CEO blog: Supporting excellence in nursing

Providing quality and safe care is job #1 at Holland Bloorview. It is the first priority in the overall vision for our hospital that I articulated in my last blog post (and really, it is the ultimate goal of all the other priorities). The reason why we can deliver exceptional care is because we have an exceptional team that is driven by a passion for improving the lives of their patients every day.

In this post I want to focus on a specific group within that team: our nurses. Like other front-line staff, in order to provide exceptional care, nurses need a supportive and collaborative environment. Creating such an environment and the best quality care is why we have embarked on the development of a new nursing strategic plan—a Holland Bloorview first. By sharing their personal stories and insights, our nurses are shaping the plan and the vision that will support excellence in nursing into the future.

Led by our Chief Nurse Executive, Marilyn Ballantyne, nurses at Holland Bloorview are participating in shaping this vision and bringing to the table their experiences and expertise. A core development team made up of nurses, family members and clinicians from other disciplines, are interviewing each and every nurse at the hospital. About 120 nurses have already participated and shared their stories of nursing at its best.

While stereotypes of nursing persist, at Holland Bloorview we know that nurses do so much more than monitor vital signs and give medication. Like so many front-line care professions, the work of nurses is sophisticated, advanced and evidence based, at the same time it is human and relational and emotional. At the end of the day, families often describe nursing care as transformational and life changing.

The stories shared by and about nursing are inspiring and powerful, and all of them give me so much pride in our nurses. Stories range from the simple act of kindness of gently washing a child’s matted hair that still resonates years later, to crying alongside a mother when the reality of her child’s life changing injury sets in, to catching a potential medication error before it happens.

“Some hospitals may save lives, we get their life back,” said one nurse, speaking about the differences between acute care and rehabilitation. Another recounted the touching moment when a child was regaining their speech and one of the first words spoken was the nurse’s name.

These stories and more will be shared at the November 2015 nursing summit, when we will develop the strategic plan and vision. These stories help all of us understand the realities of front-line care and how we can best foster a culture in which nurses can grow professionally and build on their strengths, engage in ongoing learning, be leaders in research initiatives and excel in their practice.

There was a common theme in nearly all of the nurses’ stories: they put their hearts into their profession, and on the line, for the children for whom they care. They are deeply committed to creating possibilities for kids of all abilities. And through our nursing plan and vision, we promise we are as committed to our nurses as they are committed to the kids and families in their care.


HBKRH Communications & Public Affairs Wesley Laura Randy

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