These patient care leaders each oversee 70 front line health-care workers caring for the most vulnerable and at-risk patients at Mackenzie Health.
As a patient care manager for the reactivation care centre, Dawn Donaldson is taking daily calls from patients’ families who are anxious and looking for reassurance. She also volunteered at a long-term care home in crisis spending her Saturday morning swabbing more than 60 patients and providing needed support. “It was not the greatest day of my life, but certainly a necessary day of my life,” she says.“I want to send out my deepest respect for those who work in long-term care.” Donaldson says her biggest challenge has been to stay calm and keep her and her team’s emotions in check. “We often cry together and resolve our feelings at work, because we can’t take them back to our partners and kids at home,” she says.
Jane Burton’s mom was a nurse, and she decided to follow in her footsteps. Burton is now the patient care manager for the continuing care program. Her role is to make sure they have enough supplies available to ensure the safest possible environment for patients and staff. “Our team is always stepping up for the community, and it gives me the strength to do this, too, to help make a difference,” says Burton. Due to the pandemic, Burton now spends more time ensuring her staff has the supplies and resources they need to create the safest possible environment for both patients and staff. “I know that I can reach out to our Mackenzie Health family for support and I’ll have people lined up to help,” she says. “Knowing that you have that kind of support gives you an internal strength and confidence that we’re going to get through this together.”
With 34 years of experience under her belt, Pamela Rosano is the continuing care program manager and says nursing is in her blood. “My grandmother, aunt and cousins were all nurses. Their love of their careers and their stories were inspiring,” says Rosano. She says her most devastating day during the pandemic was when they had to tell the families of patients that they needed to say goodbye to their loved ones and leave the hospital. “When people say we are the heroes, I would say our patients and families are heroes for trusting us to take care of their loved ones,” says Rosano. The team connects patients and families via Zoom and brings loved ones to the windows of the hospital to see their family member, but it’s not the same as physical touch, she says.