First Place Winner: Neil McBride
Staff Nurse, Paediatric Critical Care Unit (PCCU)
London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC)
Neil McBride has worked in the PCCU for more than 20 years as a staff nurse, a Paediatric and Neonatal Transport Team member, a dedicated member of several committees, and the innovator and champion of many creative and visionary initiatives within LHSC. He has been a passionate advocate for children, families, and staff since before his LHSC journey. He is a conscientious activist, an enthusiastic preceptor of staff and students, a creative and trusted colleague, and an outstanding nursing leader. We would like to introduce you to Neil McBride, whose legacy can be summed up in three simple but meaningful words; hope, believe, inspire.
At the bedside of children who are suffering from life threatening illnesses, Neil provides exceptional care to his patients and their families. He is a dedicated and passionate advocate for them at their most vulnerable moments. Neil is the nurse that families request to be with them for their final precious hours with their children. He has the ability to build strong and trusting relationships very quickly through his authentic, calm, gentle, and caring presence. The number of letters and cards from families that include special appreciation for Neil is unprecedented. He has been asked to provide eulogies for children, to serve as a pall bearer, to serve as Co-MC with a former patient at a Family Centered Care Conference and the list goes on.
Even amidst heartache and adversity, Neil is a leader that instills hope for others. Following the death of his infant grandson, Owen, in the PCCU, Neil and his family supported the PCCU Memory Box Program initiative: a program that provides a hand-made memory box and end of life memories for families. A cart, donated to the unit by the family in memory of Own, holds supplies for creating lasting end-of-life memories for other bereaved families. He has presented at conferences on creating memories at end-of-life, and shared his story as a grand-parent speaker at the Children’s Hospital Memorial. He always promotes a message of hope and meaning in the face of loss and heartache. His wisdom borne from the pain of lived experience extends to the bedsides of the patients and families that he cares for as well and they treasure it.
Neil is respected by his peers for leading or growing change initiatives. During the ’90s, Neil and two colleagues started the Humour Team, with a goal of bringing laughter, cheer, and hope to patients, families and staff. A humour cart was designed to bring entertaining experiences to patients and families at the bedside. An entire day was dedicated to humour initiatives at the hospital in the late ‘90s; a novel idea at the time that was covered by all local media. A Humour Night, an annual comedy show, was held for many years. Staff were invited to share creative and entertaining acts, created by staff for staff. This unique experience was a much welcomed opportunity for fellowship, stress relief, and fun! Neil even managed to share these initiatives with other community organizations through outreach education about humour.
Neil is always the mastermind behind creative cards or jokes in the unit, when appropriate, bringing much needed levity to a very stressful environment. He was an instrumental part of the PCCU Earth Angel program and his ingenious ideas made him the most popular angel of all!
Over the years, he created props for conferences that brought meaning and energy to each unique event. Whether a spectacular train that reached six feet tall and stretching the entire width of an amphitheater to bring The Polar Express theme alive at a Palliative Care Conference, or a pirate ship built to share the story of Peter Pan for a Family Centered Care Conference, he never fails to bring magic and mystery to learning. Dressed as a train conductor, Captain Hook, or a chauffeur, he is a conference Master of Ceremonies that is forever remembered by those who attend!
Neil achieves results that improve the organization in a way that benefits everyone. He is a passionate advocate for workplace safety. He was a leader in the transition of the transport team to a dedicated RN/RRT model. He along with a colleague thoroughly researched all aspects of occupational health and safety and advocated for appropriate training and attire for the team members. These initiatives created the foundational safety concepts for the team that still exist today. For this work, Neil and his colleague were awarded the Scott Dumaresq Memorial LHSC Award for Safety in 2005.
Recently, Neil initiated a PCCU Safety Checklist in order to meet Ministry standards, after identifying gaps that had the potential to jeopardize patient safety. Every nurse now completes the checklist at the beginning of their shift to ensure appropriate patient identification, the delivery of accurate treatments and medications, and the presence of appropriate equipment to provide excellent care.
He spear-headed a collaborative effort by staff, management, and physicians to explore ideas to improve patient safety in the face of budget constraints. The overwhelming buy-in created a unanimous effort; unprecedented in the unit to date. Neil never gives up, always believing that we can do better together.
Neil motivates people towards a vision; at home, in the hospital and within the community. Before the new millennium, Neil and his family took the opportunity to learn about significant events of past decades. With patches illustrated by his children depicting these events, they created a beautiful memory quilt which hangs outside of the PCCU to educate, comfort, and inspire those who come through the doors.
Neil inspires confidence and enthusiasm. When given the choice, students and new staff members almost exclusively request Neil as their mentor because he leads and teaches by example, in a universally inclusive, non-judgmental, supportive, and engaging manner.
As one nursing graduate noted, “I recently started in the PCCU and Neil was my preceptor. Not only is Neil an exceptional teacher, he is a fantastic nurse who is passionate about excellent patient care. I am consistently amazed by how much wisdom and experience Neil is able to share with all members of our inter-professional team. After many years at the bedside, we often hear about nurses becoming burnt out, but Neil is always positive, even bringing humour to the most difficult of times.” Neil was awarded Preceptor of the Year by the Western University for his outstanding preceptorship; a role that he welcomes every year without exception!
He is trusted and respected by everyone on the team. As one attending physician stated, “Neil definitely demonstrates leadership qualities. It doesn’t matter how complex and critical or straightforward and stable the patient is, his care is always exemplary. He treats everyone with respect, dignity, and patience, whether a student, a fellow nurse, an attending physician, or a manager. He inspires confidence in everyone who is lucky enough to interact with him. He leads by example-which may be the best kind of leader of all.”
In the community, Neil volunteers at a facility that houses retired greyhounds coming from the U.S. before they are adopted. His passion sparked the interest of his colleagues who donated quilts, food, and toys to welcome the dogs to their new home.
Neil McBride brings a unique blend of compassion, creativity, humour, and professionalism to patients, families, and members of the inter-professional team in a way that inspires peace, hope, and healing. He is an exceptional advocate, leader, mentor, teacher, role model, and humanitarian and someone who, in his authentically humble manner, would deny what we all know to be true: Neil is truly a nursing hero!
Celina Siemer, RN
Dr. Cory Anderson
Dr. Ali Al Harbi
Kate Earley, RN
Nellie DeWit, RN
Julie Burford, RN
Charlotte Wise, RN
Sherry Bennett, RN
Shannon Hogeterp, RN
Cheline Lalande, RN
Lori Smith, RN
Brandy Martin, RN
Laura Doyle, RN
Jody Garant, RN
Joanne Perrin, RN
Sebrina Shearing, RN
Laura Wherry, RN
Michelle Cego, RN
Heather Davidson, RN
Julie Brett, RN
Kim Petteplace, RN
Michelle Scott, RN
Lorraine Dixon, RN
Jon Hogeterp, RN
Barb Graham, RN
Ray St. John, RN
Michelle Mantelli, RN
Deanna Masterson, RN
Jodie Demelo, RN
Chantal Singh, RN
Sabrina Wilkins, RN
Colleen Breen, RN
Dr. Ram Singh, MD (Letter of support)
Mary Ann Linley, RN (Manager Letter of support)