Since opening nearly a century ago, St. Joseph’s Health Centre Toronto has established an enduring tradition of serving the diverse needs of our community. Our roots run deep, as does our commitment to living the promise made by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto when they founded our hospital in 1921 to care for all those in need. Today’s mission and values were built on this promise.
“Every day, people across St. Joe’s honour our founders by living our mission and values in their work,” said Beth Johnson, executive director of Mission Integration at Unity Health Toronto.
Annually, we celebrate Mission Day to recognize and applaud the ways in which staff, physicians and volunteers live the Health Centre’s mission and values. This day culminates in the presentation of our Legend Awards.
“These awards represent one of the highest honours at St. Joe’s, acknowledging outstanding contributions to patients, families and our community,” Johnson explained.
The stories shared in our six recipients’ nominations exemplify how the values come to life in their day-to-day interactions.
Techie Magtibay, charge nurse in the Hemodialysis unit, is the Legend Award winner for Social Responsibility: “Actions that promote the just use of resources entrusted to us for the enhancement of human life, both personally and corporately.”
One of her colleagues shared this moving story about a new patient on hemodialysis who was having difficulties coping with the diagnosis and following medical advice.
“Techie found a humourous way to connect with the patient by comparing chronic disease with car ownership.
“Dialysis, medications and diet restrictions were akin to oil changes and maintenance checkups. As annoying as it may all be, the treatments and medications and fluid restrictions improve quality of life.
“I glanced at the patient and saw that he was beaming and nodding enthusiastically. He loved the car metaphor, and the big picture of dealing with chronic disease seemed to have finally sunk in.”
Shelagh Scanga, a nurse with the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team, received the Legend Award for Community Service for “working in a climate of mutual support that enables healing and the fulfillment of human potential.”
Her colleagues within St. Joe’s and the Toronto Police Services confirmed her commitment with the following:
“Shelagh has been a familiar face in the Health Centre and in the community. Shelagh works alongside Toronto Police offering support to community members who need mental health support.”
“Saying Shelagh is eager to help people is an understatement. I believe that Shelagh is a gift to the field of mental health. Even with the experience and care that she operates with on a daily basis, she continually challenges herself to do better.”
Dr. Jennifer Hopfner, a Palliative Care physician, received the Legend Award for Human Dignity as an “individual who values each person as a unique individual with a right to respect and acceptance.”
Here are a few words from Dr. Hopfner’s nomination.
“Dr. Hopfner never stops advocating for patients and families’ goals. She does this by always ensuring that, no matter their background, people feel heard and honoured.
“I have watched her kneel and get eye-to-eye with patients at the bedside to talk about their care and I’ve watched her sit with a dying patient who had no one, so they did not die alone.
“She amazes us with her genuine capacity to care for the most fragile and vulnerable patients.”
Our Legend Award recipient for Compassion is Dr. Kay Shen, a physician with the Addictions and Medicine unit, for “demonstrating a quality of presence and caring that fosters healing and wholeness.”
“I have witnessed Dr. Shen’s caring, compassion and knowledge. One such story was watching her with a patient intubated for an overdose, and his visibly upset mother.
“Dr. Shen genuinely embraced this mother and I watched in awe to see the impact this simple embrace had. The comfort and support his mother felt was clear to me in just watching her body language – no words were needed to see how important that embrace was at that time.”
This year, two people received Legend Awards for Excellence. Both “demonstrate a commitment to strive for the best in care, education and research, and quality of work life.”
The first recipient is Operating Room (OR) team leader Giselle Magtoto.
Her colleagues say “Giselle empowers her colleagues by encouraging them to take on leadership opportunities and continuing education. She created Arthroscopic workshops to engage nursing colleagues in hands-on simulation and guiding the nursing team members to enhance their knowledge through in-services.
“Giselle was actively involved in the launch of the “trauma time” initiative, which opened up bed space for the floors, alleviated length of stay in the hospital, and decreased costs to St. Joe’s.”
The second recipient for Excellence is patient care manager Cheryl Peever. Her nomination shone a light on how she immerses herself so she can fully empathize with our patients’ experience of care, in order to help improve it.
“Cheryl is a strong advocate for patients. She works tirelessly to bring positive changes that improve our patients’ experiences while they live through one of the most dehumanizing and frightening periods of their lives.
“Through creating a “Community Meeting” time, Cheryl helps bring patients out of the darkness, out of their rooms, and allows them to air fears and concerns, with their illness, with our unit, and with their care.”
“On behalf of our board of directors and leadership team, congratulations to the 2019 Legend Award winners. You are leading by example, and we are grateful for all that you do,” said Johnson.
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