Hospital Celebrates National Nursing Week: May 6-12

Published May 11, 2019

National Nursing Week draws attention to nurses, increasing the awareness of the public, policy-makers and governments of the many contributions of nursing to the well-being of Canadians.

In 1971, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) designated May 12, the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, as International Nurses Day. In 1985, the Canadian government chose to celebrate the profession by having the week containing May 12 proclaimed as National Nursing Week annually.

In 2019, National Nursing Week will be celebrated at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (our Hospital) with events that recognize the vital contribution nurses make to the delivery of quality patient care, not only in Thunder Bay but across Northwestern Ontario. Our Hospital will also be featuring some of the many dedicated nurses that help us deliver exceptional care and who always put patients first.


Stephanie Crawford, RPN: 2B Medical Unit

Stephanie Crawford has worked as a nurse since 1993. She started her career on the 6 East Medical Unit at Port Arthur General Hospital, and later worked as a part of the Nursing Float Team at McKellar General Hospital. Her career path has also included working in long term care at Beacon Hill Lodge. Stephanie currently works on 2B Medicine at our Hospital with patients whose ages can range from young adult to centenarian, and who can have very complex medical histories including both chronic and acute conditions. For Stephanie, National Nursing Week marks a 26 year commitment to helping patients and their families.


Tracy Krieg, RPN: 3C Surgical Unit

Like every nurse who works on the 3C Surgical Unit, Tracy Krieg has learned to adapt. As a surgical nurse, she knows that her patient assignment can change drastically throughout her shift. She must be prepared for rapid changes in their daily routines, short notice transfers to the Operating Room or re-scheduled diagnostic tests. To deliver the best patient care, Tracy has learned to be organized but also flexible. The demand for hospital beds sometimes means that patients, who might normally be admitted to a medical nursing unit, need to be admitted to the 3C Surgical Unit. These situations require nurses to use a wide range of nursing skills. “It is seeing the progression of my patients and their discharge home,” said Krieg, when asked what she likes best about working on the 3C Surgical Unit.


Nurses Working as Clinical Informatics Specialists

At our Hospital, a very special group of nurses work as Clinical Informatics Specialists. Clinical Informatics is the field that works with data and technology to improve patient care. These nurses help develop clinical information systems from computerized patient records to decision support systems and ensure that these systems run smoothly. Michelle Richardson, Kevin Melenchuk, Anna Buske and Michael Conrad (pictured, from left to right) are all RNs who bring with them extensive experience as nurses in a variety of clinical specialties. These nurses apply that extensive clinical knowledge to their work with other clinicians and technology to support the delivery of care at our Hospital, St. Joseph’s Care Group and other health care facilities across Northwestern Ontario.



Dr. Valerie Grdisa, RN, BScN, MS, PhD: Executive Vice President of Research, Quality & Academics and Chief Nursing Executive

Dr. Valerie Grdisa joined our Hospital and Research Institute as the new Executive Vice President of Research, Quality & Academics and Chief Nursing Executive on April 1st, 2019.

Dr. Grdisa is a member of our Hospital’s Senior Leadership Council and provides leadership, oversight and strategic direction to health professionals and scientists in the areas of research and development, quality improvement, professional practice, patient and family centred care and academics.

For more than 25 years, Dr. Grdisa has held positions as a clinician, Registered Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Practitioner, middle and senior manager, faculty and academic administrator, management consultant, and senior government official. Most recently, she led several Ministry-funded programs focused on quality improvement and evidence-based practices and was the Chair of Ontario’s Chief Nursing Officer Knowledge Exchange network.

Dr. Grdisa has also had the privilege of interacting with Indigenous communities throughout her career and helped co-create strategies to improve health system performance and population health outcomes. The experience and enthusiasm that she brings to her role will be of tremendous value to the overall scientific, quality improvement, and academic mission of our Hospital and Health Research Institute.

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