​​​​Image of Judy Costello
Judy Costello is a Senior Clinical Director for Malignant Hematology at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. (Photo: UHN)

National Nursing Week 2015 runs May 11-17. To mark the occasion, UHN News is running a series of stories in which nurses talk about their career. Today Judy Costello, Senior Clinical Director for Malignant Hematology at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, discusses her career.

'Think about what you can do rather than what you can't,' is what I always tell people.

National Nursing Week
May 11-17, 2015​

As a Senior Clinical Director I am responsible for operational and patient care services within my areas. This includes patient care; quality and safety; finance; human resources; and education and research. I work collaboratively with clinical, hospital and program leaders to ensure activities and programs deliver the highest quality patient care consistent with UHN's mission vision and values. 

Prior to my current position; I was in a similar role in surgery at TGH . Before that, I was Director of Nursing (DON) for TGH. As the Director of Nursing I was responsible for nursing professional practice structures and strategy at TGH.

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A leader first

As a registered nurse in my very first role working in Newfoundland, I was socialized to the profession of nursing in an environment where our Nurse Manager and medical leaders expected us to act and function as leaders.

It was a great environment to work in – expectations were high and as a result we were a great interprofessional team that had fun too.

Out of graduate school, I knew I wanted to be a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Cardiovascular surgery, which I was before I became the DON. In that advanced practice role, I led quality and practice and when the DON role in Surgery, I took the opportunity to lead on a broader level. 

Seize the opportunity

As opportunities arose I have continued to challenge myself and take new paths. Each one has been a great learning experience as a person and a leader.

I have also had the great fortune of mentors who gave me opportunities to learn and take the lead on issues that one might say go beyond the standard role description.

They saw my potential and presented options for me to consider.

A wise person once told me that making shifts is about seeing opportunities to grow and develop and challenging oneself to do that rather than thinking 'I can't.'

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