Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


2011 Recognition Award Winners

Leadership Award in Nursing Administration
Leadership Award in Nursing Education
Leadership Award in Nursing Research
Student of Distinction
Honourary Life Membership
Award of Merit

HUB Fellowship
RNAO in the Workplace Award
Leadership Award in Nursing Administration
Chapter of the Year - Hamilton Chapter
Interest Group of the Year - RN First Assistant Interest Group
Leadership Award in Political Action - Helen Tindale

Angela Cooper Brathwaite, Whitby
This award 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 health care.

Angela Cooper Brathwaite does not
discriminate or play favourites when it comes to matters that impact nursing
and patient care. She engages in advocacy on issues ranging from Medicare, to
poverty and special diet allowances, gun registries, distracted driver
legislation, hazardous waste disposal, substance misuse, and the need for
helmets while skiing, skating and snowboarding. During her tenure at Durham
Region Health Department, Angela was a leader and mentor. She helped develop
the vision and strategic direction for the Prevention of Injury and Substance
Misuse Program. She encouraged and supported staff to apply the strategic directions to health promotion programs to prevent and reduce injuries and substance misuse in the community. With more than 20 years of experience in nursing administration, Angela has mentored and coached nurses and nursing students. She is a believer in participatory management, actively engaging staff in the decision making process and affording everyone an opportunity to share input and concerns when decisions are made. 
Leadership Award in Nursing Education
Kathleen White-Williams, Toronto

This award 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.
Kathleen White-Williams teaches her students how to apply evidence-based practice through appropriate use of nursing research, theoretical-based literature, and experiential learning. She has enhanced their learning experience by connecting research scholars with the students. This approach has given the students the option to engage in guided interviews with research scholars over a period of three months, culminating with written reflections and a scholarly poster presentation. Kathleen is a faculty advisor for post-RN nursing degree students at Ryerson University and preceptees in the final year of the University of New Brunswick-Humber College collaborative nursing program. She served two terms as Region 5 Representative on RNAO’s Board of Directors, and is currently serving her second term as the Member-at-Large, Nursing Education. Kathleen is writing her PhD dissertation on the experience of 4th year students as they connect with their patients.
Leadership Award in Nursing Research
Sepali Guruge, Toronto
This award is presented to an RNAO member whose work supports the implementation of innovative and progressive nursing practice that leads to positive patient and nurse outcomes.
Sepali Guruge is the first nurse researcher in Canada to develop a program of research on violence against women throughout the migration process. Women experiencing various forms of violence frequently come into contact with nurses. Over the last three decades,considerable nursing research has emerged on the topic. However, limited Canadian nursing research is available. Recognizing the gap, Sepali worked with a group of nurse researchers to start the Nursing Centre for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children at Ryerson University. She is currently serving on the panel that is revising RNAO’s woman abuse best practice guideline. She is one of three nurses to have received a doctoral fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in 2003. She completed her doctoral work at the University of Toronto and did her post-doctoral work at the University of Western Ontario. Sepali also holds a highly competitive New Investigator Award from CIHR’s Institute of Gender and Health for her work in the area of violence against women.  

Student of Distinction
Katherine Gilbert, Oshawa

This 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 students.
Katherine Gilbert is a third year student in the collaborative BScN program at Durham College/University of Ontario Institute of Technology. She has been instrumental in promoting RNAO activities on campus. With the assistance of faculty, she spearheaded the move to include Nursing Students of Ontario (NSO) membership in the ancillary tuition fees at her school. Identifying the need for a mentorship program on campus, she established and sits as the inaugural chair of a nursing community club. The club welcomes all streams of nursing from both the practical and degree programs, and offers orientation activities and other programs to engage students. Gilbert also works as a youth advocate at a local shelter. As the only worker with a background in nursing, Gilbert says she is able to share her health promotion knowledge in an empathetic and non-judgmental manner. Her student colleagues describe Gilbert as passionate about vulnerable populations and of the need to reach out to them. Gilbert credits her success to the nurses who saw potential in her and offered her the encouragement she needed to further her education.
Honourary Life Membership
Shirley Avery, Brockville
Adeline Falk-Rafael, Toronto

This award 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. Two nurses have been selected for recognition in this category.
Shirley Avery has been a member of RNAO since 1978. During a career that focused on paediatrics and spanned almost 45 years, she moved from staff nurse, to patient care coordinator, to manager of nursing education, to clinical instructor within various university programs.She is currently a clinical instructor for 1st year BScN students in the St.Lawrence College/Laurentian University program. Valerie Grdisa, one of seven colleagues to support Avery’s nomination, wrote: “Without Shirley in my life, I would not have likely started my master’s degree…and even more probably, I would not have finished my doctoral studies… Not only did she introduce me to RNAO, she also opened my world to all that is possible within one’s profession at a time when my professional lens had narrowed.” Fellow nominator Janice Waddell wrote: “Shirley is such a pleasure to work with. She is an active contributor to team initiatives,nurturing the development of others, and takes pleasure in learning from others. You want Shirley on your team.”
Adeline Falk-Rafael has been an RNAO member for 25 years. Her contributions to the association and to the nursing profession are vast and have touched every area from clinical practice to research, teaching and political advocacy. She served as RNAO president during a critical time in Ontario when SARS was threatening the safety of front-line nurses (2002-04). Her leadership ensured nurses’ voices and experiences were heard and that system barriers that led to the spread of SARS were addressed. Adeline describes political advocacy as a “moralimperative” for nursing. She responds to every RNAO action alert, and in early 2000, began a mission to lobby government to extend the principles of Medicare to public health. Adeline pursued her baccalaureate to realize her dream of becoming a public health nurse in 1989. She earned her PhD in 1997 and has more than 30 publications to her credit. She has presented her work across Canada, the U.S. and Australia.
Award of Merit
Lisa Bishop, Delhi
Janis Leiterman, Ottawa
This award 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. Two nurses have been selected for recognition in this category.
Lisa Bishop is described as a“tireless advocate” both locally and provincially. With a focus on mental health, Bishop tenaciously campaigns for resources and community programs for this vulnerable population. In their nomination letter, colleagues and fellow Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk chapter executive members recount her determined focus on lobbying for mental health when meeting Ontario’shealth minister and premier at past AGMs. As an active member of other community organizations, Bishop was nominated (and became a finalist) for a woman of the year award in her community. She is applauded by peers for her commitment to RNAO. When she moved to Region 3 from Region 8, she“promptly became involved in our local chapter by volunteering to get right into the executive,” says past-president Sandy Vos. “One of the best examples of mentoring and coaching is the way she takes new executive members under her wing as they develop greater leadership skills. She has a lotof knowledge and is a good mentor for anyone new in the chapter,” says fellow executive member Barb Mead.
Janis Leiterman encourages nurses topractise to the full scope of their education and experience. She is a proponent of evidence-based practice and led the Victorian Order of Nurses tobecome one of RNAO’s seven original Best Practice Spotlight Organizations. As clinical leader for VON during the 2003 SARS outbreak,Leiterman’s quick thinking and collaborative skills helped her develop and implement an effective communications strategy. Knowing that rapidcommunication and access to information by nurses was imperative, Leiterman worked with VON senior management to invest funding in an email system everynurse could access. As a community health nurse, Leiterman’s expertise also helped develop the standards of practice and certification exam that guidecommunity health nursing today.
She has a master’s degree in Public Administration and her colleagues consider her a source of knowledge and support.

HUB Fellowship
Rebecca Harbridge, Barrie

Sponsored by HUB, RNAO’s home and auto insurance provider, this award offers recipients the chance to participate in a week-long, one-on-one placement with RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun.
Public health nurse Rebecca Harbridgeis a member of the Chronic Disease Prevention Tobacco Team at the SimcoeMuskoka District Health Unit. She works with youth to promote tobacco-free sports and recreation. An RNAO best practice champion in smoking cessation, andchair of the Simcoe Muskoka Tobacco Cessation Coalition, Rebecca works with partners to ensure smoking is on the policy agenda. She speaks out in favour ofpublicly-funded nicotine replacement therapy and prescription tobacco cessation medications for all Ontarians. She also mentors nursing students through heragency’s mentorship program and the CNA certification program. Rebecca is a voting delegate and executive network officer in communications for Region 5.She is also a member of two RNAO interest groups that focus on community nursing and the environment. As a workplace liaison, Rebecca recruited ninenurses during RNAO’s 2010 membership year. She began her career as a personal support worker 22 years ago and has since completed her BScN, Masterof Arts in Education and CNA certification as a community health nurse.
RNAO in the Workplace Award
Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto

This award recognizes an Ontario health-care organization for its work tofoster involvement of RNs in their professional association, its creation of a climate of professional partnership and quality work life, and its commitmentto promoting professional development and research-based practice. 
Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospitalhas been selected as this year’s winner. The hospital’s nursing leaders recognize the expertise and knowledge of clinical staff anddemonstrated a commitment to increasing the voice of the staff nurse by recently implementing a new governance model. This ensures staff nurses areconsistently included in identifying and developing initiatives and indecision-making activities that affect their practice. Professional development is encouraged and supported through bursaries and scholarships. The hospital’s nursing department commitment to professional development is further enhanced with nursing education days so staff can update their knowledge and learn new trends in practice and policy. Last year, more than 80per cent of all nurses took advantage of the program. In addition, the nursing department has demonstrated leadership by creating new knowledge and developinginnovation. Last year, nurses led and took part in 11 funded research projects,had 19 peer-reviewed publications and 32 peer-reviewed abstracts accepted forpresentations at local, national and international conferences.

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