Meet Nursing Hero Zeynab Hassan

It is my pleasure to nominate Zeynab Hassan for the Nursing Hero Award. I believe that she has made significant contributions to our organization and has consistently shown her dedication to going above and beyond the call of duty. Zeynab is a Clinical Informatics Nurse at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). She began her journey as an inpatient nurse in 2014, where she became an expert in CAMH’s electronic health record, I-CARE, and became a champion for barcode medication administration to support patient safety. With this knowledge, she developed a desire to share her expertise with her colleagues and to be the clinical voice during the design and implementation of informatics initiatives. This prompted Zeynab to pursue a role in Clinical Informatics.

As a Clinical Informatics Nurse, Zeynab is the first point of I-CARE contact for many new nurses at CAMH and remains a point of contact by going above and beyond her role to diligently assist her former students as they become familiar with the system. In addition, Zeynab regularly identifies and flags technological barriers to nursing practice to CAMH’s Information Management Group and regularly represents the nursing voice on committees and working groups ensuring that patient care and experience are always at the center of decisions. One particular example that comes to mind is when Zeynab identified that there was a low number of patient photos in I-CARE and out of all current photos, many patients looked disheveled and unkempt. These photos were an inaccurate depiction of our patients, as a majority of these were taken at the start of the patient’s recovery at CAMH. She understood that a lack of accurate patient photos in the chart is a patient safety risk, as patient photos are commonly used for patient identification.

To tackle these issues, Zeynab developed a two-step approach. The first was to improve the process for capturing patient photos, as was convoluted and non-ideal for point of care staff. Zeynab spearheaded the in-house development of the “ClientPhoto” app, which made it easier to upload a patient’s photo in their chart, significantly reducing the time and effort it previously took to do so. Not only does this app enhance safety measures for clinicians, but it also allows patients to participate in the patient photo process actively. With her efforts, the rate of uploading the patient’s chart doubled within weeks of implementation.

The second step was to improve the patient experience during the patient photo process. Zeynab piloted a patient event called “Take my Photo Day”, an event where patients have the opportunity to have photos taken of themselves by professional photographers. Hair and makeup services as well as lightly used clothing were also available for patients to use if they choose to do so. Once the photo is taken, patients are provided copies of it to keep, and they are uploaded to their chart with their consent. This event was able to reach 75 patients and Zeynab received praise from the organization and was commended for promoting a new method for patient identification, while also empowering patients to cultivate their self-confidence and self-worth. This work is important for supporting patient safety particularly for processes completed by nurses like medication administration, but also ensuring that people with mental illness can be identified in dignified ways. She is currently working with CAMH’s Enterprise Management Office, Public Affairs, and CAMH

Foundations’ Gifts of Light to ensure that this event becomes embedded in CAMH’s standard operational offerings.

In closing, I truly believe that, should Zeynab be granted this award, it would make a tremendous contribution to ensure achievement of the goal of “Take my Photo Day” – to make a significant, positive impact on our patients’ journey to recovery.


Matthew Jabile

Project Analyst, Enterprise Project Management Office

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health