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A spiritual care practitioner who takes the time to learn about the needs and beliefs of his patients. A team of volunteers who take the time to get to guide patients through overwhelming moments in their care journeys. An environmental services cleaner who keeps areas pristine for the people who seek care at St. Joseph’s. A social worker who cares so deeply for her patients that she takes the time to celebrate their milestones. A patient care manager who makes everyone around him feel welcomed by recognizing and celebrating their traditions. 

These are the winners of the 2024 Our Shared Values Awards at St. Joseph’s who have been recognized for going above and beyond to embody Unity Health’s values of human dignity, compassion, excellence, community and inclusivity.

Here are some of their stories in the words of those who nominated them.

Hogan Brock, Spiritual Care Practitioner

Winner of the Human Dignity Award for an individual or team who affirms that every person has sacred value and is worth of respect.

Hogan’s unwavering commitment to human dignity shines brightly in everything he does, but never more so than in his work with a particularly challenging case—a patient from a detention centre.

Recognizing the patient’s intricate spiritual beliefs, Hogan took the initiative to educate himself on aspects unfamiliar to him, ensuring his care approach was both informed and considerate. This dedication to understanding and honoring the patient’s spiritual framework played a pivotal role in building a therapeutic relationship grounded in mutual respect and trust.

Hogan’s consistent and respectful interactions and listening approach, against the backdrop of challenging circumstances, served as a powerful catalyst for change. The patient, once shrouded in the stigma attached to his detention centre background and unique spiritual beliefs, found in Hogan an ally who saw beyond those labels to the person beneath. The patient began to experience a shift in his recovery journey and, importantly, in the way he viewed himself.

Hogan’s role, spanning numerous units and demanding on-call responsibilities, presents a relentless pace and a diverse array of patient needs. Yet, Hogan stands out for an exceptional quality: his true commitment to give each patient the time and attention they deserve, a testament to his deep respect for their dignity.

The St. Joseph’s Courtesy Volunteer Team

Winners of the Compassion Award for an individual or team that enables health and healing by understanding each person’s needs and by providing care with kindness and sensitivity.

As a patient arrived, her cab pulled away with her backup oxygen and paperwork for her appointment. This understandably sent her into a bit of a panic. Our courtesy volunteer took the time to listen and gain understanding as English was not the patient’s first language. This assurance helped the patient to calm down.

She learned that the patient had two appointments that day and was three hours early for the first appointment – a test. This meant the patients oxygen could run out. The volunteer explained this to the staff and the patient’s test was done immediately. The volunteer then accompanied the patient to her second appointment and updated the staff who helpfully hooked the patient up to our hospital oxygen supply.

Although at this point her shift had ended, she stayed with the patient to provide comfort. Thanks to her compassionate help, an emergency was averted. This is only one example of the many ways that the Courtesy Volunteer Team lives Compassion every day.

Anna Isidoro, Environmental Services Cleaner

Winner of the Excellence Award for an individual or team who strives to achieve the best care and quality through innovation and continuous improvement

Anna excels in maintaining the highest standards at the Gilgan Family entrance.  She is very aware of the volume of patients that move through that space, as well as the amount of masks and hand sanitizer consumed and garbage created.

For many people, their hospital visit is a stressful one. Being welcomed at the front entrance by a clean and tidy space is essential in helping to reduce some of the stress associated with that visit.

A number of the patients who use the Gilgan entrance are people who visit St. Joe’s on a regular basis. Anna knows many of these patients by first name and greets them with a smile and a word or two. These courtesies cement their impression of St. Joe’s as a caring community hospital.

Anna does all of this on top of being attentive to the other areas of the hospital she is also responsible for.  Excellence in performance that is more than recognizable in her approach, body language, speed and smile. You should see her in action! She is a champion of pristine spaces!

Rachel Dickson, Social Worker on 7M Psychiatry 

Winner of the Community Award for an individual or team that embraces diversity, trust, joy and teamwork to fulfill human potential

Rachel’s profound understanding of community’s role in healthcare shone brightly in her handling of a patient who had been part of our psychiatric unit for an extended two-year period, a tenure prolonged by systemic barriers and the scarcity of appropriate discharge options.

With a deep commitment to the patient’s best interests, Rachel navigated the complex landscape of care options, advocating for and securing a placement that promised not just adequate support but a warm and welcoming environment where the patient could thrive. Rachel’s contributions didn’t stop there.

In a testament to her belief in the power of community and her innate ability to bring people together, Rachel organized a farewell party that was nothing short of a celebration of the patient’s journey and resilience.

This event, marked by cake, laughter, and shared memories, was not merely a goodbye; it was a powerful affirmation of the patient’s worth. Rachel’s initiative served as a beacon of joy and teamwork, reminding the team of the critical role we play in each patient’s story.

Michael Nguyen, Patient Care Manager of Transitional and Palliative Care

Winner of the Inclusivity Award for an individual or team that fosters an inclusive, welcoming environment where everyone is treated equitably and without judgment.

Michael has shown outstanding commitment to creating a safe and inclusive space for all staff, patients and visitors. For example, he makes a conscious effort to recognize, identify and celebrate various cultural and religious holidays, traditions and norms, ensuring that all feel welcomed, celebrated and embraced.

Michael’s compassion and empathy are also evident in the way he supports vulnerable patients and their families. One occasion that comes to mind was when he went above and beyond to work with St. Joseph’s Foundation to access food from the cafeteria for a palliative patient who was incarcerated, had no money, and no support network.

One of the last things in his life the patient received enjoyment from was food. Michael’s efforts ensured that the patient was able to pick and enjoy his final meals just before he died.

Inaugural Spotlight on Sustainability

Unity Health is committed to preserving and protecting the environment. Sustainability plays a key role in health care, and the new Spotlight on Sustainability celebrates the role the staff, physicians, learners, volunteers and partners play in delivering world-class care while improving the field of sustainability.

The inaugural recipients of the Spotlight on Sustainability are Dr. Ali Abbas, Anaesthesiologist, Laurie Thomas, Senior Clinical Director of Surgery, St. Joseph’s ICU, Mobility and Infection Prevention and Control, and the St. Joseph’s Operating Room Team.

As we know, operating rooms are energy and waste intensive, generating up to one third of hospital waste. Ali, Laurie and the St. Joe’s OR team have taken great strides in advancing sustainability in the operating rooms; they have placed SJHC amongst one of the top ranking surgical suites among TAHSN Hospitals. In 2021 and 2022, SJHC diverted over 96,000 kg of single-use medical device waste from landfill and saved thousands of dollars in waste and purchasing costs.

And their advocacy lead to the removal of desflurane from the anesthetic gas formulary at St. Joe’s. Desflurane is the most environmentally potent of the four widely used anesthetic gases. It has a global warming potential that is 2500 times greater than carbon dioxide. Removing meaningful reduces our greenhouse gas emissions.

The team also worked to modify our anesthetic gas machines and educate practitioners to deliver low flow anesthesia in order to further reduce the environmental impact.

Take a look through photos from the Our Shared Values Awards.