Manager’s life experience benefitting patients at Humber River

Piroska Bata is leading by example at Toronto’s Humber River Regional Hospital (HRRH). “I believe in treating all your patients as if they are family” says Bata, a Medical Inpatient Unit Manager at HRRH’s Church Street site. “That’s my motto and something I demonstrate to my staff every day. It’s also one of the big reasons I chose to work at Humber River,” she notes. “The values of this hospital and their commitment to their patients and community really resonate with my personal values. I am excited to be working here.”

When Bata isn’t leading an HRRH interdisciplinary team of staff – which includes nurses, physiotherapists and social workers to name a few – she’s taking her ‘customer service’ approach to a new level in the community and making a big difference.

Bata is a life coach and has worked as a clinical nursing instructor at Seneca, George Brown and Humber Colleges. She is also an active volunteer with the Brain Injury Association of Canada (BIAC) and is proud to be the Co-Chair of the Sponsorship Committee that is working hard to spread awareness about the effects of brain injuries. Currently, she is working with the Committee to organize BIAC’s annual fundraising event: The Hawaiian Oyster Odyssey – set for the end of this month – where Bata will also deliver a first-hand account of her personal experience.

“Four years ago my dad was the victim of an explosion and he suffered a severe brain injury,” explains Bata. “After three months in the hospital and two months in rehabilitation, there was no place for him to go; he still needed help,” she says. “That’s when I realized how much more I could contribute.”

In addition to coordinating care for her father, Bata consistently networks with a variety of organizations in order to ensure that her father receives appropriate support and service in the community.

“When it comes to brain injuries, you can’t see the scars,” says Bata. “The damage is on the inside. That’s why I feel this topic doesn’t get enough attention. As a health professional, I realize that it’s really important for me to help people – who’ve suffered with brain and related injuries – to reintegrate into society. Helping patients and their families to understand what community services are available after they leave the hospital is really important.”

Thanks to Bata’s personal experience and her knowledge of community services, many people at Humber River are benefitting.

“I genuinely understand the needs of my patients,” proclaims Bata. “My personal experience helps me to empathize with what my patients and their families are going through. I am really helping people to cope with what’s happening at all stages of the care process. It’s a good feeling,” she notes.

“She motivates me to work harder,” says Laurolyn Adam-Zhou, HRRH nurse for the past several years. “I am really happy to have Piroska as my mentor and my manager.”

“Piroska is a refreshing and wonderful addition to our team,” says Barbara Willits, HRRH Director of Medicine and Emergency Services. “Her energy and enthusiasm, combined with her positive attitude and ability to multitask make her a very valuable member of our staff. Her diverse contribution – on many levels – is remarkable.”

Diversity is nothing new for Bata – also a black belt in open style Canadian martial arts – who relies on her expertise in one of four languages, including Hungarian, German, and Serbian to translate medical information to her parents and, to Humber River patients on a daily basis.

Whether she is translating medical information or comforting a family member, Bata is excited to help in any way she can; and is thrilled to be at Humber River.

“I am ecstatic to have found the right fit and the opportunity to build on my leadership skills in a positive environment,” Bata exclaims. “Humber River’s future is exciting: poised to build Ontario’s first digital hospital with a big emphasis on going green. I love that vision and I am so happy to be a part of it.”