Registered nurse Danielle Lyle, (L), and Pam Hubley, UHN'​s Chief Nursing Executive, seen here on the Cancer Clinical Research Unit at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, recently sat down to discuss the future of nursing at UHN. (Photo: UHN)

Nurses are at the heart of all we do, so UHN is building a future that nurses want to be part of. Creating a dynamic new UHN Nursing Strategy is central to this goal, and TeamUHN nurses are invited to play a key role in its development by taking part in virtual planning sessions underway now, and running through mid-April.

To discuss nursing and the development of a vision reflecting its future at UHN, Danielle Lyle, an early-career registered nurse who works in Clinical Trials on the Cancer Clinical Research Unit at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, sat down with Pam Hubley, UHN's new Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive.

Q: (Danielle): What is your hope and vision for the future of nursing at UHN?

(Pam): That is a big question. Honestly, my main goal is for UHN to become a beacon for all nurses who want to have a dynamic, meaningful career. I hope we can continue to create a healthy and healing workplace that inspires hope and meaning; a place for nurses to be leaders who use evidence-informed practices with creativity and innovation, advance new practices with emerging information and technologies; and a place where we are in full partnership with patients.

I envision us as contributing members of a team, but more notably, as contributing to the holistic needs of patients and families in ways that meet their needs. I believe we have to restore and rebuild our pride and identity in nursing; to refresh our capacity to deliver on the promise of nursing. I believe we have to reenergize the environment to foster wellness and create the conditions that enable nurses to thrive. Those are important priorities for me.

As the largest academic health sciences centre in Canada, there is so much opportunity for an exciting nursing career here. There are so many brilliant people – practitioners who are also scholars and mentors – who inspire us every day. Together, we can enable nurses to push boundaries, be champions of change, and to lead and develop the next generation of providers. That's pretty awesome!

Q: We've had so much change with the COVID-19 pandemic and the launch of UHN's new health information system from Epic. How can we reinvigorate this renewed passion for nursing and make nurses feel proud of their profession after these things have exacerbated burnout?

I don't think we have to look very far to see amazing examples of nurses who are making a difference. I believe we need to offer resources and ensure we have infrastructures that support nurses to learn, grow and develop their careers in ways that they are interested in, and in ways that provide career opportunities. We need to pay attention to wellness – at the individual and unit levels, at the program and organizational levels, and within the context of society. Issues of burnout and belonging are critical right now. Finding ways to rethink how we work and redesign our environments to enable nurses to bring their best selves to work every day is critical.

Q: I'm so glad you emphasized wellness. How do you think this strategy will influence the organization as a whole?

Strategy always helps to set direction and set priorities. We can achieve a lot together when we're working towards the same goals. So the strategy will help position us to come together, hopefully in some new and different ways, to align our goals and achieve the things in nursing we want to see more of; things we want to see done differently. I am optimistic we are moving into a generative time for nursing, a time to rebuild and reset so nurses thrive.

Emerging from the pandemic, nurses are exhausted and we are facing many staffing needs; however we can't get stuck here. The strategy will be key to lifting up and shining the light on nursing. We are going to work in partnership with colleagues across different programs and services. I'm going to work very closely with our Foundations to seek opportunities where donors will be inspired by the work of nursing to invest and help us build up the resources and the infrastructure UHN needs to be the very best place to be a nurse in Canada, if not the world.

Q: I like the world. We should aim for the world! One of the biggest things over the past year is that so many nurses said they want the opportunity to be heard. How can they take part in planning this strategy?

We absolutely want a whole range of nurses to share their voice and ideas by speaking out and telling us what is important to them and what their preferred future looks like. I'm really excited that we're going to launch the strategy during Nursing Week in May. So, right away we will get into the tactics and initiatives that the strategy will outline for us. We want nurses to see their ideas integrated into a collective, co-created cohesive roadmap for nursing. Now, we're doing the hard work of interviewing many people across the organization.

Q: What is the best way for TeamUHN nurses to sign up and get involved today?

There are two ways nurses can share their voice and shape the new UHN Nursing Strategy.

They can complete an anonymous UHN Nursing Strategy Point of Care Survey.

Or, they can sign up for one of the focus groups running until April 11.

They can email with any questions.

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