Award of Merit Jill Staples
Chapter of the Year Kawartha-Victoria Chapter
Honourary Life Membership Suzanne Finnie
Honourary Life Membership Beverley Simpson
HUB Fellowship - Sponsored by HUB International - Jannine
Interest Group of the Year Nurse Practitioners' Association
Leadership Award in Nursing Administration Liz Janzen
Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic) Carroll
Leadership Award in Nursing Research Carol McWilliam
Leadership Award in Political Action Grace Harper
President’s Award for Leadership in Clinical Nursing
Practice - Sponsored by HUB International - Sandra Hooper
President’s Award for Leadership in Clinical Nursing
Practice - Sponsored by HUB International - Maria Tandoc
RNAO in the Workplace Award Sandwich Community Health
Student of Distinction Award Colleen Wright
RNAO Award of Merit
The RNAO Award of Merit recognizes registered nurses who have made outstanding
contributions to RNAO and to the profession of nursing in Ontario. Winners demonstrate
responsibility for professional development, and are exemplary role models and
mentors to peers.
Jill Staples is this year’s winner. As president of RNAO’s
Kawartha-Victoria Chapter, Staples has recruited a diverse executive membership
and promoted RNAO to nurses throughout the community. She also ensures local
MPPs are aware of RNAO’s positions on issues and regularly attends the
annual Day at Queen’s Park. She also frequently speaks out for continued
funding for the Blood Conservation Program, which she is part of as an Ontario
Transfusion Coordinator at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. The role provided
her with the opportunity to learn about joint replacement surgery, which she
embraced as a new challenge after spending much of her career working with newborns
at PRHC. RNs who have worked with Staples say her mentorship inspired them to
earn their own achievements such as the international lactation consultant certification.
Chapter of the Year
The 2010 Chapter of the Year is Kawartha-Victoria. Beryl Cable-Williams'
nomination of the chapter noted that "Organizations that depend on the
energy and enthusiasm of volunteers are well known to be at risk of falling
out of action, never to return. However, the Kawartha-Victoria Chapter has "emerged
from a period of relative inactivity, has recruited new members, and offers
a varied program of events of both professional interest and celebration."
Kawartha-Victoria stood out as a nominee because of its efforts to stay in contact
and engage members in a wide range of events.
The Chapter reached out to recruit new members by distributing membership information
at new staff orientation sessions at the local hospital, hosting information
booths at Nursing Week events in the hospital, and providing student membership
information and ice cream at the local School of Nursing.
The list of events and activities in the chapter this year reflects a huge
amount of time and commitment from the executive team in Kawartha-Victoria,
and has led to the enthusiasm and involvement of a new group of members.
Honourary Life Membership
The Honourary Life Membership is conferred on long-standing RNAO members who
have made outstanding contributions to nursing practice, education, administration
or research at the provincial, national or international levels. This includes
activities that promote the association among nursing colleagues, the government
and other health-care partners.
Suzanne Finnie has been an RNAO member for 36 years, and has led the
association through historic changes. In 1996, she spearheaded the amalgamation
of three chapters in east Toronto to create Region 7. She was a member of RNAO’s
Board of Directors from 1995 to 1999 and helped shape nursing policy through
her work on RNAO’s various committees for resolutions, by-laws and research.
Finnie is also one of Canada’s earliest nurse practitioners. She was President
of the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario from 1977 to 1979 and
helped to draft the Standards of Practice for Nurse Practitioners. Finnie spent
her career – nearly four decades long – caring, teaching and mentoring
in family practice and primary care nursing, and truly exemplifies the highest
standard of professionalism.
Beverley Simpson has been an RNAO member for 20
years and has made significant contributions to nursing education and practice;
many colleagues describe her as one of nursing’s best cheerleaders. She
helped develop, and is a key program director for, the Dorothy Wylie Nursing
Leadership Institute, which helps shape nursing leaders. Simpson was also instrumental
in the re-organization of the Registered Nurses’ Foundation of Ontario.
Her efforts in organizing a fundraising system have ensured that registered
nurses and nursing students seeking financial support get the chance to further
their education. Simpson’s quiet persistence and can-do attitude also helped
in her work with the University of Toronto and the College of Nurses of Ontario
to create the first acute care nurse practitioner program in Canada.
RNAO HUB Fellowship
The RNAO HUB Fellowship, sponsored by RNAO’s
home and auto insurance provider, offers recipients the chance to participate
in a week-long, one-on-one placement with RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun.
As the President of RNAO’s Peel Chapter, Jannine Bolton is a role
model and mentor to RNs in the region. She has formed partnerships with nurses,
community leaders and other stakeholders, increased RNAO membership, and worked
tirelessly to strengthen the nursing voice in the community. She was the lead
for the Bridging Health Care Delivery from Hospital to Community initiative
for the Mississauga-Halton LHIN and was the co-creator and presenter of a document
that provided solutions to health-care delivery in the region when a local hospital
closed. Last year, she also worked closely with the Mississauga News to create
a Nursing Week supplement. Recently, she helped to organize a screening of the
Home Safe Toronto, a documentary that tells the stories of families who are
living with homelessness.
Interest Group of the Year
The passage of Bill 179 and the announcement of additional nurse practitioner-led
clinics this year marks the realization of many of NPAO's political goals. The
NPAO has engaged members and leaders who are committed to improved access to
safe, effective care for patients. NPAO members are engaged in their interest
group's work and hear from their leadership frequently. The NPAO nomination
included a detailed list of the many activities undertaken by the group this
year. These included action alerts and responses to legislation, involvement
by politicians in "Take Your MPP to Work" days, and public awareness
of the nurse practitioner role through advertising and media. There were efforts
to support members during the RFP process for NP-led clinics, support for NPs
writing their exams, research, and support for members engaged in political
action. Numerous NPAO members won awards for their efforts and were published
in nursing journals.
NPAO shows tremendous commitment to RNAO. The group is the Interest Group of
the Year because it communicates through a variety of media and methods; influences
decision makers and mobilizes RNs for action; and exhibits exemplary teamwork
and strong leadership within the nursing and health-care communities.
Leadership Award in Nursing Administration
The Leadership Award in Nursing Administration honours a member who shows exemplary
management skills in an acute, long-term, community, education, research or
other setting. This individual actively implements ground-breaking ideas to
enhance patient care, and demonstrates a commitment to improve the quality of
This year’s recipient is Liz Janzen, former Senior Nurse for Toronto
Public Health and the former head of the Healthy Living/Healthy Communities
directorate. Although now officially retired, Janzen’s enthusiasm for health
promotion is described by colleagues as “infectious.” Her expertise
in public health spanned 30 years, during which time she worked with groups
ranging from infants to seniors. Her vision and strength as a leader were instrumental
in moving several health promotion initiatives forward such as the Diversity,
Access and Equity Strategy. She also coordinated programs that responded to
the city’s homeless population, and she led the development and implementation
of a comprehensive harm reduction strategy. Dignity and diversity were the key
values that described her leadership style. She supported nurses and other staff
members to become involved in leadership programs and opportunities.
Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic)
The RNAO Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic) is presented to the
RN who excels as a nursing educator in a university or college. The winner enhances
the image of nursing by encouraging critical thinking, innovation and debate
on nursing issues and acts as a role model and mentor.
Carroll Iwasiw is the winner of this year’s award. A professor
at the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at the University of Western Ontario,
Iwasiw has been teaching for three decades. She has also held many leadership
roles. She has served as director of nursing at Western, chaired the Council
of Ontario University Programs in Nursing and currently heads the accreditation
bureau of the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing. She mentors many emerging
researchers and graduate students, and has also been active internationally.
She has helped develop a program to teach Russian nurses how to care for people
with disabilities. She also led the nursing arm of a six-year program to help
rebuild health care in Rwanda. In 1999, the World Health Organization recognized
Iwasiw as a World Expert in nursing education.
Leadership Award in Nursing Research
RNAO’s Leadership Award in Nursing Research is presented to a member whose
work supports the implementation of innovative and progressive nursing practice
that leads to positive patient and nurse outcomes.
Carol McWilliam’s extensive body of research during her 20-year
career has improved care for seniors living with chronic diseases. Her passion
to advance quality, patient-focused home care has led to many changes in the
sector. The South West Community Care Access Centre has adopted her work on
evidence-informed practice, leading to flexible, client-driven service delivery.
Her research has also influenced practices at other agencies including the Ontario
Association of Community Care Access Centres and VON Canada. McWilliam is a
professor at the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at the University of
Western Ontario. She has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and
been a speaker at many forums in Canada and around the world.
Leadership Award in Political Action
Grace Harper is an activist for nursing and for rural health care, and
an active member who can be extremely proud of her efforts and results for nursing.
This member's passion is to mobilize others in her role as the policy and political
action officer for Perth Chapter and as founder of "the Nursing Shortage
and You", a group dedicated to educating the public and decision- makers
about the impact of nursing shortages and health- care cuts on rural areas in
Ontario. This individual's profile as an activist is so high, she was actually
nominated by two different people! Grace Harper has been extremely effective
in getting the word out through newspapers and radio, and hosting numerous well-attended
events, including panel discussions and all-candidates meetings. Grace has built
relationships with allies, hosting guests from not just RNAO, but also RPNAO,
ONA, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, and the Ontario Health Coalition.
Grace's win is testament to her efforts to provide leadership in the area of
President’s Award for Leadership in Clinical Nursing
RNAO’s President’s Award for Leadership in Clinical Nursing Practice
is presented to an RN in a staff nurse position who consistently demonstrates
expertise and evidence-based practice in one or more areas of clinical practice.
Sandra Hooper is a nurse practitioner with the City of Ottawa’s
Healthy Sexuality Clinic whose commitment to public health encourages leadership,
critical thinking and clinical excellence. As an active member of RNAO and NPAO,
she provides valuable insight to policy development, both locally and nationally.
At the clinic, she supports an expanded nursing role by teaching the theory
and overseeing the practical aspects of completing the certification required
to perform pelvic examinations. Her work allows registered nurses to provide
contraception, Pap smear tests and sexually transmitted infection screening
to people without a primary care provider. Hooper is a strong advocate for her
patients, particularly street-involved youth and young women.
Maria Tandoc works in the intensive care unit at
the Trillium Health Centre where she mentors other critical care nurses and
is a preceptor for new staff members. Last year, she decreased ventilatory-associated
pneumonia (VAP) rates when she developed and implemented an oral care program
in the ICU based on recommendations in RNAO’s best practice guideline on
oral health. Tandoc is also very involved in RNAO. She is the membership and
workplace liaison for Peel Chapter and the membership officer for the Nursing
Research Interest Group. She works with Peel Chapter executive members to plan
workplace liaison meetings, develops post cards to invite lapsed members to
re-join, and can be found at RNAO events encouraging all RNs to join the association.
RNAO in the Workplace Award
The RNAO in the Workplace Award recognizes an Ontario health-care organization
for its work to foster involvement of RNs in their professional association,
its creation of a climate of professional partnership and quality work life,
and its commitment to promoting professional development and research-based
The Sandwich Community Health Centre in Windsor has been selected as
this year’s winner. The CHC demonstrates the importance of a quality work
environment by ensuring that more than 90 per cent of its RNs are employed full-time.
The CHC uses several approaches to create a supportive learning environment
for its staff, including a preceptorship program, online learning resources,
and regular “lunch and learn” sessions. In April of 2009, it was chosen
as a Best Practice Spotlight Organization Candidate, the first CHC to be selected.
In the area of research, the CHC has aligned its work on a study evaluating
the methods and effectiveness of providing Nicotine Replacement Therapy with
implementation of the Integrating Smoking Cessation into Daily Nursing Practice
Best Practice Guideline. More than three-quarters of the nurses who work at
the CHC belong to RNAO. Staff members are also encouraged to take advantage
of various professional opportunities offered by their professional association.
Student of Distinction
The Student of Distinction Award is given to a nursing student who is a role
model for professionalism and contributes to the advancement of RNAO/NSO within
her/his nursing program. This student also acts as a resource for other nursing
Colleen Wright-Loree graduated from the McMaster-Mohawk-Conestoga nursing
program in December. Despite a heavy course load, she found time to mentor students
through her part-time work as a facilitator of two peer-supported learning groups
at Conestoga. She also worked with 25 students through an initiative known as
Nursing Undergraduate Buddy System and offered informal tutoring sessions to
those in her Conestoga nursing community who required help. Wright-Loree demonstrated
enthusiasm and energy for her professional association by communicating the
benefits of RNAO to fellow nursing students. Her interest in nursing research
led to her involvement in a practicum where she undertook a systematic literature
review of cannabis use. Her work led to the development of a position statement
that has been submitted to the Canadian Nursing Student Association for approval.
Wright-Loree is currently working in the emergency department at Groves Memorial
Community Hospital in Fergus and plans to become an acute care nurse practitioner.