Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Staff Development): Melanie Cates

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.

From the very beginning, Melanie Cates has been a mentor to nurses. "I was frequently called on to orientate new staff and preceptor students," says Cates when she worked as a staff nurse and clinical nurse specialist at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC). This experience inspired her to shift from bedside nursing to a more formal teaching role, and eventually become a professional practice leader for TBRHSC, a position she still holds today. In this role, Cates helps train and mentor nurses to ensure they are upholding the standards of practice. She goes the extra mile to find opportunities and funding to provide ongoing education for new nurses. A certified emergency RN, Cates also lectures students on emergency nursing practice at TBRHSC and hosts best practice guidelines (BPG) champion workshops for her chapter. Although she admits she is nearing the end of her career, Cates says her age has not stopped her from continuing to upgrade her qualifications and attend educational sessions. “I really try and encourage people to be part of that ongoing learning that we signed on for when we became professionals,” says Cates, who is not looking to hang up the stethoscope any time soon.