​Humboldt Bronco inspires national organ donation event

Heather Lannon posing beside poster
Heather Lannon, Living Donation Outreach Coordinator with the UHN Centre for Living Organ Donation, at the event in Ottawa. (Photo: Courtesy Heather Lannon)

It was little more than one year ago on a Saskatchewan highway that the Humbolt Broncos hockey team was in a devastating bus crash, which left 16 dead and another 13 injured.

Logan Boulet was one of those who died in the crash. Prior to his death, Logan told his family he wanted to be an organ donor in memory of his coach, Ric Suggit. Logan's gift saved six lives. After the crash, more than 100,000 Canadians registered to become organ donors, resulting in the Logan Boulet Effect.

Earlier this month, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) hosted an event at Parliament Hill to launch the first National Green Shirt Day, which honours Logan's memory. In attendance were Members of Parliament, community leaders, living donors, transplant recipients and families from across the country, as well as Heather Lannon, Living Donation Outreach Coordinator with the UHN Centre for Living Organ Donation.

Green Shirt Day, to be held on April 7 every year, was created through a partnership between CBS, Canadian Transplant Association, Global TV and Logan's family. His parents – Toby and Bernie, have become champions for organ donation and delivered a heartfelt message to all at the event in Ottawa.

"I would do anything, anything to change what happened on that Saskatchewan highway on April 6, 2018," Bernie Boulet said. "All we needed was a few precious seconds. Unfortunately, we can't go back.

"We can't change the events of that day.  However, as we know, we can change the outlook, the health and the lives for so many people waiting for an organ transplant. Be inspired by Logan, be inspired by Ric, be inspired by so many other angels and living donors and thousands and thousands of Canadians.

"Register, and most importantly, talk to your family. Have that conversation."

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre celebrates National Oncology Nursing Day

Onc Nursing Day group
Some of the winners and nominees at the 10th Annual Oncology Nursing Day Awards Ceremony at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, (L to R): Susan Lee, Cora Lewis, Brenda Lively, Katie Kim, Graham Dozois, Amy Cadena, Christine Puskar and Pamela Savage, Director of Professional Practice. (Photo: UHN)

Every day across Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, oncology nurses are ensuring excellence in clinical practice, developing resources and providing patient education, applying and conducting research, as well as supporting learning and growth of interprofessional students and staff members.

Earlier this month, the 10th Annual Oncology Nursing Day Awards ceremony was held.

"The Rising Star Oncology Nursing Award" is presented to someone new to nursing – less than five years since graduating, less than three years in oncology – in recognition of contributions to excellence in nursing and enhancing the patient experience through patient-centred care. This year's winner is Susan Lee, a registered nurse in the lung clinic, who nominators say shows great compassion and empathy with patients and is wonderful teaching and educating those undergoing complex cancer treatment.

"The Preceptorship/ Mentorship/Teaching Award" is presented in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the overall growth, development, and education of nurses and or nursing students in oncology through preceptorship, mentorship, or teaching. This year's recipient is Katie Kim, a registered nurse in the bone marrow transplant unit who is described as an outstanding role model.

"The Michael Kamin Hart Award of Excellence in Adolescent and Young Adults" is presented to someone who has made an exceptional impact on the experience and care of adolescents and young adults with cancer. This year's recipient is Amy Cadena, a registered nurse on the palliative care unit, who has cared for a number of young adults at end of life. She ensures the patient's comfort and dignity are maintained and the family members are supported.

"The Rose Dean Essence of Oncology Nursing Award" is presented in recognition of an outstanding contribution to nursing aligned with the "best of nursing" themes, including the power of presence and truly "being with" patients and colleagues, providing excellent practice, and fostering an environment that enables nurses to be their best. This year's recipient is Brenda Lively, a registered nurse in the bone marrow transplant unit, who is seen as a born leader and an inspiration to all her colleagues.

Congratulations to all of the Specialized Oncology Nurses who were nominated for the awards.

Rising Star Oncology Nursing Award

Susan Lee, Ambulatory Care, Thoracic Clinic

Preceptorship/ Mentorship /Teaching Award

Kristian Alhambra, Transfusion Centre

Katie Kim, 14B/C Inpatient Bone Marrow Transplant Unit

Noa Santiago, 14A, Inpatient Haematology Unit

Michael Kamin Hart Oncology Nursing Award

Amy Cadena, 16P, Inpatient Palliative Care Unit

Graham Dozois,14B/C Inpatient Bone Marrow Transplant Unit

Rose Dean Essence of Oncology Nursing Award

Aster Awraris, 14A, Inpatient Haematology Unit

Rana Jin, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Older Adults Programme

Cora Lewis, 15C, Inpatient  Bone Marrow Transplant Unit

Brenda Lively, 14B/C Inpatient Bone Marrow Transplant Unit

Christine Puskar, Clinical Trials Unit

Fresh new (cartoon) faces in Joint Department of Medical Imaging

two X-ray machines
These two colourful face plates on two X-ray machines were originally designed for the pediatric market but are putting a smile on people of all ages. (Photo: Courtesy JDMI)

Two new fresh faces have joined the Joint Department of Medical Imaging (JDMI).

But they're not the ones you might expect. Face plates, offered to JDMI from Carestream, were installed on two X-ray machines at Toronto General Hospital.

In the short time they've been on the job, they've already provided both staff and patients a lot of joy.

"He's so cute" patients and non-medical staff say. "Adults are allowed to have fun too!"

Michelle Murray, JDMI X-ray Technologist says, Carestream originally designed these panels for the pediatric market, but "these cute designs are putting a smile on all the patients no matter what age. 

"Every time we take our 'doggy' for a walk heads turn in the hallway and doctors stop their rounds to have a look. Patients are thrilled and think it is so cute!  It never hurts to laugh and smile when they are going through the healing process after surgery or struggling with some tough news."

Serving up memories on Toronto Rehab's Specialized Dementia Unit

Pair of staff members serving pancakes
Marc Matundan and Amy Cockburn served up the feast for patients. (Photo: UHN) ​

Pancake Tuesday may historically be tied to the season of Lent, but on Toronto Rehab's Specialized Dementia Unit (SDU) it was all about providing patients a meaningful sensory experience.

Featuring a live cooking show format, Marc Matundan, an occupational therapy assistant/physio therapy assistant, and occupational therapist Amy Cockburn served up the annual traditional feast, arranging tables teppanyaki-style, so patients could gather around and watch the action up close. 

"It's a sensory experience for patients who no longer have the opportunity to smell the aromas that would normally come out of their kitchen at home," says Amy.

"It's a great opportunity for everyone to reminisce about being in the kitchen, remembering the dishes their families used to cook. 

For staff, it's also a chance to spend time getting to know their patients better, and engage them in social conversation. 

Michener Institute has something to say about mental health

Michener student council
Student Council consists of student representatives elected from each of the Michener Institute’s full-time programs. The group initiates and directs student activities, acts as liaison with staff and provides information and a student perspective to many Michener committees. (Photo: UHN)

"Everyone really is affected by mental health in one way or another, whether it's someone they know, family members or even themselves," says Cristian Tarea, second-year Radiological Technology student and President of Student Council at The Michener Institute of Education at UHN.

Against that backdrop, it's little wonder that a council-organized event around mental health held in conjunction with the national Bell Let's Talk Day proved popular – and powerful.

Held in the lobby of Michener's St. Patrick Campus, it encouraged students, staff and faculty to write what mental health meant to them on posters, which they could then take a photo of or display on the wall. Many seemed touched by efforts to recognize how mental health has affected individual experiences.

"At first, people seemed a little nervous and were unsure what to write, but once they had an idea, they were writing some inspiring things," says Cristian. "Someone wrote 'it's just a bad day, not a bad life,' things that really spoke to me and others."

To help others relax during stressful times in the school year, Student Council hosted additional social events, such as a movie night and Super Smash Bros. video game tournament.

"I feel that this is really important for students because going into the healthcare field, you will deal with patients who suffer from mental health issues, so being aware of the problems or implications that it poses is something that's beneficial," says Cristian. ​

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