There were nine nominees for the 2018 Sisters of St. Joseph Awards of Excellence and three recipients.
And, the awards go to:
- two partners from Security Services – Stephanie De Sario and Yasir Khan – who go to great lengths to keep staff, patients and visitors safe
- the Regional Geriatric Program outreach team whose care and compassion for frail elderly patients in the community knows no bounds, and
- the skilled and compassionate Interventional Radiology team that is known for treating each patient as they would their own family member.
As recipients of the 2018 Sisters of St. Joseph Awards for Excellence, these individuals have much in common. Established 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.
To date, there have been a total of 170 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.
With a knack for jumping into all kinds of scenarios to restore calm and lend a hand, security guards Stephanie and Yasir are a reassuring presence at St. Joseph’s. Whether spending hours in frigid temperatures without coats to comfort others during an emergency situation, searching through trash to help a patient find a precious ring, or helping an elderly woman find her car in the parking garage, their professionalism and compassion far exceeds their job description.
Based at St. Joseph’s Hospital, as Security partners Stephanie and Yasir respond to a wide range of emergency situations, and always go the extra mile. From helping to mop floors following a recent flood at Mount Hope so residents could quickly return to their rooms, to finding a sharps container to properly dispose of knives found in the garbage, the pair never hesitates to work closely with other departments to ensure the best outcomes. Credit also goes to Stephanie and Yasir for the emergency stickers on hospital phones that remind staff and visitors how to access emergency services.
Renowned for their calm presence during emergencies, Stephanie and Yasir quickly put those affected at ease. Despite the stressful nature of their work, the pair is always smiling, offering visitors a big hello and assistance when needed.
“Work and life can be stressful at times, but Stephanie and Yasir are always there to brighten our days and remind us of how fortunate we all are,” say colleagues.
Team members: Brett Elliot, former program secretary; Sheri-lynn Kane, geriatrician; Mary Anne McCallum, occupational therapist; Marketa Myatt, physiotherapist; Susan Silcox, social worker; Christine Sleegers, nurse clinician; Jennifer Whitlock, nurse clinician, Helena Usher, registered practical nurse.
Fierce advocates for frail elderly patients with complex needs, the Regional Geriatric Program (RGP) outreach team uses their skills, connections, compassion and empathy to tirelessly care for these patients in our community.
Dedication and determination are the hallmarks of the RGP team. Take the case of a patient who would not allow anyone into her home. A registered nurse with the RGP gently and consistently reached out to the patient, brought her meal supplements and personal care products, and was eventually given access to her home. Quickly realizing the patient was in dire need of hospital care, she even accompanied the patient to the hospital to alleviate her fears.
The RGP team highly respects one another’s skills and strengths. In one case, upon hearing that there was a patient at risk, the RGP physician quickly put a referral in place and an RGP nurse clinician literally dropped what she was doing to go to the patient’s home. This quick action averted discomfort, delirium and an unnecessary emergency room visit for this patient.
Through their home assessments, the RGP team often catches health problems before they materialize into something more serious. Noting a patient was at risk of falling because of a significant decrease in her mobility and weight-bearing, the RGP team arranged for transport to hospital for x-rays via stretcher, and stayed with the spouse and patient during the procedure to ensure all went smoothly.
To schedule RGP home visits after regular hours so family members or other care providers can be present, the RGP team often uses their personal time to accommodate these visits.
The team has strong, collaborative relationships with other geriatric services and community partners. A colleague with the Regional Psychogeriatric Program said, “This team’s ability to recognize and act quickly to meet the complex needs of frail older adults living with mental health challenges is extraordinary.”
Team members: Radiologists Dr. Greg Garvin, Dr. Roman Kozak, and Dr. Stefan Potoczny; registered nurses Elaine Arts-Boyd, Shana Edwards and Emma McCartney; and registered technologists Jane Buckingham, Dave Gaskin, Karen McIntosh and Tony Wales.
A typical day in interventional radiology includes intensive procedures such as biopsies, central line insertions, angiograms and joint injections. With professionalism and dedication, the team often juggles their personal commitments to work late so that they can tend to urgent cases, which can be lifesaving for patients in serious crisis.
The Interventional Radiology team has the respect of their colleagues. Many procedure requests come from the London Regional Cancer Program for portacath – insertions for patients recently diagnosed with cancer who require IV chemotherapy. To help alleviate the stress of living with cancer, the team coordinates appointments, provides warm blankets, works with patients to determine the right amount of sedation, and keeps up friendly conversation during procedures. The patients find that time flies as they forget, for a brief moment, that they are battling cancer. If all of these comfort measures are still not enough, the staff will hold their hands and dry their tears to show their patients they are not alone.
Using humour, music and storytelling, the Interventional Radiology Team alleviates patients’ stress and listens to their concerns. For one patient, they selected a song just for him; he remembered that special touch years later when he returned for another procedure. Another time, a radiologist sang a patient a song to see if she recognized it when she was being sedated.
Aside from the excellent physical care, it is the emotional care that patients receive in Interventional Radiology that they remember the most. Their mantra is: A patient might not remember all the things we do for them, and they might not remember what we say to them, but they will always remember how we made them feel.
Honouring the nominees
Those considered for the Sisters of St. Joseph Awards are nominated by their colleagues. In addition to the four recipients, this year’s nominees include:
- Cheryl Borrows, RPN, Hand and Upper Limb Centre, St. Joseph’s Hospital
- Krista Lake, Child and Youth Worker, Coordinated Access Team, Parkwood Institute Mental Health Care Building
- Dr. Rookaya Mather, Ophthalmology, Ivey Eye Centre, St. Joseph’s Hospital
- Martha Scott, OT, Community Stroke Rehabilitation Team, Parkwood Institute Main Building
- Carolina Silveira, Research Coordinator, Cognitive Clinical Trials, Parkwood Institute Main Building
- Kathy Sumnall, Social Worker, Assessment Program, Parkwood Institute Mental Health Care Building