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Congratulations to Nursing Hero Contest winners

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Hospital News congratulates all nominees of the 2014 Nursing Heroes Contest!


Linda Jurincic, RN CON (C) Odette Cancer Centre,  Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

I am nominating Ms. Linda Jurincic at the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital for the Hospital News 9th Annual Hero Award.

It is impossible to summarize in a few words what kind of nurse Linda Jurincic is.  Linda is thoughtful, kind, she has a wonderful sense of humor that can lighten any situation.  She takes the time to do the little things that mean so much.  Linda has a special gift of providing comfort and support when needed.  Linda demonstrates the “heart of nursing.”  There are so many examples that I can use to describe why Linda is an amazing nurse.

In the past few years I have been through so much.  A DVT in my right leg, learning how to inject lovenox into my abdomen  cone biopsy with extensive hemorrhaging, an operation for a hysterectomy that didn’t happen because of the extent of the cancer in my pelvis and paraaorta area, chemo and 4 months of radiation 5 days a week.

My first HDR treatment is where I met Linda.  I have to say I was pretty scared because of my previous hemorrhaging and my blood clot.  The thought of having to be put under for my HDR did not sit well with me. I was scared that the blood clot would move and I would die.

Linda was at every one of my HDR appointments.  She was kind and very upbeat.  She would insert my intravenous needle into my small veins.  Inject me with my lovenox.  Linda ordered lovenox in the milligrams I needed so I would not have to use my supply because of the expense.  She also taught me how to inject my lovenox correctly so it wouldn’t sting and to stop me from getting huge bumps and bruises.  Linda helped calm me, keeping things light by talking, joking and making me feel comfortable.  She also sang You Are My Sunshine as we walked into the operating room and she continued until I fell asleep. When I awoke Linda would have ginger ale and a cookie from her own lunch for me.

About half way through my HDR treatments I decided that I would not finish them because of the bleeding and I was sick of being tired and run down.  Linda told me to come in, sit with her and if I didn’t want to finish I didn’t have too.  Well Linda ended up talking me into finishing my treatments.  She was right I needed to finish so I had no regrets later on.  After that HDR treatment Linda told me they fixed my bleeding problem.  I am so grateful to Linda, for talking some sense into me so I would finish my treatments.

In June 2013, I had a CT Scan and MRI both suggesting my cancer was not gone and maybe the cancer had spread to my bone.  A PET Scan was urgently ordered.  I was a wreck and Linda helped me through a very difficult time.  The day I got the results from the PET Scan results, my family, my doctor and Linda were there holding my hand.  I got the amazing news that I am cancer free.  Linda leaned over and whispered in my ear and said “I told you that everything would be fine.”

I see Linda every three months for my follow up appointments.  I am greeted with the biggest smile and hug.   I squeeze her hand or arm because I hate my internals.  She also looks after my wellbeing.  I have been depressed and she talked to me about my issues and made me realize that I must enjoy life and she made an appointment for me to talk to someone.

My definition of a nurse:  Go above and beyond the call of duty.  The first to work and the last to leave.  The heart and soul of caring.  A unique soul who will pass through your life for a minute, but impact it for an eternity. This is Linda.

Nominated by: Kimberly Fulcher

2nd Nomination

It is my great pleasure to provide this letter of recommendation for Ms. Linda Jurincic for the annual Nursing Hero Award. Linda was my primary nurse from 2007 to 2012 and became part of the nursing team that cares for my patient population in 2012.

Linda is a senior nurse with many years of clinical experience. She started with the cancer program in 2007 after an injury precluded continued work in the ED. She tackled the new content area with the enthusiasm and curiosity of a young learner.  She continues to ask questions of me and other physicians about the care we provide in order to improve her understanding and enable her to provide better care for her patients. She is a very astute clinician. In 2013, she sought and obtained her oncology nursing credentials.  Her continued dedication to lifelong learning is inspiring.

Linda is extremely devoted to the patients she cares for and forges strong relationships with many. She calls them “her people.”  I have known her to call patients well after they have finished treatment and are in the follow-up phase of care to see how they are doing and for example, “get that cannelloni recipe.”  I have known her to personally follow up lab results to call patients on the weekend (e.g. a urine C+S).  It is not uncommon for me to enter a patient room and have the patient greet me politely, only to be followed by Linda and hear an exuberant “HI LINDA!”  Being able to connect with her in person is clearly the highlight of their visit. She is a huge source of encouragement to her patients.

Linda inspires me to maintain and improve the humanity in my medical practice.


Nominated by: Dr. Lisa Barbera


What constitutes a hero?  For me, a hero is someone who does something without thinking of themselves, someone who jumps at the opportunity to help others without question, not for the rewards or accolades but because it is the right thing to do, someone who is a role model and makes a difference in another’s life.  Ms. Linda Jurincic truly exemplifies what a ‘Nursing Hero’ is.

I have had the pleasure of working with Linda for last 8 years at the Odette Cancer Centre.  During this time, I have seen firsthand, the positive impact she has on her patients. She goes the extra mile for each and everyone one of them, whether it is holding their hand during a procedure, or listening to their fears and concerns and addressing each one until they are comfortable, or empowering patients to be active members of their health care team.  The patients that she touches love her which is evidenced by their inquiries when she is not around.

Linda provides holistic person-centered care rather than a disease-approach to care.  One such moment occurred recently, when a patient came for her first internal radiation treatment.  The patient was extremely nervous.  Linda listened to her fears, held her hand,  wiped away her tears, and provided the information and education the patient needed to get through the treatment.  However, it was during the conversation that the patient expressed what was really bothering her.  The patient had recently lost her job and was dealing with this in addition to her cancer diagnosis.  Linda acknowledged her loss and her fears but also provided great suggestions and support to help her get back on her professional feet. The patient was so appreciative that Linda took the time to listen to her. Linda is generous of her time, generous of her vast knowledge and generous of her skills to ensure that every patient she encounters receives the highest quality of care.

I have recently been appointed to an advanced practice position in radiation therapy.  Linda has been a source of support, guidance and mentorship, teaching me new skills and increasing my knowledge base in gynecological cancer treatments.

Linda has been a truly inspirational nurse to not only her patients but also for all health care professionals across the entire oncology program.  Her passion and dedication to providing

the best patient centered care has improved the care we deliver.  Her commitment to her own professional development and continuous learning provides me with a positive role model to look up to.  For these reasons, I believe Linda is truly deserving of this prestigious nursing award.

Nominated by: Laura D’Alimonte


2nd Place: Heather Chinnery, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Stollery Children’s Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta

As a nursing expert in the NICU, Clinical Nurse Specialist Heather Chinnery led the implementation of delayed cord clamping (DCC) in pre-term babies, making the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Stollery Children’s Hospital’s Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) site in Edmonton the first facility in Canada to make this a standard of practice.

A neonatologist at the Stollery approached Heather with European studies showing that delayed cord clamping significantly reduced the risks of brain injury and hospital-acquired infections, and reduced the need for blood pressure support in babies born between 22 and 36 weeks of gestational age.

At that time, the practice for pre-term babies in Edmonton was to immediately clamp the umbilical cord and move the newborn to a neonatal warmer.

Heather lead an interprofessional team charged with implementing the practice change, developing indications and contraindications, and with measuring both staff adherence and patient outcomes.

This change in policy and procedure that not only crossed departments (NICU and Obstetrics), but hospitals and required education and training of large numbers of staff and physicians.

As the first site in Canada to initiate this practice, intake of new learners (staff and physicians) required on-going education to help staff adopt the new practice. As with major practice changes, uptake of the new protocol was slow and inconsistent, requiring close monitoring and frequent follow up and re-education.

Prior to instituting the DCC protocol, Heather and the interprofessional Neonatal Resuscitation Committee (a QI committee) mapped the delivery process, and using educational sessions, posters, and frequently asked questions (FAQ) documents, ensured that obstetric and neonatal staff were orientated to the rationale and processes for DCC.

Now, the team delays clamping the umbilical cord by 60 seconds, allowing the baby to take his first breaths and receive blood from the placenta. This extra blood stabilizes the baby’s blood pressure and is also thought to boost stem cells, which help fight infection and repair damaged cells.

Since this standard of practice was introduced at the Stollery’s RAH NICU Children’s Hospital in 2008, there is documented evidence of improved health and outcomes for pre-term babies in the NICU. The rate of necrotizing enterocolitis – a condition where tissue in the bowel starts to die – has been reduced from 5.4 per cent to 1.5 per cent. As well, the proportion of pre-term babies whose core temperature drops below normal levels has been reduced from 31 per cent to less than 20 per cent.

Over the past four years, the labour and delivery unit at the Lois Hole Women’s Hospital in the RAH has used delayed cord clamping on all pre-term babies not requiring other immediate interventions.

There are about 50,000 births in Alberta annually and, of those, about 6,500 (or 13 per cent) are premature – the highest rate of pre-term births of any Canadian province. The national pre-term rate is about 10 per cent. Nationally, delayed cord clamping is used on less than 10 per cent of all pre-term babies.

The DCC practice was expanded throughout Edmonton hospitals in 2011, and is now being shared with facilities across the province and the country, thanks in large part to Heather’s knowledge, expertise and passion.

I have had many opportunities to experience Heather Chinnery’s dedication to the patients and families who are recipients of her expert knowledge and exceptional care, as well as that of her colleagues and the neonatal community extending beyond the walls of the hospital.

Her involvement, hard work, and dedication to implementing a practice that has improved outcomes for pre-term babies is very close to my heart. As a parent of very premature and critically ill twins, I have fond memories of Heather and the help that she gave us when the boys were in the hospital. One instance I remember quite clearly: After Andrew’s surgery, his stomach had a large incision and needed to heal. The regular bandages and treatments weren’t quite working for him. As the Wound Specialist, Heather came up with a new system which included a funky patch that Andrew had on his stomach. In order for this patch to work, it had to be left on and not removed like regular dressings. Heather made sure that the patch wouldn’t be removed by writing with a Sharpie pen directly on the patch “Do Not Remove” across the patch on his tummy. I thought that this was very innovative and unique and it took extra care to think of this new system, to implement it, and to monitor it for its success. It proved to be very successful.

I always felt that Heather had Andrew and our best interests in mind, and she tried her very best to help Andrew. She was always kind, caring and compassionate. She took the time to explain the work that she was doing and why she was doing it. She was very lovely. I felt blessed that she was Andrew’s Wound Specialist; a very kind soul for sure.

I have also drawn on her expertise as I work to complete my degree in Health Administration and facilitate my own learning. As part of my term paper for a Risk Management and Quality Improvement course, I was asked to review a relatively unknown clinical practice that, if widely implemented, would improve the quality and outcomes for patients. Heather’s work on Delayed Cord Clamping was inspiring and fit the criteria perfectly. Heather took the time to share her research with me and helped provide me with an understanding of the work involved. I wouldn’t have gotten the A+ without her!

As a colleague, I have had the pleasure of working directly with Heather and her team on various projects focused on ensuring family centred care in the NICU. Whether it be educating new staff, introducing new practices or being part of the setup of new programs (such as introducing a focused approach to developmental care in the NICU), she consistently demonstrates her commitment to the patients, their families and her colleagues. She shows creativity in finding solutions. Solutions based on facts. For example, to test the effects that ambient noise in NICU had on babies, she engaged the audiology department to test the sound levels in various conditions. These included with the incubator top up or lowered, an incubator with or without a cover, what was with the baby in the incubator (e.g. blanket, etc.), conversation levels and noises during procedures. This thorough approach helped determine the best possible environment for these most fragile of babies. There are many such examples where Heather’s innovative approach improves the experience for babies and their families.

I appreciate this opportunity to nominate Heather Chinnery for the Hospital News 9th Annual Nursing Hero Award in recognition of her contributions in improving neonatal care in our city and across the country

Nominated by: Marni Panas


Third Place – Madge Reece – Mental Health Unit, Humber River Regional Hospital

Madge Reece received six nominations for the Nursing Hero Award. Every single nomination came from a patient or a patient’s family member and everyone said the same thing. Madge went above and beyond as their nurse. Here are a few of the nominations:


I had met nurse Madge at a time when I was going through a rough patch with my health in January 2014.  I had been admitted into the hospital.  I remember being so scared to be there. However, she had a calm nature that was reassuring to me. My stay at the hospital lasted over two weeks.   Madge made sure that I was cared for and that I was doing the basic necessities to get myself well.  She encouraged me to talk to others, eat my food, cancel my health appointments that I couldn’t attend and always made sure I was alright.  Her positive attitude gave me hope.

I had no visitors during my stay at Humber River Regional Hospital.  Madge had kind words that showed me compassion.  When I started to show signs of health improvement, I could tell that Madge was sincerely happy for me.  She had said things to me that uplifted my spirits. I noticed that on the floor her patients were getting the best care possible.  She was thorough with her treatments.  As a team leader, she had shown leadership with staff and patients. I am very grateful to have received the best care from Nurse Madge.

Nominated by: Marigrace Galura


I met Nurse Madge Reece  in August 2013, when she came into my room 425 to do my stats. Right off the bat I felt at ease with her. After taking my stats she sat with me for a few minutes to get an assessment of my mental well-being. She was very sympathetic as well as empathetic with my condition. God must have sent her to be my guardian angel that morning (teary moment) because she was the first nurse I saw besides those that admitted me throughout the night. I felt comforted by her, in speaking with her I felt like my mom was there in sprit but not in body. We sat for thirty minutes talking with her giving me inspirational quotes to live by. I felt the weight lifted off my shoulders after speaking with her.

I developed a bond with Madge that will not be broken until death do us part. She is now my adopted mother. Throughout my stay on the unit, I constantly sought her out just to bask in her glory. I felt I needed to feed off her spirituality in order to continue my recovery. I was right, it has helped immensely.  I still felt the same way on my second visit to the hospital. I like how she treats people with the respect and inherent dignity they deserve. She’s approachable in her manner and her presence.  These qualities are hard to find in many others and so for me she is divine. I also like the fact that she does not try to impose her judgment on others but allows each individual find ways that are favorable to them in solving their problems. I felt Madge went beyond the call of duty in her care for me on my stay.

My family adores her; my friend Davilyn felt that Madge is an inspiration to others and that she has a huge heart. The fact that Madge took us under her wings and helped to instill in us values that we never had is one of the reasons my family friends are so drawn to her. I am very thankful that I met this lady when I did because she has somehow changed the course of my life. Madge not only inspired me but encouraged me and my family as well. She has opened their understanding to dealing with mental health issues, something that was previously not discussed in our close knit family. She shows my family and friends the compassion required to deal with the touchy subject matter of what goes on in a patient with mental health issues and for that I am eternally grateful.

I would like to nominate this lovely lady to be a Nursing Hero because she embodies Grace, Beauty, Soul, Heart and a love for nursing like no other. Madge is the Mother Theresa of nursing.

Nominated by: Marsha Taylor


My daughter was admitted to Humber River in October 2013 and again in March 2014. Both times she had the good fortune to have Madge Reece as one of her nurses. Madge is a caring nurse who always goes the extra mile for her patients. She was very comforting to my daughter and to me as well. Madge takes the time to listen to patients’ concerns and communicate with the family. She was exceptionally helpful in my daughter’s recovery. Madge also took the time to call my daughter at home after she was discharged from hospital. I highly recommend Madge, she is very deserving of this award.

Nominated by Clare



I was a patient at Humber River Hospital in February 2014.  I thought all was lost in the world and needed to end my life. I felt ashamed, lost, and alone. After my second day at the hospital, I met the most compassionate and caring nurse, Madge. She helped me believe in myself, my family love, and gave me hope to have the will to live. She put a smile back on my face, when I thought all was lost. Madge is my hero and gave me my second chance at life. I thank her for guiding me to the right path of recovery. Madge, you are a blessing to all your patients and to me.

Nominated by: Charmaine



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