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May 16, 2022 Baycrest’s 400+ Nurses – Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses and Nurse Practitioners – play a significant role across our campus in a variety of settings (in-patient, residential, ambulatory, outreach, and virtual), and in their varied roles spanning clinical practice, education, research and administration.  
Nurses support the person, family or group with their physical, psychosocial, behavioural and personal care needs. The Nurse is often the coordinator of care and a strong advocate for the individual and his/her family.  Below, four Nurses from across the Baycrest campus share what their role means to them, and the experiences they try to create for clients.

As we mark National Nursing Week this year, we acknowledge that we are entering the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taxed our society and healthcare system and has had a profound impact on Nurses and the profession here at home and around the globe.

Peter.jpgPeter Masih, Registered Nurse, Advanced Team Leader
Working in palliative care, Peter Masih’s role includes ensuring clients feel more like themselves during a difficult time. Peter recalls having to step in and help a patient shave after he told him he was unable to during a previous treatment. “I told him, I want to make sure you look good.”

“It’s totally different than regular nursing. Whatever time patients have left, I can give them a sense of security,” he explains. Transitioning into palliative care is a stressful time for clients and their families, and a huge part of Peter’s role is making this change easier for everyone. “If I can make their journey peaceful with respect and dignity. I feel satisfaction.”

Peter started working at Baycrest in 1985, as a Personal Support Worker in the original Apotex building. After returning to school to receive his degree in Nursing, he returned to Baycrest, working his way up to his current role. “I would say I grew up at Baycrest,” he says.

Sonia.jpgSonia Cheung, Registered Nurse
Sonia graduated from nursing school three years ago and found her role at Baycrest as a Registered Nurse on the Complex Continuing Care unit. She is grateful to have started her career at Baycrest, a place where she can connect deeply with clients. “You have more time to spend and connect with patients in a way that you don’t really have in acute care situations,” Sonia explains. 
Sonia works in Complex Continuing Care, which focuses on assessment, treatment and care for patients with multiple chronic complex medical conditions and diagnoses. It is common for patients to have longer stays. “When you work with clients you can really make a difference in their daily lives, no matter how big or small,” she explains.

Sonia is often required to act as an advocate for patients, to ensure they receive the best quality of care.“Many of the patients on the unit have tracheostomies and wounds. Showing compassion and advocating for them is vital to meet their needs." 

Sean.jpgSean Noronha, Registered Nurse
Sean Noronha learned an important skill in his career from the nurses he saw as a child. Sean was a rambunctious kid who was regularly in the hospital with childhood injuries, “It was just the way the nurses connected with me, and were so patient.”

Working as a registered Nurse in Continuing Complex Care, many of the clients Sean sees have tracheostomies, which compromises their ability to communicate with their care team directly.

Sean uses his earned patience to connect with families, just as much as clients. “It’s always interesting to get to know clients from their families; it really helps to connect with them.”

Those small connections can lead to big breakthroughs in client comfort. In a recent case, Sean learned a mandarin-speaking client loved music and listened to Chinese opera as a child – now the patient can be offered those operas as entertainment via YouTube.

Aysha.jpgAysha Bandali, Nurse Practitioner
“I want to know as much as I can about them in order to develop a strong provider/patient relationship: their likes/dislikes, hobbies, past traumas, love for pets, current needs and their home environment. This all helps to tell me their story,” Aysha Bandali, Nurse Practitioner with the Integrated Community Care Team (ICCT) at Baycrest says about her role. “It is incredible how much more information you can glean about your patient by visiting them in their homes verses seeing them in clinic.”

The ICCT brings together existing primary, community, specialty, and acute care resources into one team to care for the most complex clients in their home. Aysha comes to client homes to provide assessment and treatment plans.

“You don’t always have a team to confer with or monitors/machines to rely on; you are solely relying on your assessment skills, clinical judgement and intuition, and while that sounds daunting it is also extremely rewarding when you can positively impact someone’s life who is counting on you.”
Aysha has been a Nurse Practitioner since 2013, but has worked on this team since its inception, originally as an Advanced Practice Nurse.

“I knew it was what I wanted to do after having the opportunity to work closely with primary care NPs and witnessing what the full scope looked like, the autonomy and increased responsibility, and how it improved access to care for those in need, all while holding on to the core nursing value of holistic and person-centred care.”

While the autonomy of being a NP drew her to the challenge, it’s the love of her team that keeps her going: “To be completely honest, my team is amazing! I work on a wonderful team of interprofessionals who support one another in managing the needs of our homebound frail seniors in the community.”
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