Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


2012 Recognition Award Winners

Award of Merit

This award recognizes a registered nurse who has made an outstanding contribution 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.

Marianne Cochrane has been an RNAO member for nearly 30 years. She’s been active in many roles, serving as president of the Durham Northumberland chapter and as chair of the Provincial Nurse Educator Interest Group. She’s also led the legal assistance, bylaws and resolutions committees, and was a member of the board of directors from 2001 to2005. As an RNAO workplace liaison, Marianne encourages both students and fellow faculty members at Durham College/University of Ontario Institute of Technology (DC/UOIT) to become RNAO members. She helped students work with their peers and school administrators to include the cost of RNAO membership intuition fees, and in 2011 all DC/UOIT nursing students became automatic RNAO members. Marianne is known as a trusted teacher who offers supportive academic and career advice.

As the professional practice leader for nurse practitioners (NP) at St. Michael’s hospital, Marnee Wilson has been instrumental in ensuring all the hospital’s NPs are working to their full scope of practice. Following legislative changes to NP practice in 2011, Wilson navigated St. Michael’s administrative processes to ensure physicians and other stakeholders were supportive of the NPs’ new scope. She also advocated for changes to hospital policies to ensure NPs are working to their full capacity to provide the best patient care. Marnee, who continues in her clinical role as an NP in cardiovascular surgery, worked with her colleagues to ensure they embraced their new responsibilities confidently. She has been so successful that other health-care organizations now seek her advice.

Honorary Life Membership

This award is given to 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.

Cheryl Forchuk’s dedication to RNAO and nursing is evident in every aspect of her career. She chaired the association's provincial resolutions committee for four years, and was president of the Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk chapter, where she continues to support newer chapter executives. Cheryl’s mentorship is sought out by students at the University of Western Ontario (UWO), where she is a professor and associate director of nursing research. She is invited to speak at many international conferences about her extensive research on integrating people with mental illness into the community. Her work also explores homelessness, therapeutic relationships, poverty and technology in mental health care. Cheryl has received many accolades, including the Social and Rural Psychiatry Faculty Award from UWO and the St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation and Canadian Mental Health Association London-Middlesex Champion of Mental Health Award.

A member of RNAO for nearly 25 years, Joyce Fox has long been an advocate for nursing and public health. In 2001, she was named Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. She was one of only a few nurses in that role at the time. She has since worked with RNAO to implement the CNO role in every public health unit in Ontario. Joyce has also been integrally involved in RNAO’s best practice guidelines program as leader of the Enhancing Healthy Adolescent Development BPG. She is well respected among front-line RNs because she always listens to their concerns. Colleagues describe Joyce as “a champion of the nursing profession and its fundamental importance to health care and public health.”

HUB Fellowship

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 Chief Executive Officer Doris Grinspun.

Angela de Guzman is committed to furthering her own leadership skills. She is a best practice guideline champion at Toronto Public Health, ensuring her nursing colleagues know about RNAO’s post partum depression resources to care for mothers. She helps to create healthy work environments for public health nurses by delivering team building workshops. Angela demonstrates tremendous leadership in her volunteer work as well. During last fall’s provincial election, she helped organize an all-candidates ebate, and has actively participated in RNAO assembly meetings. Angela is involved with Sigma Theta Tau International Lambda Pi-at-Large chapter. She has been a member of that chapter’s board of directors, and has chaired the fundraising committee to raise money for STTI’s awards program.

Leadership Award in Nursing Administration

This award honours an RN who shows exemplary management skills in an acute, long-term, community, education, research or other setting. This individual actively implements groundbreaking ideas to enhance patient care, and demonstrates a commitment to improve the quality of health care.

Cathy Jaynes is the director of the Healthy Living Division of York Region Community and Health Services. Colleagues call her a trusted visionary’ who is transparent and supportive. In the last four years, she has overseen her division’s rapid expansion. Cathy’s responsibilities range from leading tobacco and healthy schools policies to responding to public health emergencies such as H1N1. She seeks new ways to use her staff to their greatest potential so their work is rewarding, but also cost effective. Cathy is always looking for new ways to improve opportunities for her colleagues. She encourages formal and informal learning for all staff, supports mentoring opportunities, and holds monthly meetings with managers to build trusting relationships. Her nominator says “she strives to get the best” from every member of her team.

Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic)

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.

Students describe Katherine Cummings as a passionate professor. For the last eight years, she has earned accolades and near-perfect student evaluations at the Durham College/University of Ontario Institute of Technology (DC/UOIT). She creates a non-judgmental learning environment to support students throughout their four years.

She is well known for her ability to synthesize complex concepts into material appropriate for first-year students, and frequently takes on projects that will improve DC/UOIT’s program. In 2009, Katherine led DC/UOIT through the accreditation process for nursing education. That year, she also developed quizzes, tutorials and other materials to improve students’ numeracy skills, ease ‘math fear’ and create a culture in the school where math is viewed as an essential skill to ensure high-quality, safe nursing practice. Katherine is also dedicated to her own education. Since 2004, she has taken part in 40professional development activities, including those that focus on innovations in teaching and learning.

Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Staff Development)

This award is presented to the RN who excels as a nursing educator in a health-care organization. This individual acts as a role model and mentor, and enhances nursing by encouraging critical thinking, innovation and debate.

As a clinical manager at the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, Joanne Jones is always adding to her colleagues’ knowledge. Between 2008 and 2010, she was a clinical educator and managed an organization-wide project to change the centre’s philosophy of care to one focused on recovery. She designed and delivered five-day education sessions to all clinical staff at Ontario Shores. These sessions were meant to create a better understanding of the centre’s new vision. Joanne also supports nurses who sit on committees, and ensures they can take part in education sessions. She is an executive of RNAO’s Mental Health Nurses’ Interest Group, president-elect of the Canadian Federation of Mental Health Nurses, and sits on the Canadian Nurses’ Association’s psychiatric/mental health nursing certification exam committee.

Leadership Award in Nursing Research

This award is presented to an RN whose work supports the implementation of innovative and progressive nursing practice that leads to positive patient and nurse outcomes.

Maher El-Masri promotes research in every facet of his work as an associate professor and research leadership chair at the University of Windsor. He created a summer institute of clinical health research for graduate students and health-care professionals, a biennial nursing research conference, and research forums and a research club where students and faculty share their ideas. Maher’s focus is on primary health care and infection control. He is the author of 42 peer-reviewed articles, and his work receives significant media coverage. Despite his busy schedule, Maher lends his expertise on research methodologies to colleagues, students and the community. He readily takes time to answer other faculty members’ questions about his work and is sought out as a mentor to graduate students. He is also a founding member of the Windsor Cancer Research Group, which aims to improve multidisciplinary cancer research.

President’s Award for Leadership in Clinical Nursing Practice

This award recognizes a staff nurse who consistently demonstrates expertise and evidence-based practice in one or more areas of clinical practice. Winners demonstrate nursing leadership in their workplaces and influence change for the betterment of patients, families and/or communities. Two nurses have been selected for recognition in this category.

Rosemarie Clarke is the research nurse manager in the immunodeficiency clinic at Toronto General Hospital. An avid supporter of her professional association, she worked with hospital management to secure funding to reimburse the clinic’s RNs for their RNAO memberships. She supports nurse-led research and hopes to have RNs in her clinic begin examining ways to effectively deliver care to diverse groups of people living with HIV, including new immigrants and women. Rosemarie has provided nurses in her clinic with the chance to receive additional training to perform pelvic exams and Pap smears for women, improving access to care for those who don’t have a primary care provider.

Jo-Anne Wilson is a staff nurse in the operating room at Trillium Health Centre. She is committed to sharing with younger RNs the knowledge she’s acquired during her 44-year nursing career. She is a member of the peri Operative Room Nurses of Greater Toronto, an organization that provides networking and educational opportunities for surgical nurses. Jo-Anne often travels to conferences around North America and shares the latest technology and techniques with her colleagues when she comes home. She also mentors nurses in the Philippines, where she’s been part of a mission for five years, assisting in minor surgeries and doing health teaching for locals with diabetes and high blood pressure. With the support of this award, she hopes to travel to RNAO’s International Nursing Conference in Jerusalem in June 2012.

RNAO Promotion in a Nursing Program Award

This award is presented to a nursing education program that best promotes and raises the profile of RNAO and participates in association activities.

RNAO is part of daily life for students and faculty in the Lakehead University/Confederation College collaborative BScN program. A number of the school’s professors are leaders of the RNAO Lakehead chapter and various interest groups. They have also participated as panel members for several of RNAO’s best practice guidelines. Student are encouraged to bring BPGs into their studies, and third-year students complete poster presentations and papers that link a BPG to a real-life scenario from their clinical placements. During Nursing Week 2011, the university invited RNAO President David McNeil and Region 12 representative Kathleen Fitzgerald to provide leadership presentations. Students are invited to take part in Lakehead chapter events year round, including volunteering at a local homeless shelter.

RNAO in the Workplace Award

This award recognizes an Ontario health-care organization for its work to foster involvement of RNs in their professional association. The winning organization creates a climate of professional partnership and quality work life, and is committed to promoting professional development and research-based practice.

Nurses at Guelph General Hospital (GGH) show off their commitment to patient care every shift, every day. The hospital is a best practice spotlight organization (BPSO) designate, with more than 50 best practice champions. RNs have already put six guidelines into place, and five more will be implemented over the next three years, including a healthy work environment guideline. Over the last six years, nurses have also completed RNAO advanced clinical/practice fellowships on topics including workplace safety, organ donation and wound care. GGH has committed to nursing knowledge by protecting staff development funds from budget cuts, and allowing RNs flexible scheduling to take part in educational opportunities. More than 70 per cent of the nurses at GGH work full time, and preceptorship and job shadowing opportunities are available for all staff.

Student of Distinction Award

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.

Zamin Ladha is in his last year at the University of Toronto. In addition to his involvement with RNAO’s Region 6, Toronto West chapter, Zamin is an active student who helped to promote the Nursing Students of Ontario’s most recent Model World Health Organization conference. He was also a member of the leadership team that hosted the Canadian Nursing Students Association’s Ontario regional conference in2011. Zamin was president of U of T’s Nursing Undergraduate Society in2012. A passionate advocate, Zamin successfully lobbied for the university to provide affordable tuberculosis testing for all students. He is committed to evidence-based practice. During one of his clinical placements, he used RNAO’s Enhancing Healthy Adolescent Development best practice guideline to create a poster on youth living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Chapter of the Year

Wellington Chapter

Interest Group of the Year

Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario (NPAO)

Leadership Award in Political Action

Leanne Siracusa