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When you enter the clinic area on the sixth floor of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, chances are you'll see Louisa Esnard. And for many, she could be considered UHN royalty.
"Louisa is the first face of the vascular program. She greets, registers and guides our patients in the clinic with great skill and an outgoing friendly face," says Dr. Thomas Lindsay, Division Chief, Vascular Surgery at PMCC.
It is a position Louisa has held for 19 of the 45 years she has worked at UHN - a monumental milestone she completed last month. When asked how she feels about working at the same institution for more than four decades, Louisa responds, "I am blessed! It feels like my second home."
"The contribution that Louisa has made to the care of patients at UHN over the last 45 years cannot be measured, and is without parallel," says Dr. Barry Rubin, Medical Director, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and one of seven vascular surgeons who see patients inside the bustling clinic.
"Louisa is always polite and kind to patients, and helps them get to their clinic appointments with a smile. She is upbeat, and it is common to hear her softly singing hymns. Really, it is hard to believe Louisa has been helping patients on their journey for as long as she has. She is a valued member of our team," he says.
Sitting down with Louisa
Recently, Louisa sat down with UHN News to reminisce about some of the highlights of her UHN career from 1969 onwards.
Which departments have you worked in?
I have worked in Premature Nursery; Medical Records; Ear, Nose and Throat; the Dental Clinic; the Dermatology Clinic; the General Surgery Clinic; and the Gastro and Vascular Surgery Clinics.
Presently I work in the Vascular Surgery & Cardiology Pre-admission Clinic. I am most attached to the people I work with in the Vascular Area.
What is the biggest change you've seen at UHN since 1969?
The whole system has changed since I came. There have been new wings added to the hospital and new technology. In particular I miss the cafeteria which has been replaced by the Food Court.
Do you have one particular memory that you're fond of from your time here?
When UHN used to have a maternity ward, I worked in Premature Nursery from 1969 – 1970 and I had to take premature babies in an incubator across Gerrard St. to SickKids. The police stopped traffic at both ends for me to cross the street. I liked that.
When they brought the babies back, it was such a joy to see how much they had improved.
What is your favourite moment from your current position?
I have a very fond memory of a surprise luncheon that was held for me by the Vascular Department to celebrate my 30th year anniversary in 2000. I saw this in the eyes of my heart ---it was a sign of love and respect from this circle.
What has kept you at UHN for 45 years?
I am a woman of great faith in God. As a single mother of two, I had to lean on Him heavily and I believe He made it possible for me to get this job.
My job here at Toronto General Hospital has given me the stability to provide for my children. Later on as they became adults and started their own families, I was able to purchase my own condo!
Is there anything else you'd like to tell people about your work at UHN?
Most of all, my job has exposed me to many different people, from the doctors to the staff to the patients. Oftentimes while checking patients in, I find myself whispering a prayer or song that would be a source of comfort to them as they waited to see the doctor. Sometimes patients would come up to me and ask for a prayer and I would oblige. I consider it a privilege to do this.