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Niagara Health recognizes Awards of Excellence recipients

Posted Apr 8th, 2016

A Mental Health professional with Niagara Health’s Outpatient Mental Health Services who is continually recognized by patients and their families for going above and beyond is the 2015 recipient of Niagara Health’s highest honour.

Belinda Santamaria, a Psychometrist who works at our St. Catharines Site, provides exceptional care that positively impacts the lives of her young clients. She is often more than just a counsellor to those she works with. In one case, Belinda became a constant in the life of one of her most vulnerable patients. For years Belinda went well beyond the parameters of her job to coach this young woman on basic life skills, help her find a home and to finish high school. Belinda even attended her graduation. Now, her former client has ambitions of attending a therapy program so she can help others just like Belinda helped her.

“This story is just one example of Belinda’s extraordinary service, compassionate care and respectful interaction with her young patients,” says Niagara Health President Dr. Suzanne Johnston, who presented Belinda with the President’s Award of Excellence Thursday at the 11th Annual Awards of Excellence event. “She has made a significant impact on children, youth and their parents through exemplifying all of Niagara Health’s values each day.”

The President’s Award is presented each year to individuals or teams who exemplify all of the NHS success factors and demonstrate the values of compassion, professionalism and respect.

Six additional awards were presented to members of the Niagara Health team who were nominated by their peers for demonstrating exceptional behaviours related to our Success Factors or Core Values.

Focus on those we serve: Dr. Mamoon Bokhari, General Internal Medicine, Oncology, St. Catharines Site.

It is evident that Dr. Bokhari not only provides care for his patients, but he cares about them as well. With compassion, respect and kindness, he takes extra time while speaking with his patients to ensure they understand their plan for care. Dr. Bokhari is known to skip lunches and dinners to meet with families of patients whose conditions are worsening or are at the end of life. He checks on those he cares for each day and makes himself available to answer any questions patients or their loved ones might have. 

Bring out the best in each other: Dr. Kim Scher,  Family medicine, Urgent Care and Palliative Care, Douglas Memorial Site in Fort Erie.

Dr. Scher cares for the majority of palliative care patients at Douglas Memorial and is available day or night if the patient or family needs him. He is on the floor twice a day, every day, which results in excellent patient outcomes because issues are brought to his attention immediately. Dr. Scher encourages staff and gives praise for a job well done creating a positive work environment. His approachability makes it easy for staff to ask questions about a treatment plan or to suggest and intervention.

Create a better way: Krystle Etherington, NHS Safe Patient Handling Consultant, Occupational Health and Safety.

Krystle plays an important role in removing barriers to returning our injured or ill staff to work. For example, NHS staff who need to wear splints due to hand or wrist injuries aren’t able to return to their full duties because the materials splints are made from don’t meet infection control standards. Krystle worked with Niagara Prosthetics and Orthotics to come up with a solution to this problem. Now, her invention is helping return these staff members’ return to full duties who wouldn’t be able to do so wearing traditional cloth and Velcro splints. 

Build strong and successful relationships: Lise Buliung, Recreational Therapist, Outpatient Mental Health, Welland Site. 

For over 15 years, Lise has developed strong relationships with patients by making them feel valued and appreciated. She is an exceptional teacher in the various groups she runs, managing to keep the content comfortable and pertinent to all members. Lise ensures all of her patients who are alone enjoy special holiday celebrations. She’s forged strong alliances with our community partners which ensures warm and seamless transfer of care. 

Use our resources wisely: Connexall Implementation Team

Graham Campbell, Stevie Christopher, Shelley Cote, Christine Delaney, Ashley MacDonald, Scott Poirier and Jack Samchyk came together from different departments to implement our highly successful Connexall Patient Transportation System. Always keeping the patient’s best interests in mind, the impact of this project has been great and far reaching. Since Connexall’s launch, patient transport times have decreased from 25 minutes to a remarkable 15 while increasing overall annual volumes from 85,000 to 115,000. 

Compassion, Professionalism and Respect: Michele Maiden, Registered Nurse, Greater Niagara General Site in Niagara Falls.

Michele consistently demonstrates the qualities of a great team leader and nurse. Deeply empathetic and caring, she is an advocate for her patients, always striving to ensure the best possible outcome. Her communication, leadership and patient-centred skills shine brightest when working with grieving families. Michele goes out of her way for others every day. Through her words and actions, she brings comfort to patients and families during their most difficult times.

“There have been so many reasons for NHS to celebrate this past year, including the extraordinary achievement of being Accredited with Exemplary Standing by Accreditation Canada,” says Dr. Johnston. “Successes like this are made possible by the remarkable efforts of the entire NHS team, including the outstanding work being done by our 2015 Awards of Excellence recipients. I’m very proud of their tremendous contributions and the work they do to make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families.”

Niagara Health System