Melanie Vicente and Tyler Glass
Longtime nurses Melanie Vicente and Tyler Glass will lead an initiative which wants to hear from nurses across UHN about their work and the challenges they face, with a goal of improving the practice. (Photo: UHN)

It takes a special person to be a nurse – someone who thrives by caring for others in their time of need.

Dedicated. Trusted. Compassionate.

These days, at UHN – and hospitals everywhere – they are also overworked, stressed, defeated.

With an understanding that nurses are a precious resource at the heart of UHN, a new initiative led by Collaborative Academic Practice (CAP) and People & Culture wants to hear from nurses across the organization about their work and the challenges they face, with a goal of improving the practice.

Led by two longtime nurses – Melanie Vicente and Tyler Glass – and supported by UHN leadership, it will begin with a series of several dozen confidential focus groups over the next couple of months. Participants are being asked how to make UHN a place where nurses want to work and what it will take for them to love their job again.

"I have a huge interest in nursing and UHN. It's what I dedicated my life to," says Melanie, who first joined UHN as a volunteer in 1999, worked at Toronto Western Hospital (TWH) as a ward clerk during nursing school and has been on staff in various departments since 2003 at TWH and Toronto General Hospital, until being seconded to CAP for this project.

"For me, this is about making UHN a better place for nurses."

Sessions beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 22

It's a sentiment echoed by Tyler, a nurse since the late 1990s – the past decade at UHN – in a variety of clinical settings as well as leadership and management. He's now Talent Lead within People & Culture.

"Nurses don't see their work as a job, it's a vocation, a fulfillment of a life-long dream," says Tyler, who is working on his PhD in Nursing through Queen's University. "But we're having a hard time keeping them because we're struggling to create the environment they believed they were joining.

"We come from nursing. We know their voices. We just want to provide a platform so they can share ideas on how we can make it better."

While People & Culture has started with hearing from UHN nurses on how to create an environment where TeamUHN can flourish, it is expected that this program will be expanded to other areas in UHN later this year.

To sign up, please visit the Nurse Engagement site, or email engagement@uhn.ca to learn more and register for one of the sessions.

Speak up and have your say! Hope to see you there!

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