A beaming smile and jovial manner remain her trademarks even as she enters the 31st year working in the place where her healthcare career began.
Sue DeVries, Nurse Practitioner, Vascular Surgery at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC), was recently celebrated for her three-decades-long service at Toronto General Hospital and PMCC.
"Over the decades of her career, what stands out is her passion for patients and quality patient care," says Jeanne Elgie-Watson, Nurse Manager, Vascular/Cardiovascular Surgical Inpatient Unit at PMCC. "Sue uses the latest research to provide the best care possible to patients and is tireless in her efforts to ensure that patients receive outstanding care.
"She is a role model of the highest order, working endless hours to advance nursing knowledge about vascular nursing care."
Nurse practitioners (NP's) have been part of the fabric of Canada's healthcare system for some five decades – authorized to undertake a host of tasks including prescribing the vast majority of medications, ordering diagnostic imaging and laboratory tests, and in a select few provinces including Ontario, NP's are able to admit and treat patients in hospital.
"Sue is an outstanding Nurse Practitioner who touches the lives of all she cares for. She is one of the kindest souls I know and has an infectious laugh that always seems to make everything better," says Linda Belford, Practice Leader for NPs at PMCC, and one of DeVries' colleagues.
Proudly displaying the commemorative 30-year pin she received from Dr. Peter Pisters, President and CEO, University Health Network, during the recent milestone ceremony, DeVries harkens back to some of the highlights of three decades at UHN.
How does it feel to have worked at the same institution for 30 years?
Awesome! TGH has been wonderful for many years. I have had so many opportunities for learning and for continuing my education.
What is the biggest change you've seen during your time here?
I started September 9, 1984. In 1984, the health care team smoked in the hospital if you can imagine – at the nursing station. I was also here for the start of computers and was tasked with teaching staff how to use EPR. Our first nursing assessment online took some of us four hours to complete.
What departments have you worked in?
I have worked in Hematology; neurology; cardiovascular surgery ward/step down unit; Surgical South ICU – which became Medical-Surgical Intensive Care Unit (MSICU); Educator/Coordinator Vascular Surgery; Preadmission as a manager; Clinic Nurse/Clinical Nurse Specialist; and now, Vascular Surgery as a Nurse Practitioner.
Do you have one favourite memory from your 30-year career at UHN?
Doing vital sign rounds with my colleagues and hamming it up for the patients. The old blood pressure cuffs stood up on wheels. One of us would stand on the blood pressure cuff, stand with a silly pose, and we would go from room to room and do a little dance and cheer up the patients while caring for them and checking their vital signs.
What has kept you here so long?
I never thought of leaving. I have thoroughly enjoyed the team I work with and the friends I have made over the years. I have really enjoyed my clinical work with patients and hoping that my care made each day better for them. Every day I walk in to the hospital, I greet and am greeted with a friendly smile from someone I know.
Any final thoughts?
A thank you to all my friends and colleagues who have made this such a great place for all these years.