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Recipient of NHS's 2008 President's Award demonstrates an 'all things are possible' attitude

Posted Dec 8th, 2008

Niagara, ON: She always puts patients first and the needs of others before her own. She is a team player and a strong leader. Her "all things are possible" attitude is much appreciated by patients, families and staff alike, making her a natural choice for the 2008 Niagara Health System (NHS) President's Award.

This year's top NHS employee is Joan Martinelli, a full-time Charge Nurse on 2 West at the Port Colborne General Site. Joan's overall contributions to the NHS were officially recognized Friday at the annual NHS Christmas Dinner and Dance, attended by about 170 people.

"Joan Martinelli has a true gift. We are in the midst of very challenging times in healthcare, and Joan continually goes out of her way to ensure the needs of her patients and staff are met in the most positive ways," says Debbie Sevenpifer, NHS President and CEO. "It is a great privilege to recognize Joan's tireless efforts to ensure patients receive the best care possible and staff have a positive environment in which to work. We are all very proud of Joan. She is well deserving of the 2008 President's Award."

Joan, a resident of Niagara Falls, was nominated by staff on 2 West (medical-surgical unit), who wanted her to know how much her professionalism, compassion and commitment mean to them.

Joan is being recognized with the 2008 President's Award for going above and beyond in many ways. These are some of them, as submitted by staff: she stays at work until the job is done; she regularly follows up with patients and families for feedback about their care; she always tries to facilitate the best possible outcomes for the sick, elderly patients on the unit whose health-care needs are complex; she is a constant resource for any questions patients and staff may have; she constantly encourages patients and staff with her positive attitude; she is committed to developing the skills of her staff; she makes her staff feel valued and appreciated; she is committed to patient and staff safety; she places a higher priority on team or organization goals than on her own goals.

Five additional awards were presented to NHS employees who were nominated by their peers for demonstrating exceptional behaviours related to the NHS's Success Factors or Core Values.

Recipients are:

  • Focus on those we serve: Joanne Wintemute of Niagara Falls, a Social Worker in the Dialysis Unit at Ontario Street Site in St. Catharines.
  • Bring out the best in each other: Aaron Farbychuk of Welland, Supervisor of Support Services at the Ontario Street Site.
  • Build strong and successful relationships: Two recipients: Debbie MacIntyre of Niagara-on-the-Lake, a Health-Care Aide in Medical Palliative Oncology at the St. Catharines General Site; Team of Seven Nurses from Emergency Department at St. Catharines General Site.
  • Create a Better Way: Regional Pharmacy Team.
  • Compassion, Professionalism and Respect: Sarah Panko of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Volunteer in the Outpatient Oncology Unit at St. Catharines General Site.

A more detailed description of the contributions by the award winners is below.

The Awards of Excellence program was introduced in 2005 as part of a comprehensive new award and recognition program that allows the NHS to recognize the many contributions of staff, volunteers and physicians. These awards are presented annually at the NHS Christmas Dinner and Dance to individuals or teams whose actions resulted in a significant contribution to the organization.

"The nominations are a great source of pride for the NHS," said Rachel Bayley, Consultant, Organizational Development. "It is significant for nominees to have their actions recognized and acknowledged. The nominations are a terrific reflection of the outstanding contributions made by those working in our hospital system to ensure patients receive the best possible care."


NHS 2008 recipients of Awards of Excellence

  • Focus on those we serve: Joanne Wintemute of Niagara Falls, a Social Worker in the Renal Department (Dialysis Unit) at Ontario Street Site in St. Catharines, who goes above and beyond on a regular basis for her patients. As this program evolves and expands, Joanne continues to provide extraordinary and personal service to patients and their families. She always makes time for her patients, providing them with a listening ear, assisting them to make contact with community agencies and advocating on their behalf for the appropriate supports and resources. Joanne is a true team player who is passionate about her work. She is well respected by her colleagues in the Renal Department and by the community organizations with which she works.
  • Bring out the best in each other: Aaron Farbychuk of Welland, Supervisor of Support Services at the Ontario Street Site. Aaron truly exemplifies the qualities of teamwork and leadership. With strict budgets, he has managed to revitalize the physical environment at the Ontario Street Site through his constant "front-line staff first" approach. Spending as much time as possible in direct skill training of new staff and refreshing the skills of more seasoned staff has paid off ten-fold in the cleanliness throughout the site. Aaron empowers staff in their work and spends countless personal hours creating a team atmosphere by organizing staff excursions such as a recent whitewater rafting adventure.
  • Build strong and successful relationships: Two recipients:
    • Debbie MacIntyre of Niagara-on-the-Lake, a Health-Care Aide in Medical Palliative Oncology at the St. Catharines General Site. Debbie became a first-time supervisor of high school co-op students in February 2008, becoming a role model for high school students considering careers in healthcare. She created an incredibly rich learning experience for her students because she recognizes and appreciates the link between high school co-op students and future employees. Debbie got to know her students and their interests, going out of her way to arrange opportunities for them to shadow, observe and interviews professionals in a variety of fields, providing the students with a diverse experience in the hospital and a greater understanding of the wide variety of careers available in healthcare. In addition to helping students, Debbie has contributed to the success of the co-op program by encouraging other staff to get involved in the program as co-op supervisors.
    • Team of Seven Nurses from Emergency Department at St. Catharines General Site: Vera Girard, ED Resource Nurse; Kelly Sylvester, ED Educator; Rose Roscoe, Permanent Charge Nurse; Karin Jenkins, ED Nurse; Jody Gowling, ED Nurse; Jason Lea, ED Nurse; Lisa Blewett, ED Nurse. In an effort to build relationships with local nursing students and university faculty, and provide a unique hands-on learning experience for student nurses, the SCG ED staff have hosted three Trauma Days over the last year for Brock and McMaster university nursing students. The day-long initiatives begin with classroom presentations led by ED staff and are followed by three life-like dramatized scenarios in which the nurses demonstrate how they assess and care for trauma patients. The Trauma Days give the ED nurses the opportunity to share with the nursing students the benefits of working in the SCG ED, and give both the ED nurses and students an opportunity to get to know each other and build professional relationships. Stronger and more productive partnerships between NHS ED and Nursing faculty at the universities are occurring as a result of the Trauma Days.
  • Create a Better Way: Regional Pharmacy Team. The NHS embarked on significant changes for the Pharmacy Department which incorporated two large and complicated areas of focus: computer generated medication administration records; and implementation of a unit dose drug distribution service with automated medication dispensing cabinets on nursing units. The changes involved a great deal of time and effort on behalf of every member of the Regional Pharmacy Team. As leaders of change and improvement, every one of these dedicated Pharmacists and Technicians met each challenge with professionalism, understanding and patience.
  • Compassion, Professionalism and Respect: Sarah Panko of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Volunteer in the Outpatient Oncology Unit at St. Catharines General Site. Sarah always looks for ways to improve the service volunteers provide to patients. She knit toques and scarves for oncology patients for the winter as part of the Mad Caps Hats program, and she introduced turbans for the summer which she sews herself. The turbans are such a hit that Sarah now makes them for patients at other hospitals and cancer centres in Ontario. More than 250 chemotherapy patients are wearing turbans Sarah has sewn by hand. In addition, after three years of university, Sarah returned to high school to take Grade 12 Biology and Chemistry in order to meet the requirements of the Practical Nursing Program at Niagara College, which is offered at the NHS's OSS site. Sarah begins her studies next month.

Niagara Health System