Tami McKenzie wanted to experience nursing beyond her regular role.
When an opportunity came to join Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) Nursing Quality Council (NQC), she jumped at it.
“Last year, I felt an urge to see nursing through a new set of eyes,” says Tami, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at Hamilton General Hospital. “What I love most about my role on the NQC is that I’m in a position to make change.”
The NQC meets regularly to see what processes impact the over 4,000 nurses employed at HHS and makes recommendations to improve the quality of care they provide.
The drive to learn and develop
It’s a group Tami was inspired by to help her grow as a nurse.
Learning, and the drive to lead in this area along with research and innovation, is a key pillar in HHS’ strategic plan.
“The chance to expand my role, while continuing my day-to-day activities is important.”
Last spring, a new committee was formed to educate nurses about palliative care, adding to the many communities of practice available across the hospital system. HHS also has long-standing partnerships with Mohawk College and McMaster University, which provide more opportunities for health care staff.
“The chance to expand my role, while continuing my day-to-day activities is important,” says Tami, who has worked at HHS for 12 years. “Outside of the bedside care I provide, I’m involved in many development initiatives.”
Tami’s focus on learning and development not only helps her as a front-line ICU nurse, but it also leads to experiences that motivate her to do more.
Recently, Tami became a clinical instructor at McMaster University and represented HHS at a career fair.
She also took advantage of a professional development workshop offered at the hospital called Grow Where You Are. This spring, she starts her master’s degree.
“What I learned about healthy work environments is that to be meaningful, recognition must be linked to specific accomplishments.”
With HHS’ new Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Management System, nurses at HHS are also encouraged to get involved in solving problems at the unit level to make things better for patients, families and staff.
A key part of CQI is a daily huddle amongst team members to discuss any improvement opportunities and recognize accomplishments.
Inspired to recognize her fellow nurses
During one of her shifts early in her career, when a patient suffered from a cardiac arrest, Tami administered chest compressions for the first time. The patient’s vital signs returned as a result.
The senior medical resident acknowledged her critical role, but it wasn’t until later she understood the true value of recognition.
“What I learned about healthy work environments is that to be meaningful, recognition must be linked to specific accomplishments, delivered by someone meaningful and timely,” says Tami. “This physician provided me with that level of recognition and it still resonates, inspiring me to recognize others.”
Tami continues to learn and develop through her NQC role, helping to select nursing excellence award winners at Hamilton Health Sciences.
Is there a staff member, physician or volunteer you want to recognize for their outstanding work? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, role, site, department and why they should be recognized. We may feature them in our weekly series.