By Irene Andress, Chief Nurse Executive
I still get flashbacks.
When I was a fledgling nurse, just out of school, I did a placement at a long-term care home. The morning started like any other and I was assigned to help a patient with their morning hygiene. Everything was in place, including a steel wash basin at his bedside table.
Then it happened.
I don’t know what I said or what I did, but I vaguely remember seeing a flash of silver coming down toward my head. I ducked out of the way. Just in the nick of time.
My patient had tried to hurt me with that heavy washbasin.
It’s a memory I’ve tried to forget over the years. And for many reasons I didn’t tell anyone. I was scared and embarrassed. I had no one to tell. But recently, as we prepared TEGH nurses to be part of a print feature in the Toronto Star (that’s scheduled to be in print on Saturday) and a national documentary on workplace violence that’s set to air this Saturday on Global TV’s 16X9, I was forced to confront my past.
Did you know that, according to the stats, compared to police and firefighters, health care providers, particularly nurses, have a higher risk of being assaulted at work? I’ve spoken to many nurses as they described being choked, hair pulled and tackled to the ground. Has it always been like this? Like me, have we hidden this reality?
Today, I’m proud to be a nurse at TEGH. We have a zero tolerance for any form of violence and we encourage staff to speak out and report it.
We’re a national and provincial leader in the prevention of workplace violence.
In partnership with our union leaders from ONA, we’ve implemented a comprehensive violence prevention program that includes extensive hands on training for staff and patient flagging. Part of our successful workplace violence prevention rests in the capable hands of our security team.
And I saw this firsthand as I shadowed Ortney Brown, security agent. Our security agents are valued and appreciated constantly by the staff of TEGH. Their expertise, communication and responsiveness is outstanding.
On behalf of nurses and the staff at TEGH, thank you!
Spending time with Ortney was a privilege. In his quiet, yet confident way, he continually reminded me of the importance of teamwork, caring for each other and taking a stand for the kind of community we want to work in.
We all have a role to play in living our values… of being excellent in what we do, of caring for each other and our community and of respecting our workplace and our colleagues.
Join me on Twitter @IreneAndress
Irene Andress, CNE, shadows security agent Ortney Brown. Watch now!
By Wolf Klassen, Vice President, Program Support
These days, when most of us get on a plane, we don’t typically give a second thought to how such a large, steel machine is able to get off the ground, fly thousands of kilometres and then land safely.
If you think it about it, it’s pretty awesome. And if you actually pause for a moment, during the process and watch, you’ll see there’s a lot of moving parts; lots of people involved; and a lot of checks and balances.
Last week I had the privilege to present the great work we do at TEGH at three separate conferences in Vancouver and Kelowna. I also had the opportunity to visit my son who is studying out west. On the flight home I took a few moments to observe the process.
Like many other high-risk industries, the airline industry has come a long way to improve the safety of air travel and virtually eliminated error.
How, in such a short time, have they accomplished this?
For starters, they’ve empowered everyone involved in the process of flying to share accountability for the safety of the flight. From the baggage handlers to flight attendants, maintenance crews, pilots, security and to air traffic control, all contribute to making sure my plane took off and landed without a glitch.
And more importantly, any one person along the chain of command would have been empowered to stop my flight if they saw something wrong.
Well, much like in the airline industry, here at TEGH, we all play a role in addressing safety concerns when we see them. In fact, there isn’t a role in the hospital that doesn’t have an impact on safety. We all need to know how and when to complete an incident report and what gets done with them after we complete them. We all need to know how important hand washing is and when we need to do it. We all need to know what we can do to minimize the risk of violence in the workplace.
And we will all have the opportunity to refresh our safety knowledge this week as we celebrate Canadian Patient Safety Week.
Let’s don our gloves, wave our bleach wipes, wash our hands and give a big cheer to celebrating what we do to keep patients safe. We’ll be hosting a number of activities and education sessions to help us brush up on our knowledge.
*Patient Safety Fair, G2 Conference Room, Wednesday October 28th, 11:00 am -2:00 pm
*Lunch & Learns: G2 Conference Room
Monday: Workplace Violence – Physical Manoeuvres Refresh (12:00-12:30 p.m. & 12:30-1:00 p.m.)
Tuesday: Do you hear that? Alarm Fatigue at TEGH (11:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m. & 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
Thursday: Learning from Incident Reporting (11:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m. & 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
Critical Incidents: when do I call my manager? (Monday)
Patient Videos (Tuesday)
Positive Patient ID and Specimen Collection (Thursday)
*CPSI Virtual Forum Webinars: Risk Boardroom
Thursday & Friday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 pm.
Please join us! We all have a role to play to ensure that every patient’s plane takes off and lands safely!
Safety is everyone’s business.
Please join me on Twitter @wolfklassen
By Wolf Klassen, Vice President, Program Support
As I stepped off the elevator to WoodGreen Community Services, I heard the faint strains of old waltz tunes and laughter. It got louder and louder as I approached the community room.
Opening the door, I was greeted by over a dozen seniors. They were all smiles – having a hoot line dancing!
It’s just your typical Tuesday at WoodGreen Community Services.
The group meets weekly as part of the Community Care East York Seniors Centre. The Centre’s seniors program not only keeps participants active, but also socially engaged. Woodgreen is just one example of the services supported through the United Way that helps to keep our community healthy.
This year, after roughly a 10-year hiatus, we’re re-launching a United Way campaign at Toronto East General Hospital. The goal of our campaign is to increase awareness about the United Way and raise funds to support their work.
From October 21 to November 13 you will have the opportunity to participate in events to support the campaign. We’ve chosen to focus our fundraising efforts on “Building Healthy Communities.” This means that money raised will support vital social programs that improve people’s lives and strengthen our communities most in need of support.
Here are some dates to put in your calendars today…and dig for those Toonies now!
- October 21 – $2 “Tooney” Pancake Breakfast in Café on Four – 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. (official launch at 9:15 a.m.)
- October 30 – Haunted House – 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the “mock rooms” on Café on Four
- November 13 – Closing Ceremonies – 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Coxwell Lobby
Throughout the campaign, you can send a colleague a “cookie-gram” and purchase a lollipop for your chance to win one of a number of exciting prizes, including dinners and hotel stays!
You may also choose to make a one-time donation to the United Way or sign up for a pledge (regular payroll donations) online.
We give ourselves to care for patients, families and one another each and every day. It is in the nature of the work that we do.
It’s in our TEGH DNA to give.
Please follow me on Twitter @wolfklassen
By Mitze Mourinho, President, Toronto East General Hospital Foundation
It’s Election Day.
This is your chance to make history by simply taking 20 minutes and casting your ballot.
In this city, there are eight ridings where your vote can make a difference. I’m betting that some of you live in these ridings:
- Don Valley West
- Don Valley East
- Scarborough Southwest
- Scarborough Centre
I also know what some of you may be thinking: why should I bother to vote when it doesn’t seem to make a difference?
Let me tell you a story.
It’s the 2011 General Election. Out of a population of 34 million Canadians, three quarters of us were registered to vote. The other quarter of the population was under 18 years old or wasn’t able to vote for legal reasons.
The breakdown of the 2011 Election looked like this:
- 2% chose the Green Party
- 4% chose the Bloc Quebecois
- 12% chose the Liberals
- 18% chose the NDP
- 24% chose the Conservatives
Can you guess who the remaining 39% chose?
And when you look even closer, only 61% of eligible voters voted. So only 24% of eligible voters voted for our current government.
It was sadly, one of the lowest voter turnouts in Canadian History. If you’ve got a minute, this video explains this story.
So you see, your vote does make a difference. If you’re happy with the current government, let them know. If you’re not, well, let them know too.
Let them know through the ballot box. Today.
As many of you are aware, a few weeks ago, we hosted the major political parties for a discussion on health care. In Canada, the delivery of health care may be a provincial responsibility, but the federal government also plays a significant role in funding health care and shaping policies.
Canada’s 42nd federal election promises to be an interesting race.
Like so many of you, I’ll be tuned in, watching the results and history unfold tonight.
If you need more information about how to cast your ballot, the Elections Canada website has useful resources. Visit http://www.elections.ca/ for information related to:
- Guidance for first time voters and students;
- Information about voter registration;
- Details of where and when to vote.
If you prefer to speak to someone in person, we encourage you to call Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868.
Voting hours run from 9:30am to 9:30pm today.
As Rick Mercer, one of our great Canadian comedians said, “…do what young people around the world are dying to do. Vote.”
Your fellow Canadians are counting on you.
By Linda Young, Director Maternal Newborn & Child and Baby-Friendly Initiative Lead
A few months ago, I was in Red Lake Ontario. I bet you’re scratching your head wondering where that is.
With a population of roughly 4,300 people, Red Lake is just a smidgen of a town about 530 km northwest Thunder Bay.
What was I doing?
I was in Red Lake running our eighteenth Baby-Friendly Implementation workshop. And I remember stopping at the most northern traffic light reflecting on how proud I was. Here I was in a small remote northern Ontario town promoting global, evidence-based practices around breastfeeding.
Did you know that you work in only one of three Baby-Friendly designated hospitals in Ontario?
The Baby-Friendly Initiative is a World Health Organization best practice that has been proven to increase breastfeeding rates and in turn, improve the health of our population.
Getting this designation was no easy feat.
We had to develop new policies, educate staff on breastfeeding and implement practices to better support new families. We’ve partnered with community partners including Public Health to increase consistency of messaging and normalize breastfeeding in our community.
We’re so proud of this work!
To add more icing to the cake, we’ve also received funding from the province to share our knowledge and teach other hospitals and community health services across Ontario to become Baby-Friendly.
In total, we are supporting over 370 organizations across Ontario!
We have called it the BFI Strategy for Ontario, and we’re working in partnership with the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health and the Best Start Resource Centre at Health Nexus.
To date, we’ve criss-crossed the province on planes, trains and automobiles delivering workshops, like the one in Red Lake, to over 25 communities and hundreds of health care providers. We have also presented our work to a provincial Think Tank held by Perinatal Services in British Columbia.
This past week we celebrated World Breastfeeding Week in Canada and we organized our first cross-country Tweet chat #babyfriendlychat. It was a great success and we engaged with 65 people across Canada on Twitter – all spreading the word about what they can do to make their communities more Baby-Friendly.
It is a time for our hospital to celebrate our Baby-Friendly designation and our leadership role in the provincial initiative. Be proud! Let’s encourage our colleagues and partner organizations to adopt Baby-Friendly – together we’re growing a Baby-Friendly Ontario!
By Robert Orr, VP Redevelopment
I’ve always found projects fascinating.
One of my earliest memories is of my father building a 19’ wooden sailboat in our living room when I was 6 years old. I would sit and watch him for hours meticulously planning and gluing the wood boards so they fit together perfectly. I also remember being puzzled that my mother was a lot less enthralled about the whole thing than I was. It was probably my earliest lesson in project management: If you want happy stakeholders, you better make damn sure everybody is “in the boat” so to speak….
The Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre (aka New Patient Care Tower) will be the largest redevelopment project in TEGH’s 86 year history. Although our redevelopment journey will be long, and at times disruptive – another year of planning followed by six years of heavy construction and renovation – it will be worth it!
This project will forever change our organization and the care we provide to our community.
Large health care projects like this come along once in a lifetime, so it’s very important that we get it right. Our redevelopment team has been working hard to ensure the building design will meet our needs both now and for generations to come.
One of the ways we make sure the design is right is by soliciting lots of feedback. For those clinical staff who have attended our many planning sessions or visited our mock-up rooms, thank you! Your contribution is much appreciated and essential to this process. We’re also striving to have ongoing consultations with patients, neighbours and local community groups to collect their comments and incorporate their ideas into plans for the project.
By partnering with the people we serve we’re strengthening our ties and bringing us closer as a community.
As Sarah Downey, CEO said, it takes a village…
The redevelopment team is also striving to minimize future construction risks. One way we’re doing this is by making sure there are no surprises behind the walls or above the ceilings. You may have noticed an increase in workers on ladders looking into ceiling spaces or stalking the basement hallways following pipes and wires. These consultants are proactively mapping out the intricacies of our existing hospital to identify conditions that could cause problems during our project’s demolition, construction and transition.
The process ahead is a long but exciting one. Collectively we have an opportunity to design and build a facility that will support the best patient centered care for our community. If you have any questions or need help getting onboard the redevelopment project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org . The redevelopment team and I look forward to setting sail with you!