Its work in raising the bar of excellence for a quality healthcare workplace has earned Hotel Dieu Hospital a major award from the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
The 2014 Quality Healthcare Workplace Award—Silver Level honoured Hotel Dieu for its ongoing efforts in creating a work environment that translates into quality care and services for patients and families, and a quality work life for employees.
A wide variety of workplace practices, events and initiatives helped Hotel Dieu to score the Silver trophy this year—the first time the hospital made a submission for the award—including enhanced channels of communication between front-line staff and management, staff education in Patient and Family-Centred Care, implementation of healthy workplace policies and multiple workplace health promotion programs and opportunities to support staff in their professional and personal lives.
“These workplace awards recognize the major components of a healthy, high-performing healthcare workplace, with a focus on how effectively an organization enacts those components,” says Scott MacInnes, Chief Human Resources Officer at Hotel Dieu. “Achieving the Silver award demonstrates that quality of life—for patients, families and staff—is very much part of the fabric of Hotel Dieu Hospital.”
Launched in 2010, the Quality Healthcare Workplace Awards program is a progressive improvement framework that offers Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum level awards with assessment designed to encourage an organization’s self-evaluation, learning and improvement. This 2014 Silver Award is the first Quality Healthcare Workplace Award for Hotel Dieu.
PHOTO: Celebrating the Silver Quality Healthcare Workplace Award on behalf of hospital staff and leadership are (l-r) Janine Schweitzer, Scott MacInnes, Kelly Monaghan, Elizabeth Bardon and Jennifer Sawyer.
Her desire to enhance the care of patients with swallowing disorders has landed Sabrina Gurd with an inaugural Bank of Montreal (BMO) Award for Health Care Excellence.
Newly launched this year, the BMO Awards encourage and support quality health care at Hotel Dieu, Kingston General Hospital and Providence Care. The awards allow recipients to pursue graduate studies and to attend international training sessions and conferences.
A Hotel Dieu Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) who also provides service to the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario and Kingston General Hospital, Sabrina will use her award to attend training in a procedure called Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES). During FEES a thin, lighted endoscope, inserted via a patient’s nose, is used to view the structures of the throat and the person’s ability to swallow. Currently in our region, the evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders, or dysphagia, is done via physical exam and x-rays, a process that often involves multiple visits.
By contrast, FEES allows for immediate visual biofeedback of a patient’s swallowing function, involves no exposure to radiation, eliminates the need to book an x-ray visit and can be used in both outpatient and inpatient settings. And patients end up with a better understanding of their dysphagia because they can actually see on screen how they are swallowing and the impact of therapeutic intervention.
A member of the multidisciplinary head and neck cancer team, Sabrina says FEES training will translate into enhanced patient care in this region, where endoscopy is presently used for diagnostic purposes only.
“My training would support the use of FEES therapeutically,” she says. “It’s a valuable tool for identifying and assessing dysphagia, as well as an excellent educational resource for helping patients and their caregivers understand their swallowing disorder.
“FEES can literally give our patients a clearer picture of their swallowing difficulty. That can make a real difference in their quality of life.”
With FEES training and implementation under her belt, Sabrina will also put Kingston on the map as the first health care centre in Southeastern Ontario to use the FEES procedure, a step she welcomes as she and her dysphagia colleagues works towards excellence in dysphagia care.
PHOTO: Speech-Language Pathologist Subrina Gurd sits with the equipment she will be trained to use to better assess and treat swallowing disorders.
Nurses eager to advance in their profession have a new level of support from Hotel Dieu Hospital thanks to a recently-inked agreement between the hospital and Nipissing University.
The two institutions have partnered to allow current Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) at Hotel Dieu study part-time towards becoming Registered Nurses (RNs) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree granted by the university.
The difference between an RPN and RN is one of education and therefore the knowledge, skill and judgment to provide the level of care provided to the patient. RPNs are well equipped to care for patients with stable medical conditions. However, if the patient’s condition becomes unstable and/or the complexity of medical care increases, so too does the need for RPNs to consult with other nurses or physicians or to transfer care to RNs.
The RPN to BScN Blended Learning Program offered by Nipissing gives diploma RPNs a chance to widen their scope of practice by transitioning to the RN role.
The program mixes online and face-to-face courses in a flexible learning model that gives the RPNs choices in when, where and how they complete the education required to become a RN, says Jane Warner, Director of Professional Practice at Hotel Dieu.
“This bridging program lets nurses do their textbook learning at a distance and their experiential learning at Hotel Dieu or with other community health care organizations recognized by Nipissing,” she says. “One benefit is being able to stay close to home for the clinical placements because RPNs already have busy work and life schedules.”
That has been the case for RPN Kelly Simpson, now in her third year of the blended learning program and adept at juggling her schoolwork with four part-time jobs (including nursing shifts at Hotel Dieu) plus parenting a toddler.
“This is education that comes to my phone,” says Kelly, who makes the most of daytime work and lunch breaks to go online for readings and assignments even before she hits the books at night. “It’s a commitment that requires you stay focused but I wouldn’t want to do this any other way. I can work and still end up with a degree that widens my scope of practice and advances me along the pay scale, too.”
With the support of their managers at Hotel Dieu, working RPNs can request shifts to accommodate their academic studies and get help in finding appropriate clinical placements. The blended program must be completed in seven years but can be wrapped up in five. Intake of new students occurs in January and September.
The hospital-university partnership also allows RPNs from regional hospitals and nursing homes to complete their clinical placements at Hotel Dieu, says Jane.
“Hotel Dieu is a strong supporter of lifelong learning, and as an academic hospital we’re the perfect classroom,” she says. “This partnership with Nipissing is another pathway for nurses at Hotel Dieu and in the larger community to further their professional growth. We’re very excited to be part of that journey.”
PHOTO: RPN Kelly Simpson gives a thumbs-up to blended learning because it allows her to advance her career while still on the job.
Nursing students are turning clinic waiting areas at Hotel Dieu into mini classrooms this month as they host a learning fair geared to educating patients and families about everything from mole checks to immunizations to hand hygiene.
Over two days—November 19 and 26—almost 40 third-year St. Lawrence College nursing students will be spread across a dozen outpatient clinic areas with displays and poster presentations designed to teach or remind patients and families about the basics of good health including the importance of flu shots, childhood vaccines, healthy snacking, stress reduction, preventing falls in the home and more.
“Patient education is one of the more important jobs that nurses do in their careers,” says Jane Warner, Director of Professional Practice at Hotel Dieu, “because it helps to ensure patients understand their condition and treatment, and that leads to improved patient safety and greater patient satisfaction.
“We’re collaborating with St. Lawrence College on this learning fair so the nursing students can put into practice the principles of adult education they’re learning in their program. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to engage with patients and to get a good feel for what it means to communicate health information clearly while learning in real-time how to address patients’ questions and concerns.”
And the bonus for patients who happen to be in the clinics on those two days is the chance to tap into loads of current information about a wide range of health topics.
“We’re hopeful that this will become an annual partnership between Hotel Dieu and St. Lawrence College to support nursing students and inform patients. It’s the kind of fair where everyone wins!” says Jane.
PHOTO: St. Lawrence College nursing students Katie McCourt (left) and Sarah Pereira (right) share hand hygiene tips with a Hotel Dieu visitor.
Volunteer Services to Hotel Dieu Hospital, Inc. announced thousands of dollars in contributions towards hospital equipment at its recent annual general meeting, where it celebrated another successful year of helping patients and families in our community.
At the October meeting, Volunteer Services announced contributions stemming from special fundraisers such as two popular Elvis shows over the past two years that have netted close to $40,000 as well as from retail operations such as the hospital’s Brockview Café and Brock Boutique that raised $120,000 and $29,000 respectively this past year.
A portion of those funds has gone towards equipment purchases—such as special stretchers and diagnostic equipment—in clinical areas that include endoscopy, cystoscopy, ophthalmology and the Child Development Centre, says Sharon Suddergaard, President of Volunteer Services. In addition, the volunteers committed a further $15,000 for new equipment and indicated that a surprise announcement in December will boost that total.
“We’re committed to helping Hotel Dieu provide the best patient care possible, which involves using the best medical equipment,” says Sharon. “We’re very much focused on making sure that equipment is available. Towards that end, we’re thankful to sponsors who have supported the Elvis shows and to the patrons of our Café and Boutique because their purchases translate directly into top-quality equipment and services at Hotel Dieu.”
This past year volunteers also contributed close to $14,000 for initiatives in the Child Development Centre and Child Life Program that provide comfort and support to children and families receiving medical care.
PHOTO: At their recent annual general meeting hospital volunteers applauded a dozen of their members who received service pins for anywhere from 5 to 20 years of sharing their generosity and compassion with patients. Together, the 12 individuals have collectively logged 125 years of volunteer service to Hotel Dieu.
From caring for children and adolescents experiencing a mental health crisis, to serving as mentors and cheerleaders for other staff, to jumping in with both feet whenever a need arises, four individuals were honoured recently for their tremendous contributions at Hotel Dieu.
At a Nov. 7 ceremony to give out the annual Mission Awards, the hospital celebrated its 800-plus employees and 200-plus volunteers, and recognized four individuals whose contributions reflect the tremendous expertise and commitment to mission demonstrated every day by all hospital employees.
“The individuals being honoured with this year’s Mission Awards really highlight the dedication of our staff and the important role that they play in living our mission of compassion and healing,” noted Board Chair Sherri McCullough at the recognition ceremony.
Those honoured with 2014 Hotel Dieu Mission Awards included:
Elizabeth Bardon, Chief of Public Relations & Community Engagement, thanked all staff and volunteers for their contributions to excellence at Hotel Dieu. “We are truly blessed by our outstanding staff and the ways in which they live the hospital’s mission every single day,” she noted.
PHOTO: Social Worker Nicholas Axas receives a 2014 Mission Award from Sister Joan Kalchbrenner and Board Chair Sherri McCullough.
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© 2014 Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph of the Hotel Dieu of Kingston. All Rights Reserved.