Aug 27, 2020 | Mental Health, Leadership
September’s blog is written by one of our team members here at HDGH, Stacey Slobodnick. We are so fortunate to have Stacey and a whole team of experts here at HDGH in our Regional Children’s Centre (RCC) program to help guide us through the challenges of parenting in the time of COVID.
As a grandmother to the 3 shorties Allie, Nate and Corny, and mom to their mom Kate, I’ve thought a lot about what happens in the next couple of weeks. Our family has talked a lot about the question of what to do about school. It’s been tough for us and likely tough for you all to sort out what is the “right” decision to make. Should the kids go back? Should they do the online option? What about their mental health? What about our family health? There are so many questions and not a lot of answers. Stacey talks to us all from many years of professional experience and as a parent herself. The tips here are practical and apply no matter what decision you and your family make regarding school. They help to remind me personally of the need to talk openly with the kids about all this and not to assume they are ok because I am. Reading this I know that our family will be ok – I hope it helps you too :) My gratitude to Stacey and the outstanding team at RCC who do so much for so many of our most vulnerable citizens – our kids. I am privileged to know you all. Thank you! Jan How to support a child as they return to school- Regional Children’s Centre social worker Stacey Slobodnick shares 6 great tips on how to manage this stressful time Hi! My name is Stacey Slobodnick and I am a social worker. I’ve had extensive training over the past 26 years in behavior management, emotion regulation, play therapy, trauma and attachment, anxiety intervention, bereavement, and divorce issues. I am also a parent of two teenage boys who turned out to be my best teachers in the area of child development and understanding the challenges of parenting. With 21 years of experience in children’s mental health, I currently hold the position of Clinical Lead at HDGH Regional Children’s Center for the Outpatient teams. In this role, I have the distinct pleasure of providing clinical support to the exceptional staff at RCC who work with this community’s children, youth, and families who are involved in outpatient services. With the back to school season quickly approaching, we are aware that this September is likely imposing some new challenges beyond the ones that typically are experienced in previous years. In general, going back to school for many families can be challenging: reintroducing and enforcing routines and structure, facing social issues such as bullying or “fitting in”, meeting academic demands, test anxiety, scheduling difficulties (balancing work and children’s extracurricular activities) and securing child care arrangements. These are the challenges when COVID is NOT present. Getting back into routines and meeting classroom expectations were not easy following a 2 month summer break – what can we expect from a 6 month one?! How do we ensure our children will be safe when they are in the school setting? What are the best ways for me to support my child as he or she returns to school? The following tips can help.
5. Prepare for routines before the first day of school. Talk about your family’s expectations for mornings and after-school routines a week ahead of time. Begin to adjust bedtimes and screentimes to support those routines. Shop together for school supplies and lunch/snack items. Encourage your child to wear their masks at home for increasingly longer periods. This can help troubleshoot challenges that may surface throughout their school day. 6. Focus on the positive. This is absolutely integral. Keeping safe during a pandemic has created a lot of restrictions, change, and uncertainty. You and your child may be full of “what ifs”. Normalize their feelings. Talk about times when you were uncertain but overcame a challenging situation. Share how you cope with anxiety (unless it’s drinking wine, that won’t be helpful). When we don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s good to focus on what present opportunities are around us. Look for gratitude, help others, exercise self-care. Reflect on effort, not on outcome. Be flexible and patient about academic demands. A positive experience is more important than grades. Remember myself and colleagues at RCC are ready and here to help. Families initiate services with RCC when they have concerns about their child’s moods, behaviours, social interactions, family relationships, or if they or their child have experienced a traumatic event or are struggling with coping with any given situation. We support families by providing them with consultation or therapeutic intervention to help guide them on a pathway that promotes recovery, a healthy well-being, and a sense of hope. This looks like
All of our services can be accessed by phone or video session. We are excited to begin offering in-person sessions as well on a gradual basis. If you are interested in seeking services for your child or family, you simply call 519-257-KIDS (5437) and a receptionist will help direct you. For an immediate session or ongoing services, the receptionist will take your information to open a file. You can expect a call the same day, often within the hour, to initiate services. You will be connected with a social worker who will complete a brief assessment about your child or family’s needs and offer you choices about which of our many services may be most beneficial for your situation. We strive to collaborate with families about the goals they choose to identify, which services they feel are the best fit, and which modality (video, phone, or in-person) they feel the most comfortable with. We work with parents as our partners on this journey of helping their child or family. For more information visit www.hdgh.org/RegionalChildrensCentre
Jul 31, 2020 | Mental Health, Leadership, Community and Partnerships, Faces of HDGH
YAC Group Shot
The last few months have been a testament to the fact that the world is ever changing in unexpected ways. But, it has also been a testament to the great importance of connection, conversation and community that is so crucial to us as human beings. Even before COVID-19 began to sweep across nations, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) recognized the importance of including youth in the conversation of healthcare, their healthcare and the future of our community’s healthcare. I am incredibly proud of this initiative which adds a tremendously important voice to the healthcare conversation – one that frankly is not as “loud” as it should be. You will read two such voices today as you hear from Kaitlyn and Kat – two remarkable young women who are the future of our community in so many ways. Courage, compassion, collaboration and resilience have already been asked for from these young people and thankfully they answered the call with oomph J Enjoy this months blog from our Youth Advisory Council (YAC) that speaks to an important aspect of our individual and collective humanity; the desire and the need for togetherness – of supporting each other – of being vulnerable and being human.
The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) was established in 2018 to provide all staff members of HDGH with feedback on hospital programs, services, new initiatives and community engagement from the perspective of youth of Windsor-Essex. Since its establishment, the YAC has grown to 14 dedicated members who all bring differing experiences, perspectives and knowledge to council discussions and initiatives.
YAC has been committed to volunteering within the community to build powerful relationships with other youth and organizations for youth. In addition to providing consistent feedback to all areas of HDGH and contributing to the social media channels, they are also currently in the process of beginning a new initiative, Wellness Through Grace. This initiative will allow students to have resources, knowledge and support to be able to better care for their own mental health, support their loved ones and guide others in the right direction when it comes to wellness.
Kaitlyn McCarthy and Katarina Kolobaric are the co-chairs of the YAC and have been members since its establishment in 2018. As co-chairs, Kaitlyn and Katarina share the role of oversight, guidance and organization for biweekly meetings, initiatives and community outreach. They feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work alongside the wonderful individuals that are their council members as they help build a better future for youth, by youth.
A Note from Katarina:
As an individual who is always going through life at full speed, the onset of COVID-19 was not an easy adjustment. Essentially everything that I had planned for the next six months, from concerts to conferences and all the extracurricular events in between, was cancelled. Life had come to an abrupt halt, making me skid from the speed I was going at and come to a complete stop.
In all honesty, the very beginning of the pandemic was the most difficult on my mental health. I didn’t really know what to do with myself or how to really comprehend the vast degree to which this virus was affecting the world. I felt very detached from everything and everyone and like I had lost my purpose. Without the hustle and bustle of in-person University, my lifeguarding job and my other various involvements, it came down to realizing I literally had no hobbies because I never had time for them. It took a little while, but I was finally able to start feeling like myself again. Though I intensely missed the ability to see my loved ones, to hug them and talk to them without it being through a computer screen, I made peace with what I had.
My mentality was always able to shift positively when I came back to the root of my gratitude - being so thankful for my health and the health of all those around me. Also, being thankful for technology and its ability to still give us some form of connection helped me get through the more extreme feelings of social isolation. What really helped me was establishing a routine. Making a list of a few things to do every day made me feel more productive and purposeful. Adding on other hobbies that I had dropped because of lack of personal time, like actually reading for pleasure, inspired me to seek other things that I could do, simply because they made me happy. Having hobbies and setting tasks for yourself is great, but doing nothing is fine too. I learned to be more kind and patient with myself when I just didn’t have the energy to do anything on certain days.
There is no right way to respond to a pandemic. It has been scary, frustrating and extremely taxing on everyone. Allow yourself to take all the time you need, give yourself credit for just getting out of bed. Appreciate the little things. If we can take away anything from this pandemic, it should be that we should always take the time to slow life down a bit. To not take for granted the things that we have and to spread more love and kindness to the people in our lives.
We will most likely never go back to the “normal” we had before. But, that doesn’t have to be a negative thing. We are most definitely capable of coming out of this stronger than ever - resilient and ready to take on the next challenge. Continue to become more in touch with yourselves and learn as much as you can. We are powerful beyond measure and will make it through this, together.
A Note from Kaitlyn:
In March 2020, I stood amongst 100 other nursing students waiting for a midterm to begin, shoulder to shoulder. I had just gotten home from Toronto where I shared a milkshake for dessert at a restaurant and watched a film at the theatre next to strangers. Days later, I said an indefinite good-bye to my closest loved ones and gathered with my family to watch the Prime Minister make his first address regarding COVID-19. In the beginning, it felt surreal, like normal would be back and I could pretend that nothing happened. But soon still hasn’t come.
In March I was prepared to care for my community in the midst of such uncertainty. As an aspiring nurse and a dedicated member of my community, I knew being on the frontlines was where I needed and wanted to be. I was hired in mid-March as a Patient Screener at Erie Shores Healthcare and then signed on to be part of their Migrant Worker COVID Outreach Assessment Team. While working, I finished up my semester of nursing practical experience and lectures, online.
Ever since the beginning, I have struggled immensely with things I never would have expected to struggle with. I miss not being able to hug my loved ones or be surrounded by people smiling, laughing and talking, in shopping malls or at school. I am the one to tell families that they can’t see their loved ones in the hospital and I am the one to give doctors and nurses their designated personal protective equipment for the day. I have held the hand of a young migrant worker through multiple layers of gloves as he was swabbed for COVID-19, pale with fear. I don’t handle all of it well, there are still many days I cry or shake with anger. However, there are also days that my cheeks hurt from smiling and my mind is at peace.
Driving past the supportive signs that line the roads on my way to work and seeing the posts on social media about community togetherness helps me get through the bad days. Having the time to connect with old friends over the phone helps me get through the bad days. Finally focusing on myself and doing things I enjoy like going for a walk, listening to old music, painting and being with those in my household helps me get through the bad days. However, what has helped me the most and what continues to help me the most is knowing that we are all in this together.
No matter what, we are all affected by COVID-19. It may be in different ways but, at the end of the day, we are all learning, we are all trying, we are all doing our best and we will recover from this, together. So, for those of you who are at a similar place as I am, my advice to you is to take each day one step at a time. Take this time to focus on yourself, reach out to others to encourage them and support your community. The world is not going to move on without you, we are the future of the world, we will move as it does. But, as you find yourself in the unknown; watch, learn and start to see how you can be the change as a generation of the future.
Jul 2, 2020 | Leadership, Community and Partnerships
I am 60 years old. Some days I feel every day of this age and others I wonder how it could possibly be that I’m the old lady my mom used to be. Some of you are asking “what is she talking about?” or/maybe (hopefully J) “wow she doesn’t look a day over 59.” lol
Age is relevant I think because this month’s blog is some advice for new grads from a mature, experienced, white haired grandmother and CEO – me. I’ve never written an advice column for grads before but this years’ graduating class (at all levels of education) is a unique one in so many ways. Graduates are setting off into a whole new, and somewhat uncertain, world. With this reality, we thought some advice might be helpful. To all the grads out there reading this, take what resonates and leave all the rest behind.
Be Bold. Wow profound eh? I know many say this but what does it really mean? For me it means have the courage of your convictions and stepping up and speaking out. It has taken me a long time to get to the place where I know that I MUST speak out on issues and concerns that hurt my heart. For too long I’ve felt that my job, my role, my profession, my own insecurities about being criticized or shut down was more relevant than speaking out for what I believe. Don’t be me – be you. Be bold and audacious. Speak out loudly and strongly. Find friends who believe what you believe and be part of a movement for change because we all know (even us old folks) that we didn’t do it well and you have work to do to make it better.
Be a change maker. This one is super important. The world is in a mess. We have children with no homes, families with no food, people with no hope, cities with no diversity, countries with no leadership and the world with no real plan to save ourselves. But everywhere there are people who are trying to change this and make it better. Be one of those. If all you can do is support, then support. If you can march – march. If you can be an organizer for change – organize. If you can lead a movement – lead. Whatever you find in yourself that can make the world a better place, share it broadly. We all need you to do that.
You’re all graduating and starting a journey. I hope you have a destination in mind but if not, don’t worry, life has a way of leading you where you need to go. Most of the building blocks of the people you will become are already there. Some of those blocks are strong and firmly embedded because of the love and support you have had from your family. Some of you however have not had that positive family experience and you will have to look to build that strength within yourselves and the people you choose to make your family. Choose wisely and be selective. The hundreds of “friends” you have on your social media channels are not the people that will help you as you build out your life and your future. Find the few that care – the few that love you no matter what – the few that will stand by you when you mess up – the few that know how to forgive. Those are the ones that will help you to build your foundation. The rest are entertainment.
Maya Angelou wrote that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I try to live my life with this in mind. I didn’t always – for too long I felt that my words were important and my accomplishments mattered. I know now that when I die the people who will remember me will be the people who loved me and who I loved in return. That is what truly matters grads – loving and being loved in return.
Now go be the change I know you will be J
Jun 9, 2020 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Allied Health Staff
This guest blog comes to you from Cassandra Leblanc one of HDGH therapy professionals. We had talked a little bit about the pandemic pay decision by government following one of the staff huddles I did on the units and after some back and forth by email decided that Cassandra’s voice needed to be shared in this format. In her blog Cassandra speaks to the role of therapists in our health system and why they matter, why they are important to our patients and to our community, and why they are ESSENTIAL. I personally and professionally am proud of our team here at HDGH and am pleased to provide a venue for their worth to be understood by those who may not “get it”. To us at HDGH they are indeed essential!
Thanks Cassandra for accepting the invitation to blog!Jan
The Ontario government recently released a revised, and final, list of healthcare staff eligible for pandemic pay. As an occupational therapist in a rehabilitation hospital, it was not only disappointing to hear that allied health professionals were once again omitted from this list, but demoralizing to realize that the Ontario government does not view our work as, “essential”. I am not alone in expressing that occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language pathologists, and certified rehabilitation assistants are concerned with the impact that this decision may have on how our services and our professions will be regarded in the future. We fear that the decision to omit allied health from pandemic pay may devalue our work in the eyes of the government, the public, and our interprofessional colleagues. With this concern in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to shed light on the unique value of allied health professionals in a rehabilitation context. We often joke that you only learn what a therapist truly does when you need therapy. While our roles are so diverse that it is impossible to capture the full scope of allied health in one blog post, I hope that this provides some semblance of perspective.
Allied health, or as you may know us individually, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language pathologists, and certified rehabilitation assistants, are healthcare professionals that focus primarily on function. Through therapy we ensure patients are able to return home to care for themselves and their families, to return to work as productive members of society, and to enjoy activities as they had prior to hospitalization. Allied health works closely with patients and families to safely and efficiently discharge patients to reduce hospital lengths of stay, and have been shown through research to be pivotal in preventing secondary complications and costly re-admissions to hospital. As the Chicago Tribune put it, "It's one thing to survive the infection, but what's next?" We are the healthcare professionals who help patients to walk, talk, and care for themselves. We help patients regain movement of their limbs, compensate for cognitive difficulties, and educate on living life to the fullest with disabilities or chronic health conditions. We help patients return to work, enjoy leisure activities and sport, and enable them to age in place safely. In short, allied health professionals support patients to regain their quality of life after illness or injury.
This brings my discussion to where we are now, in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Ontario government has neglected to acknowledge therapists’ value, there has been a steadily growing need for therapy throughout the pandemic. As professionals who focus on both recovery of illness and adaptation to disability, we have proven to be well suited to meet the needs of COVID-19 patients as they face new and debilitating symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, globalised weakness, and cognitive difficulties after long term ventilator use. In addition to our evolving role with the illness itself, we also continue to care for our pre-COVID-19 caseloads and ensure swift and safe discharge to help keep hospital capacity low in the event that the pandemic takes a turn for the worst. As you can imagine, it is impossible to provide the care we do without coming into close contact with our patients. Therapists and rehabilitation assistants are providing invaluable care with the same passion, courage, and resilience as the professions included in pandemic pay. All while donning the same protective equipment and braving the same risks of contracting COVID-19.
We are proud of our chosen professions. We are proud to put our patients first, no matter the risks. We are proud to help our patients flourish and find hope in the face of adversity. It is baffling to me how the Ontario government does not consider therapists as, “essential.” All I can think is that the government, like much of our public, is simply unaware of the services we provide. Occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language pathologists, and certified rehabilitation assistants may not be the first health professionals that come to mind when thinking of hospital staff, but it is my hope that by making our voices heard, our value and the services we provide on a daily basis will be considered essential during future healthcare decisions.
Below are a few articles highlighting therapy and their role during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Jun 1, 2020 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
HDGH PFAC Chair, Barb Masotti
I’ve invited a very important colleague, friend and HDGH Champion as a contributor for June’s Blog. As you can imagine, the last few months have been full of decisions, changes and emotions. HDGH would not be the organization it is, or have had the ability to lead through this COVID-19 pandemic without our Patient and Family Advisory Council, or PFAC as we often refer to it, ensuring that the voice of patients and their loved ones are at the centre of our decisions. This was important to our organization pre pandemic, and even more important now, during a time when our organizational decisions have such a direct impact on our patients, clients and their loved ones.
I am pleased to e-introduce you to Barb Masotti, the Chair of our HDGH PFAC as my June Guest Blogger.
PS: If you feel as though joining our PFAC would interest you, please visit https://www.hdgh.org/en/pfac for more information on how to become involved.
I’d like to start with heartfelt thanks to all who work for Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. Your commitment to uphold the values of respect, teamwork, social responsibility and compassion at the hospital makes my heart sing. You have worked hard, extremely hard, during this most difficult time – COVID-19. You have shifted gears, redeployed staff, accepted new assignments, reorganized everything and found ways to accomplish the work that needed to be done. Your continued dedication has fulfilled the goal of keeping patients, families, staff and community Safe. During these arduous times there can be no greater goal. On behalf of all the members of the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.
I’ve been a community member of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare’s Patient and Family Advisory Council for five years. HDGH made a commitment to ensure that the Patient/Family Voice would be heard and valued. I can assure you that has occurred and is still occurring during this pandemic. At the onset of COVID-19, HDGH created a variety of new committees to deal with everchanging situations. The Patient/Family Voice is part of numerous discussions and is involved in decision making. HDGH quickly began to formulate visitor restrictions and PFAC was consulted from the beginning. Currently, we have PFAC members reviewing possible steps in a Tiered Visitation Policy as HDGH looks at reopening services. Some members were invited to the initial meetings that established the Family Support Team. The Ethics-COVID-19 meetings has a PFAC presence. In April, HDGH’s PFAC sent a letter of appreciation and thanks to all and in May was part of a video giving thanks for Nurses’ Week. The newly formed CEO Advisory Council had its first teleconference meeting and “yes” a PFAC member sits on this council also. As situations evolve, so does the involvement of the PFAC. HDGH continues to maintain that the PFAC is not just a “token”, and we want to applaud their leadership in hearing the Patient and Family Voice.
But…there is one more novel committee that I want to talk about and that’s the HDGH led Regional Patient Advocate and PFAC Committee. It is comprised of five regional hospitals; Erie Shores Healthcare, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Bluewater Health, Windsor Regional Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. This committee has come together to share strategies and experiences. Hopefully, this is the first step in initiating a healthcare system where the “gaps” are smaller and patients’ journeys are “smoother.” Yes, HDGH’s Patient and Family Voice is there too.
Now, you might be wondering what the future holds for the Patient and Family Advisory Council. Well, we’ve had our first “Zoom” meeting to catch up with everyone’s lives and there are more to come. It’s different, that’s for sure, and we long for the human connection that we’ve made with each other. We’re all finding our way – a new way for now.
I wish you all Strength, Health and Affection,
Barb Masotti, Chair of HDGH Patient and Family Advisory Council
May 11, 2020 | Leadership, Community and Partnerships, Faces of HDGH
Dec 2, 2019 | Leadership, Community and Partnerships
I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately and what it truly means to have a positive impact on others. I think this subject is especially still top of mind due to HDGH’s recent launch of the iPledge campaign where I committed to 60 intentional acts of kindness in recognition of my 60 years on the planet. But to me, it’s more important than that.
It’s also very much about the season we’re in - a season of giving. Like most probably, it’s because of Christmas and Thanksgiving, two holidays where my own internal compass more naturally orients to others. So this month’s blog will highlight just that - kindness, giving and this internal compass can instead guide us all year long and not just only during special holidays.
Why be kind? What does it matter? Does anyone even notice? Does anyone even care? The answers are simple and complicated all at the same time. Yes, kindness is noticed and yes, it matters to a whole lot of people. But often it is a bit more complicated.
Kindness is sometimes mistaken for weakness.
Consider this quote by the Dalai Lama, “Don't ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance or my kindness for weakness. Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” Think about how you define strength – does kindness, compassion and tolerance come to mind? If not, why not? How do you characterize strength? Do you think of a military-type figure or the type of strength demonstrated by the Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa? What is your mental model of a strong person and do you believe kindness is a factor in that strength?
I personally believe that my own internal strength – that I have called on in many difficult years of my life – comes from a deeply rooted desire to make a difference for others. It’s why nursing was such a good fit for me as a career choice and why I believe I’m “home” here at HDGH.
One aspect of kindness for me is the personal orientation of giving of yourself to others; either in time, energy, acts of generosity and goodwill or dollars. I do all of these regularly, year round and with tremendous personal satisfaction. I wasn’t always in this place though – for a long time my “giving energy” was oriented to special events like birthdays and anniversaries and holidays like Thanksgiving within the family and Christmas for others in the community. Over the years, and as my children and my knowledge of the needs in our community grew, I became more oriented to a philosophy of giving year round. How you give of yourself will be personal and it should be meaningful. Perhaps you volunteer in the community, perhaps you foster children or animals, perhaps you donate to our Foundation, perhaps you are a regular contributor to your church, mosque or synagogue. What matters isn’t WHAT you do instead that you commit to GIVE of yourself to help others.
For this coming season and as you enter 2020, I encourage you to please consider being intentionally kind to someone else. When you do this please share it with me and others through social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or can even just simply use the hashtag #iPledgeChallenge) or by sending me an email. You can also drop by and tell me all about it when I’m ringing the bells for the Salvation Army kettle campaign on December 6th at 2 pm at Devonshire Mall (by Shoppers) …. I’ll be watching for you. I look forward to hearing all about your own experiences with the joy that comes from doing something for someone else.
I wish you all a happy and giving holiday season and hope that you find all the love and joy you deserve.
Nov 1, 2019 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Something we’ve always admired from the CEO in Janice is her honesty. We always know when asking Janice a question or for her feedback that we’ll get nothing short of the truth.
As our HDGH’s communication team, this is something we value in her leadership. Her approachability, transparency and honesty is not just something felt by the Comms Team but qualities also honoured by our staff, patients and partners. For this month’s blog, we thought it would be fun to use this honesty to our advantage through a Q & A style blog; Real questions, real answers with very little fine tuning from behind the scenes :)
We hope you enjoy getting to know our CEO like we do.
-The HDGH Comms Team
Driven. I have been told by a lot of folks over the years that they perceive me that way and I’ve come to see it as a positive descriptor. I know where I’m going, what I have to do and I rarely get distracted from those two things.
Years ago I would have answered differently but now I believe success is about love; loving and being loved is for me the most important gift we are given as humans. I am a very successful woman on this level as I am surrounded by people who love me and whom I love in return – life is good.
This one is tough because I made SO VERY MANY mistakes. One that stands out though given what I do now is not asking for help when I struggled with figuring things out after my son was born. In hindsight I was likely experiencing post-partum depression but at that time I didn’t know it and felt that as a nurse I should have it all figured out. I didn’t and as a result I wasn’t my best self for my family – especially my new son.
Managing the demands that come with the job – demands on my personal time and my family. For instance, I’ll be with my grandkids or my hubby and folks will approach me to chat about HDGH and the services we provide. Sometimes these are good conversations (mostly) but once in a while not so much! I think my family has become used to it and I’m working on that too.
So much but two things stand out for me right now. First, is the success of our Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). I’m passionate about patient/family voice in healthcare and the work that’s happened here is inspirational. We’ve recruited some amazing folks who are making a real difference for our community and I’m really proud of that.
The second, and equally important, is the introduction and uptake from staff on the Unit Based Councils across the hospital. One of the reasons I got into management in the first place was because I felt I needed a voice – I needed to have a say in what happened in my work and in my workplace. To have these councils working now and making positive change is incredibly validating that HDGH is on the right track to creating a sustainable staff voice.
Neither. They are equally important. Instinct without expertise is guessing and expertise without instinct is rote performance. You need both, sprinkled with a whole lot of humility, kindness, willingness to be wrong and ability to laugh at yourself.
So many people really have inspired me over the years. It’s hard to choose just one. So I’ll take this question and say that as a female leader I look to other female leaders for inspiration and frankly, for the first time in my many years on this planet, there are so many women leaders on the world, national, provincial and local regional stage that it’s hard to pick just one. So in that order I’m inspired by the following women:
Globally, Angela Merkel who is a rock star world leader. She gets things done and takes no “stuff” from bullies disguised as Presidents.
Nationally, Elizabeth May who is knowledgeable, intelligent, prepared, authentic and not afraid to say she doesn’t know everything but what she does know she really really knows.
Provincially, I have to say I really admire Julia Hanigsberg who is the CEO of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto. She’s down to earth, social, kind and good at what she does. Best of all, she advocates for kids! Nothing is more inspirational to me than that.
Locally, lots of women inspire me every day to be a better leader and many of them work for HDGH. I won’t name them because they all know who they are :)
Stop taking yourself so seriously – everything doesn’t need to happen the way you think it should happen. Be a little less tightly wound and relax a bit more about where you are and what you’re doing. Life will happen. You don’t have to have it all figured out today. Oh and buy stock in a funny little company called Apple when you get the chance :)
Hug my grandkids. Multiple times.
From everybody who works here, gets care here or supports us in some way or another. Ideas come from commitment, compassion and collaboration. Nobody has all the answers and the best ideas come when we listen to each other.
Taking time to do all this stuff I’m talking about here – listening, building relationships and networks with others. Listening to the advice of others whom I admire and most importantly passing on the lessons I’ve learned to others. When I mentor young leaders, I always grow and learn a lot. That’s the beauty of growing old - learning that growth comes not by forcing it but by making room for it.
Oct 1, 2019 | Leadership
Hi all. What a wonderful summer – one that began with our amazing Accreditation and continued with long, fun-filled days with my grandchildren and my mama on the back deck reminiscing about family and friends from our shared past and more. I am blessed and extremely grateful for that.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that the past few months weren’t like that for everyone. Over the summer, members of my personal family went through serious illness while members of our HDGH family experienced significant loss, pain and illness. Add to that the external and rather chaotic world we’re presently living in, with the news constantly filled with climate change, political instability, death and disease. I want to spend a bit of time talking about how I personally manage these tough times and start a dialogue about what we need to look at within HDGH in helping you all do the same.
Like many, I work a lot of hours, sometimes I don’t have dinner with my family and there are weeks when I feel as though there is barely time to breathe. At times like this, it can take very little to upset my emotional or intellectual balance which is so important to maintain for my ongoing mental health. Over the years I’ve built a system of sorts that helps me to work through these times and regain my balance in order to keep moving forward. After all, dealing with change or loss is an inevitable part of life. At some point, we will all experience varying degrees of setback.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a mental health practitioner and I’m not attempting to tell you all what you should do with mental illnesses like anxiety disorders or depression. I’m talking about resilience –the ability to cope with stress and hardship; filling a reservoir of strength to draw from to carry you through without falling apart.
Here are a few things that I do to make sure that reservoir is always full:
While writing this blog I thought it would be useful to share a link to a highly readable article from Harvard Business Review that speaks to finding and building resilience at work https://wisdomlabs.com/ and this 90 second rules (a personal fav) on mindfulness.
It’s something we need to talk more about at HDGH – how can we work together to build organizational resilience through supporting ongoing development of personal resilience among our 1,200 or so committed people? One way is by this week’s official launch of our Peer Support Team – a group of trained HDGH staff members who are able to assist their fellow colleagues in crisis or group crisis intervention. The HDGH Peer Support Team is trained to help our staff work through any problem, or issue that is creating stress or turmoil at work.
In closing, the jobs we do are hard at times and our personal lives can also be challenging and painful. Building our muscles of resilience is a good way to face life’s obstacles head on whether it’s at work or home.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions!
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