Nursing Hero Contest Third place winner: Christine Murphy, The Ottawa Hospital

Christine Murphy is a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence. (NSWOC), at the Ottawa, Hospital, Civic Campus, Ottawa, Ontario. Christine was a registered nurse working  in the trauma unit and decided to take the wound ostomy continence nursing education program and continued her educational pathway completing a  Masters  of Clinical Science in Wound Healing (MScClin-WH) and PhD concentrating on vascular wounds which is rare in the nursing field. When she started her role as a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence ( NSWOC), it was a hospital wide position and not just focused in vascular wounds. She decided that there was a need to provide a focused program on vascular wound management and through a meeting with the Chief of Vascular Surgery, she explored aligning her efforts to support a complex vascular wound service. Christine was referred to another Vascular Surgeon who had become very interested in wound management- Dr. Tim Brandys.


Together with Dr Bandys, they identified a need to create stronger communication among the healthcare team to better support for experiencing vascular wounds from hospital to community. They also developed  methods to provide better outcomes for patients experiencing vascular wounds once they moved from the hospital to the community where they could have access to out -patient care.


Christine was committed to change practice in how patients with vascular wounds were being managed. She  started reaching out to all stakeholders and actively looked at ways to engage them in coordinated care setting up a model where everyone feels they are adding something positive to improving wound care , breaking down silos. Christine also contacted nurses in senior home care positions to discuss ideas as to how to improve serving patients with vascular wounds from hospital to community. She started to educate other healthcare professionals by explaining rationale, and informing staff physicians and residents on the need to share their patient cases at vascular grand rounds. She worked relentlessly to build trust between the interprofessional healthcare team members in order to be more effective.


As a result of many hours of work, twelve years ago, the first Limb Preservation Wound Clinic with a half day clinic in Parkdale was initiated at the Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus.  Christine and the team knew that they could make a positive change to reduce  both inpatient and home care costs,  the number of hospital readmissions and  cut down on antibiotic use.


After graduating with her PhD from Western which was focused on vascular wounds,  it was time for Christine to move into a  change-agent role where she could put her expanded knowledge and skills to use . The department of vascular surgery supported this role where a Limb Preservation Program could be further developed. This program  involved inpatients and outpatients of the vascular surgery department where research could be initiated and data collection and outcomes could be tracked.



When asked about what makes Christine a Nursing Hero, it is clear that Christine is a triple threat. In addition to her clinical role, Christine serves as the  President of the Wound ,Ostomy and Continence Nurses Canada  ( NSWOCC) supporting wound, ostomy and continence education and programs to over 600 nurses nationally. She presents locally, regionally ,nationally and internationally on vascular wounds, infection control and limb preservation  and is actively involved in research to support practice change.


Christine has supported the launch of an innovative and  sustainable Limb Preservation Clinic at the Ottawa Hospital ( Civic Campus) which acts as a “Hub” to the many “Spokes” of smaller communities in  and around the Ottawa area. At the Ottawa Hospital ( Civic Campus) Limb Preservation Clinic, family-centered care is a priority. Christine embodies that in all she does, and by providing continuity of care to patients and families. Patients and their families are grateful for Christine’s knowledge and advocacy as she ensures they receive the highest standard of patient care.

She has made a major contribution to wound care education through  being an adjunct professor in the masters of clinical science in wound healing  master’s degree program at Western University and  has been committed to healthcare provider teaching with both bedside nurses, residents and physicians, and collaborates with inter-professional team members on a daily basis. With complex vascular wounds, there are many things that need to be considered such as blood flow to the limb, proper assessment and diagnostics and pain control. With a highly committed team, these complexities are handled more effectively.

Christine’s calm manner and thorough approach to problem solving augment her ability to lead teams and, educate, advocate and do research to improve the outcomes for patients suffering from vascular wounds. She exemplifies “Nursing Leadership” through innovation of hospital to community  vascular wound care delivery. Vascular Health is now a priority area of research at the Ottawa Hospital with the Vice President of Quality and Innovation engaged in this initiative.  Christine has made a major impact for nursing in this field.

Nominated by: Catherine Harley Executive Director, NSWOCC, Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy & Continence Canada