Second Place Winner Trish Mizzau, West Park Healthcare Centre

If there is one person who truly depicts a “nursing hero,” it would be Trish Mizzau. After 14 years at West Park, Trish has become a well-known and well-liked fixture across the organization. She has worked as a clinical nurse on almost every unit, effectively utilizing her skills while forming meaningful relationships with patients. She’s built rapport with staff during her time in the Occupational Health, Safety and Wellness department, and she’s making a significant impact on the future of West Park by excelling in her most recent post with the Campus Development team, to help operationalize West Park’s new campus of care. Trish excels in many ways, and for this reason she is many things to many people. Her ability to connect with staff, patients and families, and the profound impact she has had on those around her make her stand above the rest.

To patients, she is not only a caregiver but a relentless advocate, a social worker and a cheerleader who ensures every step of their care is complete. To her colleagues, she is a confidante that people can depend on for guidance, who provides support and empathy in any situation big or small, personal and professional. To families she is a clear communicator who is there when they can’t be. To the organization, her honed skills and knowledge have made her a hospital-wide resource, setting a high standard of clinical excellence – a true professional. With all of this experience it’s no surprise that at the outset of the pandemic, Trish was redeployed back to Occupational Health to assist with our COVID-19 response. Since then, her responsibilities have included testing, contact tracing, screening, and more recently, vaccine rollout.

Trish’s innate capacity to care deeply for others and her larger-than-life positive personality give her the ability to make people feel at ease, motivate others, and diffuse situations when necessary – all traits that have contributed to her significant impact over the course of the last year. When the Nursing Hero Award nomination was discussed at West Park, many of us thought of Trish immediately. Within days, we received messages of support from across the organization. Trish is incredibly special to all of us at West Park and the entire organization stands behind this nomination as illustrated in the numerous letters included in this nomination package.

Excerpts from colleagues

“This past year has been extremely challenging, however Trish has carried on with a calm and a re-assuring presence. Her unwavering commitment to the positive patient experience is exhibited in the numerous patients and families she has offered comfort and care for during her tenure. Trish truly embodies what it means to be person and family centric and empowers her colleagues to do the same.” – Sarah Benn-Orava, Patient Experience Coordinator

“Trish has been seconded into Occupational Health and Safety since the beginning of the pandemic. During the first outbreak she came in on her own time to deliver some food to the nurses who had been working overtime. Also, during the early days of the pandemic when rules, expectations and protocols seemed to be changing not only daily, but hourly, she was a great shoulder to cry on (a physically distanced shoulder) when things just got too overwhelming. She has worked almost non-stop since Christmas of 2020, I am pretty sure she came in on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year‟s Day and most weekends, in order to test staff on outbreak units and follow up with, educate and reassure her colleagues regarding their COVID results.” -Lynn Suter, Physiotherapist and Clinical Practice Leader, Neurological Rehabilitation

“Trish and I have worked together on the TB service. I’ve seen her in Occupational Health and Campus Development. Most recently, we have all seen her tireless work with the Covid-19 vaccine clinics. In all these areas, she has excelled. On TB, I remember her advocating for the needs of one particular patient who needed a family physician. She looked up the home address and found family doctors who were accepting patients and ensured the patient had this information. In Occ/health, she has been a champion for the flu vaccine campaign. At campus development meetings I have seen her advocate for the nursing needs of the new buildings. Her newest role with the COVID-19 clinics has been invaluable. She has recruited patient-facing staff tirelessly. She has ensured that there is no wastage of even a single dose of vaccine.” – Jane McNamee, Nurse Practitioner, Professional Practice

“Her empathy, her honesty, her sense of humour are a few of the qualities that make her special. I recall an interaction I had with Trish early in the pandemic. I was feeling nervous, stressed and fearful. She spoke with honesty, empathy and humour. She followed up with me after our conversation, which was so kind and made me feel reassured. During our conversation, she made reference to the fact that I may have been exposed to COVID. Knowing that she had referenced my file and took the time to review the details about my situation, made me feel valued and reinforced that I could trust her.” –  Kimberley Day, Clinic Coordinator

“Trish has been a positive force around me since my first days here at West Park. She often stopped by to check in and see how things were going and to ask if I was enjoying my time here so far. Whether I am here at West Park or at home Trish is always willing to answer any questions I may have regarding one of my patients or one of my family members. When my kids are sick and I need some advice she is my go to person when I can’t reach their physician. She is more than a nurse. She is an outstanding person.” – Samantha Chambers, Assistant, Physiatry

“Trish has gone above and beyond. I see her working a full day and then some. She phoned me at home in the evening to set up my vaccination appointment. I think she had another 50 people on her list to call that day. She personally takes on work just to ensure our safety even if it means she is working seven day-a-week around the clock. Despite this she is cheerful, friendly and always has a smile. A remarkable person.” – Lisa da Cunha, Physiotherapist, Neurological Rehabilitation

“When Trish was redeployed, she performed all tasks given to her with heart and determination. When units were reporting outbreaks and she began conducting COVID-19 tests, she would come in early to swab staff. She stepped up to plate when she was given the challenge to start vaccines in the hospital.” – Linda Dell’Erario, Registered Nurse

“Trish is not only a nurse, but a kind sensitive human being. She has helped me in so many ways. She was one of my rocks when it was my darkest hour. I will never forget what she did for me. Trish, never forget the love we all have for you.” – Linda Dell’Erario, Registered Nurse, Ambulatory Clinic

“I had reservations about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Trish is one of the main reasons I ended up getting it. She answered all my questions which helped to calm my anxiety.”  -Nadra Nelson, Administrative Support

“Trish has helped with all aspects of the pandemic. She’s made our swabbing process very smooth for staff when we’re in outbreak. She has written clear processes so that any nurse that comes into Occupational Health, Safety and Wellness will be able to follow a consistent process. Trish stands out because once she knows you need help, she’ll just help. She doesn’t hide or slack. She puts her all into it.”  – Lynn Bullock, Manager, Occupational Health, Safety and Wellness

“Trish has been working tirelessly on spreading the word on the importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. If you need some information on practice on the units- she is the one to ask. Trish demonstrates a genuine caring nature. – Pam Madan-Sharma, Manager, Outpatient Care Services

For me the best description to summarize Trish is „above and beyond.‟ It doesn‟t matter what you ask her to do – she goes above and beyond. It doesn‟t matter which department she is asked to work in – she goes above and beyond. It doesn‟t matter what hours you ask her to work – she goes above and beyond. It doesn‟t matter what time of day or day of the week – she goes above and beyond. All with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. Super dedicated. Super committed. Super knowledgeable.” – Sandi Noble, Infection Control Practice Leader, IPAC