and patience, Martha demonstrates that excellence in occupational therapy is the gradual result of always striving to do better. She will tirelessly brainstorm with the team to revise and re-tailor treatment plans for complex patients, and has led her team to rehabilitation outcomes not possible without her buoyant optimism. Boldly, she encourages colleagues to seek the new and undiscovered, and challenges herself to serve her patients fully, creatively and in a way that recognizes the differences and dignity of each person.
For one patient, Martha's determination and advocacy efforts empowered this individual to be able to remain safe and independent in their own home, while also enabling them to continue to participate actively in their child’s own health journey. Through the creation of an unprecedented care plan, Martha transformed a family’s life
With an eye to detail and a focus on excellence and efficiency, a knowledgeable Marie is everywhere helping to make operations run smoother for everyone. A forward thinker who anticipates where she can best assist, a cheerful Marie goes above and beyond in her dietary aid role to ensure the team is successful and helps peers build excellence into their own daily work. Staff have commented that Marie “knows what I need before I do.”
For new staff, Marie remembers what it’s like to be a newcomer and takes the time to help them feel at home and provide support. With a passion for food quality, she also has the residents’ satisfaction at heart, working with supervisors on recipe development and speaking up to ensure residents’ best interests are central in all decisions.
Marie devotes countless hours as the lead of the team’s social committee, managing every detail to ensure the committee generates fun and a sense a community among staff through special events and in of support local charities. Every holiday is a little more festive for the team thanks to Marie.
A recent retiree was inspired to create a special “award” in honour of Marie for workplace excellence and ‘Being a Good Person and Stuff.” Peter Tangredi created the award because he said people like Marie made him want to be a better employee. The team has since decided to have an annual recipient.
To be nominated is an honour
Those considered for the Sisters of St. Joseph Awards are nominated by their colleagues. In addition to the four recipients, this year’s nominees were:
- Lisa Guitare, administrative assistant, Treatment and Rehabilitation Program, Parkwood Institute Mental Health Care Building
- Calla Mahon, registered cardiology technologist, Cardiovascular Investigation Unit, St. Joseph’s Hospital
- Debbie Marshall, Coordinator, Medicine Services, St. Joseph’s Hospital