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Niagara Health nurses receive Nursing Excellence Awards

Posted May 10th, 2017

This year’s Nursing Excellence Award nominees represent an outstanding group of Niagara Health professionals who go over and above for our patients every single day.

The many stories of compassion, innovation and leadership we received made it extremely difficult to choose the award recipients.

“Thank you to all of our incredible nurses who exemplify what it means to provide extraordinary caring for our patients and their loved ones,” says Derek McNally, Niagara Health Executive Vice President Client Services and Chief Nursing Executive. “The work and leadership of our nurses is inspiring and truly makes a difference in the lives of everyone who comes through our doors.” 

We are delighted to announce this year’s 19 award recipients in eight award categories. Congratulations to the following nurses: 


Excellence in Patient and Family Care:

Colleen Bredin | Nurse Practitioner | St. Catharines Site

Colleen developed an urgent response initiative for our Walker Family Cancer Centre patients experiencing difficulty. The initiative enables these patients and their caregivers to call the cancer centre and arrange to meet with Colleen the same day or within 24 hours if they choose.      

Jeanette Bulgin | Registered Nurse, Patient Care Manager | St. Catharines Site

Jeanette makes her patients and their families her number one priority every day. She consistently demonstrates an ability to connect with people, and a willingness to engage even in difficult situations. Her compassion, commitment and generosity have been revealed time after time – most often in the most difficult of circumstances.

Sherry Interisano | Registered Nurse | Welland Site

Sherry’s compassion led her to go beyond the parameters of her role as a charge nurse to help fulfil a dying patient’s wish of having his body donated to science. She devoted considerable time, effort and persistence to help this patient’s family arrange to make his request come to fruition. 

Andrea (Andy) Johnson | Registered Practical Nurse | St. Catharines Site

Andy gets to know her elderly patients and often brings in items from home like stuffed animals, colouring books and puzzles to help them feel more comfortable while in hospital. She focuses on person-centred care and goes above and beyond to put her patients first.

Jennifer Law | Registered Nurse, Patient Care Manager | Greater Niagara General Site

Jen worked with the family of a palliative patient to ensure his dog could visit him in hospital. The dog did not have the required shots so she arranged for the dog to get vaccinated at a local vet. She even helped to secure funding for the shots through a local organization.

Meaghan Marigomen | Registered Nurse | St. Catharines Site

Meaghan lent her support to a Speech Language Pathologist when they were having a difficult conversation with a patient’s spouse who was struggling to understand her husband’s decline. Her teamwork is a great example of how important it is for healthcare workers to support each other for the benefit of our patients. 

Heidi Seehagel | Registered Practical Nurse | Welland Site

Heidi is extremely compassionate and is there for patients and their families without needing to be asked. When she is not at Niagara Health, she volunteers in developing countries to assist their medical teams and works with people who have been injured.

Excellence in Advanced Practice Nursing:

Donald Versluis | Nurse Practitioner | St. Catharines Site

Don is an impactful leader and routinely takes the lead in supporting changes in current medical practices and quality processes. Such examples include: Advocating for patients’ rights at the end of life, and supporting the Medical Short Stay Unit and the Early Discharge Support Unit (EDSU) patient and quality initiatives.


Excellence in Nursing Leadership:

Kim McNaughton | Registered Nurse, Patient Services Manager | Greater Niagara General Site

Heading into a very busy weekend in the OR, Kim worked with the team and the physician to plan care for all patients. This involved triaging patients to determine urgency of procedures, ensuring the site had enough beds, organizing the patients to avoid the Emergency Department and allowing time for emergency cases. Kim’s work allowed the team to be successful in managing the care of patients over the weekend without barriers.

Remo Petraroia | Registered Practical Nurse | Welland Hospital Site

Remo is dedicated to the development of evidence-based practices in his role of surgical inpatient unit lead in wound care management. He educates staff on best practices and new technologies. Remo has made many positive changes to the unit including supporting and engaging his colleagues to look for new ideas and improvements.

Excellence in Intra and Inter-professional Collaboration:

Lisa Hildebrand | Registered Nurse, Patient Care Manager | St. Catharines Site

Through her leadership, Lisa has developed a very engaged, high-functioning team of professionals who are innovators and agents of change. Lisa engages her team with warmth, humility and compassion. She reinforces sharing of ideas through optimism and acknowledgment. Lisa is gracious and never lets an opportunity to say “thank you” pass by.

Amanda Symington | Nurse Practitioner | St. Catharines Site  

Amanda has been working closely with a dietitian to develop the role of nutrition in our Special Care Nursery.  Through her collaboration with interprofessional team members and community partners, we are now able to discharge babies with nasogastric feeding tubes home sooner with ongoing care in the community. As a result we are providing excellent care closer to home.


Rising Star:

Victor Chiu | Registered Nurse, Patient Care Manager | Welland Site

Victor’s leadership in patient flow initiatives has given his team confidence in his decision making. Not only does he engage his team in unit-based activities, but he has gained front-line nursing support across the organization. The physicians who are involved with Victor’s programs speak highly of his leadership style.

Natalie Doucet | Registered Nurse, Nurse Educator | St. Catharines Site

In her short time as a nurse educator in the Women’s, Babies and Children’s Health program, Natalie has proven to be a highly skilled, extremely knowledgeable and compassionate team player who consistently displays and promotes the highest ethical standards. She mentors and coaches others in achieving professional goals and development and has acted as a preceptor for a nurse pursuing her undergraduate degree.

Kaitlyn Hemphill | Registered Nurse | Welland Site

Kaitlyn demonstrates her commitments to teamwork and collaboration through her optimistic attitude and willingness to help her team. She is eager to learn and take on each challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow. Kaitlyn’s smile shines through as she provides extraordinary care to her patients.

Teresa Lawson | Registered Nurse | Greater Niagara General Site

Teresa frequently advances her skills through continuing education courses and is currently pursuing her Critical Care Certificate. Her positive attitude and attentiveness means she has a great relationship with her patients. Teresa shows extraordinary professionalism and teamwork during every shift.

Excellence in Student Preceptorship:

Jade Gill | Registered Nurse | St. Catharines Site

Jade sets a positive example as a professional, compassionate, and competent mentor. Not only has she demonstrated effective mentoring of her students, but she is always willing to aid her colleagues in any challenges they face.  One of Jade’s students says through Jade’s efforts they learned that empathy and compassion are very important nursing attributes first hand.


Excellence in Nursing and/or Patient Education:

Karen James | Registered Nurse, Nurse Educator | Greater Niagara General Site

Karen took on a leadership role in the More-2-Eat study which screens newly admitted patients for malnutrition. She ensured the staff understood the evidence driving the need to screen for malnutrition and provided them with the tools needed to carry this education forward. 

Excellence in Promoting Nursing Informatics and/or Information Technology into Practice:

Nancy Flight | Registered Nurse | St. Catharines Site

Nancy continually collaborates with all stakeholders to support and advance information technology within the Walker Family Cancer Centre. She has been essential to the coordination and planning of the new initiative that allows our oncology palliative patients to have a visit with the supportive care team from the comforts of their home instead of making an uncomfortable journey to hospital.

Steven Gallagher, Communications Specialist
905-378-4647, ext. 43879 I 289-696-6767 

Niagara Health System