It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that we would like to collectively nominate Linda Liu RN for the Hospital News Nursing Hero Award. We have had the privilege of working with Linda since January 2019, when she came onboard as the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) on the Consultation-Liaison (CL) Psychiatry Team at the University Health Network’s Toronto General Hospital (TGH). The Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Team provides psychiatric care and mental health support in complex, medically ill populations. In her advanced practice nursing role, Linda provides mental health support to patients, supports teams across TGH on a consultation basis, and educates staff on mental health literacy. The role of the CNS within the team is an integral one and Linda has quickly become a highly valued member of our team. We believe that she is an exceptional candidate for this important award for the reasons highlighted below.
Linda’s role on the CL Psychiatry Team involves working with patients who are experiencing complex medical and psychiatric needs. Linda is an exceptional team member and consistently demonstrates fair, thorough and balanced assessments. She communicates her impression to the team in a clear and succinct way during our multidisciplinary meetings. While she is highly collaborative, she does not shy away from advocating for patients when she believes that important factors are being overlooked. She has cultivated strong working relationships with other services, which has been essential when advocating for patients and communicating treatment plans. She is a strong advocate for patients with psychiatric illness and addiction, a population that is often stigmatized and disadvantaged within conventional medical settings. This dedication to vulnerable populations leads to improved patient-centred outcomes and promotes equitable access to healthcare resources.
Linda is passionate about supporting vulnerable patients and advocating for their mental health needs. This is reflected daily in her attendance at family meetings, nursing team huddles, and in the incredibly comprehensive and thorough care plans she develops for patients. These care plans are collaboratively developed with patients, families and caregivers, and reflect a patient’s preferences, communication needs, and coping styles. They are invaluable resources for medical teams, primary nurses and allied health team members, all of whom provide daily care. Additionally, Linda consistently models the need for patient autonomy and patient-centred care during code whites and when leading staff debriefs following challenging staff-patient interactions.
Linda’s dedication to patient-centred care is also exemplified by how effective she is at connecting patients with needed supports. While this has always been an important part of her role, this has been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary, albeit challenging, limitation on hospital visitors. She has consistently been able to identify creative methods for patients and families to remain connected during this most difficult time. Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has also revealed the need for ongoing mental health support post-discharge, and Linda has helped patients navigate this process so that their discharge from hospital is seamless with a swift uptake of mental health resources. There have also been innumerable occasions during the COVID-19 pandemic, when she has been called on to provide brief, safe, non-stigmatizing mental health support to colleagues, subsequently connecting them with more formal mental health resources and supports as wanted or needed.
On a more personal note, Linda is funny, kind, compassionate and an absolute pleasure to work with. Despite the inherent challenges of working with such a complex patient population, she maintains a positive approach to the work and sets a new standard for excellence every day. It is such a privilege for us to work with her and learn from her. On behalf of the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry team at the Toronto General Hospital, we unanimously believe her to be highly deserving of this award. We thank you for your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.
Dr. Susan Abbey – Psychiatrist-in-Chief, UHN
Dr. Adrienne Tan – Psychiatrist, Medical Director of the Medical Psychiatry Program, UHN
Dr. Rima Styra – Psychiatrist
Dr. Carla Garcia – Psychiatrist
Dr. Kathleen Sheehan – Psychiatrist
Dr. Noha Abdel Gawad – Psychiatrist
Shannon Wright – Nurse Practitioner