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By Emily Dawson
We often hear from our people that they chose a career in health care to make a positive difference and find meaning in their daily work. On Jan. 30, we celebrated the annual Mission and Values Day at Providence Healthcare and reflected on how our values help us find purpose and joy in our work.
These values, which have evolved from the legacy instilled in us by our founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, guide how we deliver care, how we make important decisions, and how we interact with our colleagues.
Every year, we recognize about a dozen staff, physicians and volunteers across Unity Health who have shown a deep commitment to our values. The Our Shared Values Awards are one of the highest honours at Unity Health and last week, we presented awards to three staff from Providence. Unity Health also recognizes recipients at St. Joseph’s Health Centre every March as part of its Mission Day and at St. Michael’s Hospital Feast Day in September.
“At the heart of Catholic health care is a commitment to care for everyone in need, especially those experiencing marginalization or disadvantage. Our award recipients share some essential attributes: an unshakeable commitment to compassionate care; a desire to affirm the dignity of everyone they encounter; and a strong sense of purpose,” said Beth Johnson, Unity Health’s Executive Director of Mission Integration.
Their stories are at once touching, emotional and inspiring. We congratulate and thank Providence’s recipients for their dedication and compassion.
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In Providence’s Orthopaedic and Amputee program, social worker Tammy Ciuclaru is known for her abilities to engage in emotionally supportive conversations with patients and advocating on their behalf for better supports when they’re preparing to go home.
Ciuclaru’s colleagues nominated her for the Human Dignity Award in recognition of her desire to affirm that every person has sacred value and is worthy of respect. One of several examples in her nomination reads:
“I remember clearly her approach in working with a woman in her late 80s who had a pelvic fracture, lived alone, and had no family or friends to assist her.
“She had dementia but was deemed capable of making decisions for herself. She wanted to go home. Although many people were hesitant about this, Tammy respected the patient’s wishes and advocated to make it happen.
“On her discharge day, Tammy wanted to be the one to take her home. Because the patient had been a daily mall visitor, they stopped at the mall on the way home. Tammy made sure the patient remembered the route, was able to walk safely through the mall, and could continue the activities that make her happy.”
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The value of Inclusivity expresses how our teams foster an inclusive, welcoming environment where everyone is treated equitably and without judgment. Our recipient of the Inclusivity Award was Cristina Pascual, a Community Resource Worker.
Her nomination reads:
“Cristina works with many of our most marginalized patients, many of whom face multiple disadvantages such as low income, no social support, homelessness, mental illness, and substance use disorders.
“As one example, we had discharged a patient to a care facility in the west end and Cristina had assisted us in putting pieces in place to make this a safe and smooth transition, such as a new bed and lifeline system.
“After a few days, the facility decided it was not the right fit for this patient as he was wandering away and was unable to navigate his way back. Although Providence immediately agreed for the patient to return, our team was faced with a conundrum at the end of an extremely hot summer Friday in how to return the patient to us safely.
“Without hesitation, Cristina readily agreed to make her way over to facility. With Cristina’s kind non-judgmental care he was welcomed back to Providence.”
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One of the greatest testimonies to our culture at Unity Health is the long tenure of so many staff and physicians. The recipient of our Compassion Award, Elisa De Ocampo, was a nurse at Providence for 50 years before she retired in December.
In a salute to her dedication and joy, her colleagues nominated De Ocampo to honour her capacity to provide care with kindness and sensitivity to both her patients and colleagues. Her nomination reads:
“Elisa consistently helped her patients to reach their maximum potential by gently encouraging them to become more independent. She assisted patients when they needed help, but would gradually give them their own independence when she saw what they were capable of. This gives patients confidence and facilitates their discharge home.
“Patients loved and appreciated Elisa. I have seen many patients give her a big hug when they leave. Many patients came back to visit Elisa so they could show her how well they were doing and how far they progressed.
“Elisa cares deeply about her coworkers, students, and patients. She has warmth and a smile readily available and is always willing to help out and be present.”
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