This award is given to the RN who practises excellence as a nursing educator or preceptor in a health-care organization. This individual enhances the image of nursing by encouraging critical thinking, innovation and debate about important nursing issues, and acts as a role model and mentor.
Sheila O’Keefe-McCarthy never set out to become a mentor. She says it was just a natural progression. Nurses would seek out her advice, and then would keep coming back. Her three-decade career spans from her graduation as a diploma nurse in 1982 to completing her PhD in nursing in 2013. She has a lot to offer colleagues and students alike, and says mentorship is one of the great pleasures of her life. “That gives me tremendous joy to see someone take that spark and run with it,” she says. Through her practice as a critical care nurse at Lindsay’s Ross Memorial Hospital, her research at the University of Toronto, and her work with the Canadian Pain Society and Canadian Council of Cardiovascular Nurses, Sheila dedicates much of her time toward managing pain for sufferers of cardiovascular illness. She’s reached countless patients, and says, in turn, they’ve inspired her. “If I hadn’t had those unbelievable encounters…I would have never reached this position. So that’s a beautiful thing.”