It is with great pleasure that I nominate Paul Welsby, Renal Navigator, for consideration for the 2019 Nursing Hero Award. Throughout his career, Paul has repeatedly demonstrated his passion and commitment to improving the quality of patient care, service delivery, and team morale. This award provides an opportunity for the Regional Renal Program to recognize and show appreciation for Paul’s compassionate nature, outstanding leadership and unwavering commitment to both the program and Trillium Health Partners (THP) as a whole.
With over 20 years’ experience at THP, Paul has served many roles within the Regional Renal Program. Starting as a young and eager Registered Nurse (RN), Paul quickly excelled, gaining experience at all renal sites. Some of his most notable positions include Education Facilitator, Clinical Leader and most recently, Patient Navigator.
Paul is exceptionally gifted in viewing complex situations from a variety of perspectives. Driven by his intrigue and passion for health care, he is always looking for new possibilities, and innovations; and approaches each new challenge with initiative and enthusiasm. For example, over the last year, the program experienced significant growth across all Chronic Kidney Disease modalities; including our inpatient need, where there is limited capacity but increasing demand. To address this issue, the program planned to pilot an inpatient Navigator role to help coordinate dialysis needs and access. Seizing a new opportunity, Paul volunteered for the role and rose to the challenge. He partnered with Nephrologists and clinical partners across Patient Care Services to improve access, coordination and support individual discharge planning.
Since the launch of the pilot in November 2018, Paul has been able to support a 76 per cent reduction in delayed treatments, thereby improving patient safety due to fewer delayed dialysis treatments through better coordination of care. In addition, patient flow improved by reducing shuttling patients to receive their dialysis. These efforts have contributed to improved sustainability and will save THP an estimated $58,000 per year in avoidable costs (i.e. shuttling, back-fill, overtime etc.).
Clinical partners have noted the impact to patient safety and experience, and have supported the program in pursuing a permanent inpatient Navigator role to continue Paul’s effective management of patient flow and resources. Christine Johnson, Manager Cardiac Health, commented: “It has been my experience that Paul has been professional, communicated well, followed-up with the Cardiac teams and worked very collaboratively with our group.” This pilot was successful in large part to Paul’s enthusiasm, commitment, and resilience.
Furthermore, Paul is known to the program and teams across the hospital for his creativity and team mentality. Always humble and ready to help, Paul never declines an opportunity to assist staff and patients. Paul’s approachable nature makes staff and patients comfortable in seeking his guidance, wisdom, and coaching. Armed with a wealth of knowledge, Paul is always able to adapt and communicate in a way that supports the needs of the learner. For example, Paul led the creation of an educational video to support patient education. He also collaborates with the other Renal Navigators to coordinate and run Patient Education Nights for Hemodialysis, Peritoneal Dialysis and Transplant. In valuing the contributions of team work, Paul is quick to recognize the efforts of his team and calls out individuals for their exceptional work.
Paul is also known for his thoughtfulness. Staff recall Paul purchasing gift cards from his own money as a “thank you” to clinical leaders and staff. He also “anonymously” donated a tea set and beautiful pottery as staff prizes for World Kidney Day; further demonstrating his kindness and generosity. Staff also recall Paul’s playfulness. He has a keen ability to use humour to uplift patients and staff, defuse stressful situations, and manage patient care situations. As an example, Paul once wrote and coordinated a play for the Patient Christmas Party and injected humour to uplift everyone’s spirit.
Nominated by Kimberly Moore, Program Director, Out-patient Medicine and Regional Chronic Kidney Disease Program, Trillium Health Partners