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MASH audit a success!

St. Boniface Hospital is now a SAFE Work certified facility after it recently passed an audit with the Manitoba Association of Safety in Healthcare (MASH) making us the first hospital in Winnipeg, and the first tertiary care centre in Manitoba to achieve this type of certification.

Our hospital scored 90 percent when it comes to meeting legislative standards for promoting a safety culture to help prevent workplace injuries.

“It’s a real testament to the hard work and dedication many of our staff have put in the last year to making sure our hospital is a safe place to work, and a safe space for the community we serve,” said SBH President and CEO Nicole Aminot.

Aminot was joined by representatives of MASH in the Everett Atrium on July 21, 2023 where there was a small celebration with the presentation of the safety certificate, along with cake for staff.

MASH is a provincial safety program and available to all health-care facilities in Manitoba to ensure safety of all personnel and the compliance with safety legislation. A 15% rebate incentive on WCB premiums is offered for facilities who pass the audit and can maintain compliance.

The MASH auditor reviewed internal documentation to ensure all elements of a safety program are being met, and observed staff while they were working to ensure policies and procedures were followed. The audit was conducted from June 14 through June 29 which included interviews with nearly 100 staff.

Areas where the hospital scored very well include Hazard Identification, Assessment and Control with a score of 99 percent, Safety Demonstration with a score of 97 percent, and Safety and Health Training and Orientation with 96 percent.

Opportunities for improvement include Workplace Safety and Health Committee & Workers and Protecting Vulnerable Workers where we scored 84 percent, and Evaluation and Continuous Improvement where we scored 86 percent.

“We are so proud of this certification,” said Aminot. “Congratulations to all our staff who continue to look out for each other, and a big thanks to our Occupational Health and Safety staff for their guidance through the audit and for always prioritizing the health and safety of our colleagues.”

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New Truth and Reconciliation Specialist at SBH aims to improve Indigenous relationships

Ryan Thomas, Truth and Reconciliation Specialist at SBH

Ryan Thomas said he’s looking forward to the challenge of being the first Truth and Reconciliation Specialist at St. Boniface Hospital. It’s a newly created position and the first for the Winnipeg region.

Thomas comes to St. B from the Canadian Red Cross where he held the role of Indigenous Community Response Specialist. Thomas said looks forward to seeing how he can bring some of his skills to improve the culture and relationships among the Indigenous community.

“For me, this position is an opportunity to enhance, repair and improve the health-care services specifically for our Indigenous patients, and their families,” Thomas said.

“I see this position as a relationship builder, working with senior staff and the executive team to ensure that we’re building on the initiatives for reconciliation in some of our strategic planning.”

Thomas said he hopes to create change in the health-care sector while also helping to mend relationships that were broken from Canada’s dark history with residential schools.
“I am Indigenous, and I have family members who have experienced trauma from residential schools and living on reserves,” he said.
“For me reconciliation has always been something close to my heart, and I think it’s a very valuable position to be in, and I hope this position can be a stepping stone for other positions similar to mine at other hospitals.”

Thomas said he’s been focusing his first few weeks on the job getting to know the staff and taking part in events at the hospital promoting Indigenous culture, the latest one on National Indigenous People’s Day on June 21, 2023.

“It’s been a great few weeks, staff have been great, and I’ve been learning a lot already.”

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SBH launches post pandemic postcards to say goodbye to Covid-19

Postcard messages from SBH staff saying goodbye to COVID pandemic.

St. Boniface Hospital is taking part in a special project over the next few weeks to acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic is now largely behind us, and say goodbye to COVID-19.

As SBH slowly transitions back to more normal operations, physicians, staff and volunteers will soon be invited to share their experiences about the pandemic over the last three years in the form of a public art project here at St B.

There will be seven styles of large postcards that have been specially designed by local artist Jonato Dalayoan. The postcards will be made available to anyone who wants to write a message on them, or share a memory from the COVID-19 pandemic. These messages will then be posted as artwork and keepsakes the hospital in honour of the tireless effort from our health-care workers during one the most challenging times in our history.

“Is there anyone you want to remember? What did the pandemic teach you? Maybe there are lessons learned that people want to share,” said SBH Senior Corporate Affairs and Engagement Officer Paul Turenne.

“People can write about anything they want as long as it relates to their experience with COVID-19.”

SBH is encouraging members of the public to take part in the project as well.

“There’s really only one rule, we want people to keep it clean,” said Turenne.

“This is a public exhibition that is meant to be a source of positivity, so there’s no room for foul language, or any kind of accusations, but we want people to be honest and real.”

Turenne said all the postcards will then be put in a time capsule along with things like photos, COVID test kits and thank you cards made from children to staff during the height of the pandemic. He adds the hospital is open to hearing about other ideas people have for the time capsule as well.

The time capsule will be stored in the Galerie Buhler Gallery art storage room for 25 years.

The postcards are now available. Volunteers will be in the Everett Atrium distributing the blank cards and accepting completed cards from roughly 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. M-F from June 26 to July 7.

Batches of blank cards will also be sent to units and departments throughout the hospital in early July.

“Not only does this project honor the experiences people had in our hospital,” Turenne said. “But the hope is that it can provide some closure, all while creating unique artwork that people can engage with for many years to come.”

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Sukhpreet Mann, ED Nurse

Two registered nurses at St. Boniface Hospital with very distinct backgrounds are reflecting on what the profession means to them. Karen Falk is getting ready to retire after 42 years of service, while Sukhpreet Mann is a new grad and international student who has been on the job for less than six months.

“It’s been rewarding but it’s also kind of exhausting,” said Mann, who works in the emergency department.

“I like getting to know the patients, advocating for them, just being there for them.”

Mann is from Punjab, India, and said she always knew she wanted a career in health care. But she wasn’t sure nursing was her calling until she moved to Winnipeg in 2017.

“I knew I wanted to work in a hospital setting or health facility. I knew that much,” she said.

“But when I came to Canada as an international student I was limited in choosing a specific career like pharmacy or dentistry. So I looked into nursing and after doing some research, I knew I would like it.”

Mann graduated from the University of Manitoba and did her senior practicum at St. Boniface Hospital.

“What I am learning about the job is that you have to be professional, but also a human being,” she said.

Karen Falk, Medicine Nurse

“If you can lend an ear and listen to patients, just be there for them and support them, I think that really makes a difference,” Mann said.

Karen Falk shares that sentiment. She’s been a nurse in Family Medicine for almost 42 years and has noticed many changes in the profession.

“I was one of the first medicine float pool nurses in 1981, when I graduated,” said Falk, who fondly recalls wearing her white cap.

Karen Falk, Graduation Day 1981

“I did wear my cap for many years,” she said with a laugh. “I was a bit of a dinosaur, I liked wearing my cap, I was thinking I worked this hard for it and I’m going to wear it!”

Falk now keeps her nursing cap in a memory box at home.

“Looking back at all the changes that have occurred in my career, and innovations in health care and different ways that we manage patients, it’s just very different from when I first started nursing,” Falk said.

She noted the focus that the new nurses have coming out of school now is different from when she was starting out.

“We had more of a holistic approach to nursing back then, and now we’ve become more task oriented. I think that’s likely because we are busier now, and the patients are sicker than when I first started nursing.”

Falk said being a nurse was a childhood dream for her, and she’s grateful for having such a long and lustrous career.

“I still think nursing is a wonderful profession. There’s so many things you can do with a nursing degree, it doesn’t have to be at the bedside if that’s not what you want to do,” Falk said.

She’s now focusing on her retirement, which is coming up at the end of this year.

Falk said while she’s ready to move on to her next life adventure, she said leaving St. B will be difficult because of the people she works with.

“I’ve seen so many staff come and go but we have always looked out for each other, we all treat each other like family,” she said

“My goal always was to work at St. Boniface Hospital, because I had always heard it was the best place to work.”

Falk also said she’ll miss all the connections she makes with her patients.

“I’ll miss all of it because nursing has been such a huge part of my life,” she said. “But I feel ready to pass the baton on to somebody else.”

As for Mann, she knows the job won’t be easy. But she considers it a privilege to serve the community.

“In my religion we have this term called seva, which means to meditate and serve mankind, without any thought of reward or benefit, so being a nurse is fulfilling for me in many ways.”

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Proposed medication pouches for patients wins SBH Ideas Competition

Carol Davis, Pharmacy Manager and winner in SBH Ideas Competition

A pharmacy manager at St. Boniface Hospital is proposing the idea of distributing ‘fanny pack pouches’ to patients, which could help reduce the amount of medication that gets lost or wasted during their stay.

That solution was outlined in Carol Davis’s essay, which was the winning submission in the SBH Ideas Competition.

“I wanted to come up with an idea that checked off a lot of boxes that we talk about every day in our safety huddles,” said Davis, who has been a pharmacy manager at St. B for 12 years.

“I know from meetings with our pharmacy staff, having to refill medications when they know they have already been dispensed is definitely a source of disengagement, and it takes away their focus on the orders at hand.”

Davis said she’s concerned about the amount of medications like inhalers getting misplaced when a patient is transferred from one unit to another, specifically from the ED where there is no medication room.

“We know the medication ends up somewhere in the building, but where exactly? I don’t know,” she said.

Davis said Pharmacy receives multiple calls a day requesting medications be refilled unnecessarily once a patient arrives onto an in-patient unit. She said that medication is supposed to last the duration of the patient’s stay but it often goes to waste.

“Medications need to be a piece of the thinking as patients are transitioned throughout our facility,” Davis said.

“Some of these issues speak to the quality of our medication distribution system and efficiencies.”

For her competition-winning idea,  Carol recommended the use of brightly colored pouches, that are easily visible, to store the medication. The pouches could be clipped to the bed or IV poles or worn by patients to prevent the medication from getting misplaced during a patient transfer.

It’s a solution she believes could save the hospital money on medication costs and reduce environmental waste.

“I do think we need to be mindful of the carbon footprint that we are leaving behind.”

The competition, initiated by SBH physician Dr Rizwan Manji, was launched on February 1, 2023, to gather innovative ideas from staff on how to address some of the challenges the hospital faces. More than 30 entries were submitted, with many wide-ranging ideas that tackle hospital inefficiencies, and improvements for staffing and workplace culture.

The second-place winners all work in Cardiac Sciences. They are Anita Maric, Dr. Lorraine Avery, and Craig Hillier, for their proposed idea of having a Staff Relaxation Centre. Third place went to Saxon Duncan, a nurse in NICU for her idea for an onsite daycare.

“I’m so humbled and very excited to be the winner of this contest,” Davis said.

“I had a lot of fun, and I’m grateful the hospital engaged staff to participate in this way.

“Even if my idea just brings awareness to the problem and gets the conversation going, it might lead to another solution out there that looks into medication transfer.”

The SBH executive and SBH Medical Advisory Committee, who jointly ran the competition, would like to thank everyone who submitted ideas. The executive is committed to exploring the feasibility of all the ideas received, whether they were deemed winners or not. Winning ideas may or may not be implemented, once the feasibility is assessed, while those ideas that were not awarded first, second or third prize will still be considered for implementation.

Congratulations Carol and thanks everyone for making this first-ever SBH Ideas Competition a success!

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Mother praises video app that connects parents with babies in NICU

What started as a pilot project two and half years ago is now a popular app that keeps parents connected with their babies staying in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Boniface Hospital.

vCreate Diaries is a secure video app that allows neonatal staff to record and upload video-clips and photos of the babies which are then shared directly with parents.

The service was a big help to Kelly Burtnyk and her husband who couldn’t always be with their baby girl Annie back in December of 2021.

“She was teeny tiny,” recalls Burtnyk.

Annie was born premature at 28 weeks weighing just 1 pound ten ounces. Her stay in the NICU lasted 88 days.

“It was a long time, and even though we were there every day it was so hard to leave because we couldn’t stay with her overnight,” she said.

Burtnyk said thanks to vCreate Diaries she was able to go home and get the sleep she needed knowing her baby was in good hands.

“It was really nice to get those photos and reassurances from the nurses during the night, reminders that our baby is okay even though she couldn’t be home with us.”

She said her favorite photo was the one she received that first Christmas after giving birth.

“We were at home and when we woke up we saw that we had photos of Annie that the nurses had taken in front of a Christmas back drop,” said Burtynky.

“It was special because it was one of the first times we had seen her whole face, because she was intubated for a while, on CPAP to keep her breathing, so we had never really seen her without any tubes covering her little face.”

“They took the picture quickly without the CPAP mask and that was the best vCreate moment for us, the nurses were just wonderful.”

vCreate photo of Annie taken on December 25, 2021

The service has been a huge success thanks to funding by the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation.

“The Foundation was delighted to help bring this technology to NICU parents and staff. Any time we can contribute to the hospital’s ability to meet the emotional needs of patients we are proud to answer the call. It’s incredible to see the real-life impact this initiative continues to have,” said Lisa Thomson Stifora, Director of Communications and Stewardship with St. Boniface Hospital Foundation.

So far, vCreate Diaries has helped more than 200 families since it launched in December of 2021.

“It’s so important for parents to have that connection,” said Cheryl Staerk, one of several NICU nurses that took care of Annie.

“When we see these little moments of their babies at three in the morning it just feels wrong, so if we can share those precious moments with the parents that’s very special,” said Staerk.

vCreate photo of Annie staying in NICU at St. Boniface Hospital in 2021

She said the service is invaluable in keeping parents connected with their babies when they can’t be by their side for whatever reason.

Annie is now a 16-month-old toddler and thriving.

“She’s fantastic, she’s still tiny but healthy has a big personality,” said Burtynk with a laugh.

She hopes to see vCreate Diaries used in more hospitals around the country.

“I think a program like this is so critical,” said Burtnyk.

“We were fortunate that we could spend as much time as we did at St. Boniface Hospital, but for those parents that live out of town, to get those messages and pictures of their baby, that is huge for a parent’s mental health.”

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