Every year, Hospital News, a Canadian health care newspaper, asks for nominations for their Nursing Hero Award. This award is a salute to outstanding nurses throughout Canada who have made a difference in the lives of patients, their families, or those who they work with.

In total, Oak Valley Health had 12 nurses receive nominations this year, including two that received an honourable mention and had their nomination story shared in the May 2023 edition of Hospital News.

Congratulations to both our honourable mentions: Jackline Shitera and Diane Bricknell. You can read their nomination stories below.

Jackline Shitera

Nominated by Susan Ng

It is a great honour to nominate Jackline Shitera, Geriatric Emergency Management (GEM) Nurse Practitioner at Oak Valley Health, for the Hospital News Nursing Award. I met Jackline by happenstance while visiting a Senior Home Support Program patient in the emergency department (ED) two years ago. During this impromptu meet and greet, I was immediately captivated by Jackline’s optimism and passion for care of the elderly. Her enthusiasm for knowledge sharing and warm demeanor created opportunities for peer to peer counsel and collaboration that would not have existed otherwise.

In the months and years to follow, Jackline navigated me through clinical issues ranging from elder abuse concerns to transportation for low income seniors – graciously extending her expertise across programs. When Ted*, a patient of the Seniors Home Support Program presented to the ED for shortness of breath, I witnessed the impact Jackline made on one of our most vulnerable patient population. That is, for frail seniors presenting to the ED for a medical emergency, Jackline is their greatest ally and advocate.

First a bit of context. Ted is a senior with dementia who became increasingly disoriented after arriving in the ED. He is exit seeking because naturally, he wants to go home. He is weak and falls often, but of course, he does not remember this. His chief complaint was shortness of breath that has been getting worse over the last week. The decision to call 911 for investigation in hospital was not an easy one for his wife Pam. On one hand, there was a desire to get answers about the cause of shortness of breath, and on the other hand, knowing there is a risk that an ED visit could be a traumatic experience. Pam, herself is a bed-bound senior and making her best attempt to get updates from her hospital bed at home. She is gravely concerned about a possible congestive heart failure diagnosis.

I visited Ted several times that day and am happy to share that he left the ED without injury, restraint, delays in testing, or need for admission. Jackline’s efforts were monumental to ensure these wins and a smooth ED visit. For example, Jackline moved the client closer to the nursing station for safety and personally checked on Ted often to supplement monitoring by the overextended ED staff. This meant that the client did not require restraints or suffer a fall/injury.

Jackline coordinated and communicated the urgency of all diagnostic tests to avoid delays and an extended ED visit. She communicated with Ted in a manner that was calm and respectful, and made him feel heard and important in his own care. She engaged Pam through regular telephone updates and provided compassionate counselling for future care options. Just as I wondered how the client would get home, I found Jackline (after her shift) wheeling Ted out the doors of the ED and safely handed him to a volunteer driver who would get him home safely.

Ted will not remember Jackline and how in those very busy 6 hours, she was working hard with him and behind the scenes to coordinate the appropriate testing and to get him home, where he felt safest. I very much doubt this encounter stands out in Jackline’s memory as this is the exceptional standard of care she provides on a daily basis. I, however, think this was an exceptional ED visit, if ED visits could be described as exceptional. Jackline has given me an optimistic perspective on how a senior friendly emergency department is possible through exceptional staff as an important starting point. Thank you for the opportunity to recognize my nursing colleague and considering Jackline Shitera for the Hospital News Nursing Award.

*Patient name has been changed to ensure confidentiality

Dianne Bricknell

Nominated by Marijol Calpito

I would like to nominate Dianne Bricknell for the Hospital News Nursing Hero Award. Dianne has been a registered nurse on the Inpatient Surgery Unit since Oak Valley Health opened its doors in 1990 as Markham Stouffville Hospital. She is not only a loyal employee, who helped build the hospital and grew with the hospital, but also an outstanding nurse, who is so passionate about nursing and always strives for excellence. Having worked with Dianne for close to 25 years, I have had the good fortune to witness the compassion, dedication, and extraordinary care she has given to her patients and their families every day.

Dianne is a role model not only to the new nurses, but also to everyone who works with her. She would be easily described by her colleagues as a calm, collected nurse with a laid-back style.  When she is on duty, she makes the workload on unit seem lighter, and a hectic day easier. Dianne is also a very kind person. She has been a wonderful preceptor to many new nurses with her gentle mentoring style. I have always seen Dianne offering her peers a dose of encouragement when things don’t seem to be going right.  Dianne has many nursing strengths, and I like to call them her super nursing powers.  She has a special talent in starting IVs in which no one else on the unit can compare. I call her the “IV sharp shooter.”

Highly skilled and extremely knowledgeable, Dianne provides extraordinary care to her patients and their families. However, it is her nature of compassion where she sparkles the brightest. Patients and their families appreciate the compassionate care they receive from Dianne as she makes them feel trustful and comfortable during their most difficult time of recovery, and sometimes during the dying process. When a patient cannot afford to buy a medication, she will go out of her way to have pharmacy and a social worker involved to ensure her patient does not go without it. Dianne is always very attentive and has that fifth sense of anticipating her patients’ and their families’ needs. Before a patient can say, “I need something for pain,” she is already in the room with the medication in her hand ready to hand it to her patient with a smile. Dianne is very thorough and very informative when educating her patients and their families. She makes it her mission to make sure her patients are well informed of any procedures or tests they are about to go through by making sure all their concerns and questions are answered appropriately in a timely manner.

Regardless of patients’ background and family situations, Dianne provides honourable care to all her patients with empathy, dignity, and respect. Her warm and genuine compassion, is the kind of character that our patients and their families look for and continues to inspires all of us. Dianne is loved by everyone on the Inpatient Surgery Unit, and has been a valuable member of the organization for over 30 years. I am most confident that she will continue to shine her star and for this, she is most deserving of this year’s Nursing Hero Award. Thank you. 

We would also like to share our congratulations with the following Oak Valley Health nurses, who were all nominated for a 2023 Nursing Hero Award:

Pamela Anderson, Alaa Hamzeh, Caitlin Keeble, Angela King, Allison Parkinson, Holly Rupert, Kiran Sharma, Gurleen Singh, Jennifer Taniguchi, and Jane Warner.