Introducing… a clinical nurse specialist

Introducing… a clinical nurse specialist

Rhonda McNicoll-Whiteman is a clinical nurse specialist in the Regional Stroke Program at Hamilton General Hospital (HGH). She has worked at Hamilton Health Sciences for her entire 29-year nursing career – all within the neurosciences program.

What do you love most about your role?
Neurosciences nursing has been my passion since I graduated from McMaster University. In my current role, I can work with teams within the hospital, in the Central South Regional Stroke Network and throughout Ontario to improve the care and outcomes for stroke patients.

What do you find challenging?
Balancing the competing demands of the HGH stroke unit’s priorities with my regional and provincial projects is always a challenge. For example, I might help one of our regional centres improve their door-to-needle processes while I revise our admission stroke order to reflect best practices.

I was fortunate to implement our regional stroke mechanical treatment program to provide access to life-saving treatment for our most severe stroke patients.

Describe a typical day
As a clinical nurse specialist, my day usually involves using my clinical knowledge to work with teams to implement new programs, tools, resources, order sets or to work on quality improvement initiatives to improve our processes and systems within HHS and the region.

Tell us about your most gratifying experience
It’s extremely rewarding to be a part of the development and implementation of our Central South Regional Stroke Program. We’ve built a cross continuum stroke care delivery system that improved stroke care and outcomes for the 2.3 million people we serve in southern Ontario.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about your role?
People are surprised to hear how involved I am in programming. I was fortunate to lead and implement our regional stroke mechanical treatment program, which provided access to life-saving treatment for our most severe stroke patients. I also recently implemented an improvement on our unit to create a Resident Orientation Program. It improved the way we communicate key stroke unit practices and policies to incoming residents.