smiling patient
The new Nursing Clinical Coaching & Mentorship Program at UHN's Peter Munk Cardiac Centre will offer two professional development streams for nurses. (Photo: UHN)

Nursing clinical coaching and mentorship programs launched at Peter Munk Cardiac Centre

UHN's Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) has launched a new professional development program for nurses.

Known as the PMCC Nursing Clinical Coaching & Mentorship Program, it will offer two professional development streams for nursing professionals.

"Professional development programs like coaching and mentorship have been shown to retain nurses by improving their clinical skills, job satisfaction, well-being and confidence," says Pam Hubley, UHN Vice President & Chief Nurse Executive and co-sponsor of this initiative. "It is important to offer professional development programs to nurses to ensure workforce stability, work-life balance and the ability to provide high-quality patient care."

The program's two professional development streams for nurses are:

  • Clinical coaching – Frontline nurses with at least three years of experience on their unit of practice will offer clinical coaching at the point of care to nurses with less than two years of experience. The aim is to enhance the skill and knowledge development of those being coached, who include new graduates, internationally educated nurses, and those transitioning to a new practice environment.
  • Mentorship – Frontline nurses with more than three years of experience on their unit of practice, will be paired with nursing professionals in leadership roles for one-on-one mentorship while engaging in self-directed learning or professional development activities. The aim of this mentoring relationship is to support the personal and professional development goals of nurses being mentored.

​The PMCC Nursing Clinical Coaching & Mentorship Program is part of the response to internal well-being surveys conducted by the PMCC revealing a high level of burnout and distress among health care workers.

"Addressing clinician burnout requires a comprehensive examination of the work environment to pinpoint stressors," says Ahlexxi Jelen, PMCC Manager of Strategy & Special Projects and Program Lead. "Our research at the PMCC showed that staffing shortages, perceptions of unfair treatment, impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on personal and professional life, and a lack of time to engage in professional development opportunities contributed to burnout among nurses.

"By collaborating with our staff to co-create initiatives, such as the PMCC Nursing Clinical Coaching and Mentorship program, we not only aim to enhance their experience at work but also to prioritize their well-being."

Barry Rubin, PMCC Medical Director and co-sponsor of this initiative, added: "Enabling nurses at every career stage, especially those entering the profession, through coaching and mentorship initiatives, will create a positive work environment that promotes continuous career development of nurses."

To learn more about the PMCC's ongoing efforts to improve clinician well-being, explore two recent studies from UHN researchers: One published in BMC Health Services Research and another in BMJ Open.

At the 2024 Oncology Nursing Day Awards at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, (L to R), Anet Julius, Jeus Cabaluna, Jenelle Ramsahai, Jennifer Catsburg, Pei Wen (Ashley) Yang, Kylie Martin, Shannon Nixon, Kalique Dzidah, Laura Omni, Pam Hubley, Vice President & Chief Nurse Executive, UHN. (Photo: UHN)

Celebrating the winners and nominees of at 2024 Oncology Nursing Day Awards

This year's 21st annual Oncology Nursing Day Awards kicked off with an Oncology Nursing Forum – highlighting the achievements, research and leadership of the oncology nurses at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

The inaugural in-person forum was an opportunity to showcase the different committees in oncology nursing at the Princess Margaret and promote their excellence in clinical care, advocacy and scholarship, including the Advanced Practice Nursing Fellowship in Oncology, a six-month fellowship for nurses to advance their skills in oncology advanced practice roles.

This's year theme, "From Coast to Coast: Uniting Our Practice," celebrated oncology nurses across Canada, including the 670 oncology nurses at the Princess Margaret. 

"We are privileged to witness the incredible courage and strength of our patients and their loved ones," said Anet Julius, Director of Professional Practice at the Princess Margaret. "We participate in their cancer journey, from treatment, symptom management, end-of-life care and or survivorship, and are there every step of the way."

Oncology Nursing Day was established 21 years ago to celebrate the incredible role oncology nurses play, providing exceptional patient care, leadership and research. This year, 33 nurses were nominated for six awards.

  • Pei Wen (Ashley) Yang, a hematology nurse within the outpatient clinics, won the Rising Star Nursing Award, a prize for new nurses who contribute to excellence in nursing and enhance patient experience through patient-centred care. Ashley's nominators described her as enthusiastic, compassionate and adaptable with the "heart and calling to be a great nurse."
  • Jennifer Catsburg, a clinical nurse specialist in the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) program, won the Michael Kamin Hart Award for Excellence in AYA Cancer Care. The family of Michael, who died from lymphoma as a young adult, supported the establishment of the AYA Program in 2013, and generously fund this award. Jennifer noted Michael was one of the first patients she cared for as a student nurse, an experience that "solidified my choice to choose a career in cancer."
  • Janette Ramsahai, a clinical research nurse coordinator with the Gynecology program, was awarded the 90/10 Professional Development Program Award. The award provides financial support to a staff nurse to undertake a nursing practice-based initiative that focuses on improving patient/family outcomes and/or creating a quality work environment. Janette's project's aim is to improve patient physiological and psychosocial care during transition in care between standard medical gynecology oncology approaches and clinical trials.
  • Jeus Cabaluna, a surgical oncology nurse at Toronto General Hospital, won the Award of Excellence in Nursing Preceptorship, Mentorship, and Teaching. The award recognizes an outstanding contribution to the overall growth, development, and education of nurses and/or nursing students in oncology through preceptorship, mentorship, or teaching. Jeus was praised for his accessible teaching style, and his successful mentorship of colleagues.
  • The Lisa Herschorn Nursing Scholarship was introduced this year by friends and family of the late Lisa Herschorn, a patient at the cancer centre who greatly appreciated the nursing staff. The award provides financial support to nurses who aim to advance their education and who demonstrate caring, compassion and leadership. This year's three winners are: Kalique Dzidah, a nurse in the Malignant Hematology Day Unit, who is doing a Master of Nursing with a focus on health equity; Shannon Nixon, a nurse practitioner in Malignant Hematology, who is doing a DN focused on oncology nursing; and Kylie Martin, a hematology nurse with the Cancer Clinical Research Unit, who is doing a Master of Nursing.
  • Laura Olmi, an advanced practice nurse educator in Malignant Hematology, received the Rose Dean Essence of Oncology Nursing Award, in recognition of an outstanding contribution to nursing within the cancer program aligned with the "best of nursing" themes. Those themes are: the power of the presence of nursing; the use of knowledge in providing excellent practice; and the ability to create and foster an environment that enables nurses to be their best. Laura's fifteen nominators described her as "an absolute joy to work with and a relentless advocate for patient safety."

The Purple Day 2024 event in the atrium at Toronto Western Hospital included fun activities, including a live EEG demo, photobooths and giveaways, as well as a concert. (Photo: UHN)

Annual Purple Day event raises awareness about epilepsy

The Epilepsy Department at UHN's Krembil Brain Institute hosted an interactive event in the atrium of Toronto Western Hospital to mark Purple Day 2024 on March 26.

A national day for epilepsy awareness, the event highlights the comprehensive clinical and research programs at UHN, and the community partners who help advance our work.

Canadian Megan Cassidy started Purple Day in 2008 to help fight discrimination and stigma around the disease, which affects one in 100 people. Purple was chosen as the colour as there are so many shades, just as there are many different forms of epilepsy and lived experiences.

The atrium's festivities this year included a concert presented by the Lullaby Project, a program administered by Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall. This initiative views music as a form of healing.

Dr. Esther Bui has partnered with the Lullaby Project, contributing to its adaptation for pregnant women with epilepsy. Dr. Bui's research focuses on evaluating the impact of the Lullaby Project on measures such as empowerment scores, anxiety, depression and the frequency of seizures among participants.

The days also featured other fun activities, including a live EEG demo, photobooths and giveaways.

The day is a wonderful way to show how UHN is continuously striving to provide the best care, research and treatments for those living with epilepsy, while raising awareness about this neurological condition.

Dr. Phyllis Billia, (third from left, front row), a physician at UHN's Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and nurse practitioners Marnie Rodger, (L), and Helen Zhang (in white lab coats), with members of the Toronto Paramedic Services. (Photo: UHN)

Training Toronto Paramedics on managing patient with an LVAD device

Dr. Phyllis Billia, a physician at UHN's Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and nurse practitioners Marnie Rodger and Helen Zhang, recently hosted a training session for members of the Toronto Paramedic Services on managing patient with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).

An LVAD functions as a mechanical heart for those diagnosed with end-stage heart failure. Implanted through open heart surgery, the LVAD assists the heart to pump and circulate blood while patients are bridged to transplant or destination therapy.

The Toronto Paramedics team reported the session helped improve their comfort and decision-making when they encounter a patient with an LVAD.

The session was an example of the many ways UHN and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre contribute to ongoing learning and the broader health care system.

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