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Recipients of inaugural Nursing Now Ontario Awards honoured for nursing excellence

by WeRPN

In celebration of the contributions made by nurses to nursing practice, the health of Ontarians and our health-care system, three provincial nursing organizations are delighted to announce the recipients of the inaugural Nursing Now Ontario Awards to honour those who have shined the spotlight on nursing excellence.

The Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WeRPN), the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) and the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), celebrated one registered practical nurse (RPN),  one registered nurse (RN), and one nurse practitioner, at a virtual awards’ ceremony on Tuesday, May 12 via Zoom at 2 p.m.

“We’re honoured to join our nursing partners in showcasing the tireless and passionate commitment of nurses across Ontario. This year, perhaps more than ever, we’ve seen the tremendous impact that nurses have on the lives of Ontarians. I’m so proud that these awards will help celebrate some of our truly exceptional nurses for the heroes they are,” says WeRPN CEO Dianne Martin, RPN, RN.

“The Nursing Now Ontario Awards honour the expertise, leadership and commitment shown every day by nurses in all sectors and diverse health-care settings across the province,” says RNAO president Dr. Angela Cooper Brathwaite, RN. “RNAO is thrilled to recognize the three extraordinary nurse leaders from amongst 243 outstanding nominations. Each of the winners of this prestigious award has made long-lasting contributions to the health of Ontarians.”

"The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is delighted to be participating in the Nursing Now Ontario Awards,” says ONA president Vicki McKenna, RN. “It has never been more clear how invaluable nurses are to the people of Ontario and around the world. It gives me great pleasure to formally recognize all recipients of these awards, and I would like to thank them all for their dedication, perseverance and contributions to nursing and patient care."

This year's recipients are:

RPN - Kelly Karges, Registered Practical Nurse - Sunbeam Centre

Kelly Karges is a tireless advocate who always champions excellence in client care. As a Registered Practical Nurse at Sunbeam Centre, an organization providing residential care, day programming and other services for individuals with developmental, physical & emotional impairments, Kelly works predominantly with complex, medically fragile children and adults with special needs. According to colleagues, Kelly is extremely committed to providing a strong voice for her clients, especially those who may not be able to advocate for themselves. As a staff nurse, she consistently demonstrates compassion, dedication and unrelenting support to ensure the best outcomes for her the clients she cares for. In 2015, Kelly was proud to lead the creation of a Nursing Professional Practice Council to promote collaboration and shared governance across her organization.

Kelly is also a known as a seasoned preceptor and mentor who always is committed to sharing her knowledge and supporting students and novice nurses to ensure safe practice. According to her students, she is a role model who makes sure they feel welcome and supported in their learning. Thanks to her hands on approach and commitment to incorporating them in care planning, Kelly is able to set students up for success by helping them gain as many new skills as possible and bring out the best them.

RN - Patric Campeau, Professor - St Lawrence College and Registered Nurse - St. Joseph's Continuing Care Centre

Role model. Patient advocate. Mentor. Hero.These are just a few of the words used to describe Patric Campeau, the RN recipient of the inaugural Nursing Now Ontario Awards. Radiating positivity and charisma, Campeau has demonstrated outstanding competence and professionalism throughout his career, from his early days as an RPN working in the community to his current part-time position, compassionately caring for rehabilitation patients at St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre in Cornwall. And, it’s not just Campeau’s residents who benefit from his kindness. Often called the “go-to” nurse because of his strong leadership skills, his many nominees noted he is a true team player and builder, who always has time to answer questions. Students in the RPN program at St. Lawrence College, where Campeau is a part-time professor, are equally generous with their accolades, commenting that he is patient, supportive, approachable, and willing to assist on his own time. For others still, Campeau, who said his goal is to empower patients and nurses, has literally changed their lives. As one nominee put it, “he has no idea how much of a role model he is. He believed in me when no one did. He’s my hero and deserves the world.”

NP - Michael Borja, Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner, Home to Stay and Palliative Program - East GTA Family Health Team

As a primary care NP for four years, Michael Borja has made a huge difference for his patients and nursing colleagues in just a short time. Currently in his role as a primary care NP for the East GTA Family Health Team in Scarborough, he helps care for seniors and mentors colleagues in clinical assessments, management of chronic illness and program planning. In July 2017, he pioneered the Home To Stay (HTS) NP-led program for medically complex seniors where instead of seniors having to come to the clinic, NPs provided home visits, follow-up phone calls, care coordination and community referral. As a result, there were fewer ER visits, increased patient satisfaction and savings of $627,000 per year on top of improvement in patient/family quality of life. In 2017, Michael expanded the HTS program to include a palliative component where patients can receive palliative care at home. When Michael is not busy caring for clients, he likes to spend time with his family and volunteer for his Christian Church. In three to five years, he looks forward to continuing his role as an NP in geriatrics and palliative care.