Gratitude posters offer 'boost' to Outpatient Pharmacy team

Marissa and Eugenia with posters
Marissa Webber (L) and Eugenia Chan of Outpatient Pharmacy at Toronto General Hospital with the "Gratitude Notes" from team members, which have been put on posters for display. (Photo: Courtesy Eugenia Chan)

It's a holiday gift that will keep giving all year long.

Last winter, with COVID-19 preventing people from gathering for the holidays, Eugenia Chan, Outpatient Pharmacy Site Operations Manager at Toronto General Hospital (TGH), asked members of her team to help "boost" holiday spirit by emailing a message of what makes them grateful.

"I learned that practicing gratitude can improve well-being," she wrote to her colleagues at three locations – TGH Outpatient Pharmacy, Transplant Outpatient Pharmacy and Clinic Pharmacy. "Write a thank you note to someone, share a happy encounter, or simply talk about what you are grateful for."

Eugenia says she was "overwhelmed" by the responses, which when cut and pasted together on a Word document stretched to nine pages. There were comments of gratitude towards work, family and life, as well as ones dedicated to each member of the TGH Outpatient Pharmacy Team.

Eugenia was so thrilled with the response that along with her colleague, Marissa Webber, they put the messages into a pair of posters. Under the headline "Gratitude Notes," they are now on display at the Outpatient Pharmacy locations for team members to look at when they need a boost.

Among the wide range of things people expressed gratitude for on the posters: "co-workers and work – I'm fortunate to be part of an amazing team;" "grateful that we're still able to help and give the best patient care during this pandemic time;" "my puppy, the best puppy in the whole puppy world;" and "I am grateful that all my family, relatives, friends and co-workers are all healthy and safe."

"Thank you to my work family for reflecting on all the good in their lives," Eugenia says. "Sharing gratitude really is a wonderful feeling."

Seeing red for Wear Red Canada

Screenshot of 3 people in gym
The virtual, lunch-hour activities included an invigorating dancercise class featuring adaptive moves. (Photo: UHN)

Staff at Toronto Rehab's Rumsey Centre were all heart on Feb. 10 when they invited TeamUHN to join them for the annual Wear Red Canada event – a national program inviting Canadians to wear red, and raise awareness about women's heart health.

The virtual, lunch-hour activities ranged from entertaining to educational, as the team took participants through an invigorating dancercise class featuring adaptive moves, and quiz to challenge colleagues' heart health knowledge.

For example, did you know that 80 per cent of a woman's cardiovascular risk factors can be effectively managed through stress reduction, physical activity, healthy eating, quitting smoking, and adherence to medication?

Or, that programs such as UHN Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program can decrease the risk of death after a heart event by 50 per cent? 

"Our aim is to empower women with the knowledge and tools they need to manage their cardiovascular health and prevent heart disease," says Dr. Rajni Nijhawan, program physician and lead preceptor at UHN's Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program, Rumsey Centre. "And when heart disease does occur, rehab programs like ours can help ensure that women not only recover, but recuperate, and thrive." 

Take a quiz created by a team of passionate healthcare professionals, to generate awareness and improve education, for the general public and in medical community, about women's heart health.

Because informed women are empowered women.

How Michener Institute turned gym into Ontario's first COVID-19 vaccination site

First shot given at Michener
On Dec. 14, the gymnasium at the Michener Institute at UHN was site of the first vaccination of a healthcare worker in Canada. The clinic continues to be used to give Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to healthcare workers. (Photo: UHN)

The Michener Institute at UHN played a key part in Canada's pandemic history.

UHN needed a location for an Ontario pilot site to administer the first deliveries to Canada of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Michener was the best choice because few students or staff were on-site as the majority of courses were being taught virtually, the building provided ideal external access and had the equipment necessary to prepare the space in a short amount of time.

The vaccine comes in a concentrated form that must be kept at minus 70 Celsius in temperature-controlled thermal shippers provided by Pfizer. Once transferred to a refrigerator, it must be administered within five days.

"We set-up a small pharmacy within the building to house the concentrated vials where pharmacists and pharmacy technicians were diluting and preparing the syringes all day, because once they're prepared, they must be used within the same day," says Paul Martin, Director of Facilities at Michener.

Ensuring there are adequate barriers and partitions was another consideration as those receiving the vaccine are asked to wait 15 minutes following the shot to confirm there are no serious adverse reactions.

"We had an incredibly collaborative team that came together to work on this from the Facilities team, the Student Success Network, those implementing data at UHN, pharmacists, finance, the Chiropody Clinic, Respiratory Therapy faculty, Lab Services, Information Management and Communications and Marketing," says Paul.

On Dec. 14, UHN administered the first Pfizervaccine to a Canadian healthcare worker as five long-term care staff were inoculated. Earlier in February, the Michener clinic surpassed the 9,000-dose mark.

"The day of that first vaccine was actually kind of surreal," says Paul. "Getting to see the first person receiving a vaccine within a year of the pandemic was just extraordinary.

"I'll never forget that first day."

Teaching & Learning Week 2021 - Sharing stories of the joys, challenges and lessons learned in pandemic times

Teaching & Learning Week logo
Teaching and Learning Week is a time to pause and reflect on all the incredible teaching and learning that happens each day at UHN.

Debra Cooper was surprised by her students' gratitude.

During Teaching and Learning Week 2021, Debra, an occupational therapy assistant and physiotherapy assistant, shared her story of partnering with two learners in a one-to-two model of supervision. Through creativity and innovation, Debra facilitated the students' development by practicing clinical skills, without a clinical caseload, through peer learning, mock cases and working collaboratively with each other and other professionals.

The students valued this experience during these ever-changing times.

Teaching and Learning Week is also a time to pause and reflect on all the incredible teaching and learning that happens each day at UHN.

Clare Peddle, a social worker, and Jaan Reitav, a psychologist, shared their reflections on their team's learning experiences in shifting cardiac rehab programming online. Working through staff redeployment, high anxiety and learning needs, they collaborated with the team and patients to implement a successful, sustainable hybrid in-person/virtual program.

During the week, Convergence 2021, the Michener Institute of Education at UHN's 2nd annual healthcare education conference, brought together people from across UHN, the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN) and beyond.

The theme was "The New Normal? Learning from disruptions in healthcare education and how our teaching and learning ecosystems have changed due to disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic and social change events such as equity and inclusion." Participants learned of ways to adapt and thrive in ever-changing times.

Michener Institute goes above and beyond to support students self-isolating in residence

Scott Whitehouse
"I've been extremely impressed by the people working at Michener, from the front desk staff to the teaching faculty, the Student Success Network and Facilities services," says Scott Whitehouse, who found out while at home in Newfoundland for the holidays that he had to isolate for 14 days when he return to Ontario. "Everyone genuinely cares about doing an excellent job and it really shows." (Photo: UHN)

When Genetics Technology student Scott Whitehouse went home to Newfoundland for the holiday break, he had no idea he would find himself self-isolating upon returning to school.

While in Newfoundland, COVID-19 regulations changed in December to require those entering Ontario from other provinces in Canada to isolate for 14 days.

"About two weeks before my return, the Michener Institute of Education at UHN reached out to inform me that I had to self-isolate for 14 days in my on-campus residence room upon returning," says Scott.

To support Scott, Michener ensured he had the necessary appliances in his room to prepare meals, such as a microwave, coffee machine and kettle, as he was not permitted to leave his room to use the kitchen across the hall. The school also committed to deliver all grocery and takeout orders to a table placed outside his door.

Additionally, Michener offered $700 to every student that needed to isolate in residence to offset the extra costs associated with ordering groceries and takeout, as well as other complications that may arise from being isolated.

"Fellow Genetics Technology students on my floor also helped me out by purchasing and delivering grocery orders, so I felt a lot of support from both Michener and my classmates," says Scott.

Faculty were notified of Scott's absence and worked quickly to accommodate his situation by delivering assignments to his room, and by creating new assignments for him to complete in place of the in-person labs he had missed.

"I've been extremely impressed by the people working at Michener from the front desk staff to the teaching faculty, the Student Success Network and Facilities services," says Scott. "Everyone genuinely cares about doing an excellent job and it really shows."

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