Celebrating National Nursing Week
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others.” – Mahatma Gandhi Every single day, in hospitals, homes, clinics and doctors’ offices across Canada, dedicated physicians and nurses care for those who are sick or injured of all ages and from all walks of life. They care for the family who’ve just arrived in Canada, for grandparents and children alike who suffer from COVID, for the frightened first-time mother-to-be, and the grieving widow of the partner she lost to cancer just moments ago. For over two years, they have also summoned the strength and compassion to keep providing incredible care during one of the most challenging, relentless public health crises of our time.
Simply put, they’ve been there for all of us.
In May we recognize National Physicians’ Day (May 1) and Nursing Week (May 9-15), and to honour them, we’re highlighting some of the dedicated staff at the heart of the exceptional care at North York General Hospital (NYGH). With humanity and healing, our physicians and nurses make #NorthYorkGeneralStrong. Please read their stories below. Show your gratitude for all of our doctors and nurses through a donation in their honour. Your gift will support our health care team in performing at their best by funding upgraded equipment, new technology and new care environments. You can also simply share a message of thanks on our wall of gratitude.
Meet Five NYGH Nurses
Sometimes all you need is someone more experienced to lead the way. That’s what happened for Karen Lock. As someone who always wanted to help the vulnerable and the sick, Karen went into nursing after high school and while there, met Dr. Dot Pringle, a wonderful mentor. Karen remembers the day Dot took her students on a field trip to a nursing home. There, she began to understand and appreciate the value of nursing.
Karen specializes in palliative care where her role is to optimize her patients’ quality of life and help them live as well as possible as they cope with life-limiting illnesses.
She is a Nurse Practitioner with the Edwin S.H. Leong Geriatric Supportive Care Outreach Program where she helped develop the program that launched in 2020. In her role, she visits patients living with advanced illnesses in their homes where they are most comfortable. Her work often prevents rehospitalization or emergency room visits and patients have been shown to have better health outcomes, quality of life and to ultimately live longer, demonstrating the importance of the program.
Clinical Team Manager, Medical/Elder Care Program
Norma McCormack credits her mother for encouraging her to pursue a career in nursing. In her youth, Norma’s dream of becoming a nurse was very real and vivid in her mind, but it was her mother’s guidance telling her that nursing was where she could make the greatest contribution to others.
As a nurse specializing in elder care, Norma loves being part of the patient journey and helping with the transition from inpatient to outpatient and back into the community. She is a proud leader at NYGH and inspired by the dedicated team of nurses, physicians and volunteers she works with everyday. She values that NYGH provides exceptional care to culturally diverse patients where their care comes first.
Registered Nurse, Cardiology/Telemetry
Angela Galang knew nursing would be her career path early on. As a little girl, she’d often pretend her stuffed animals were patients. She’d use her toy stethoscope and blood pressure cuff to do assessments. Looking back, it was good practice. She learned that her compassion and hard work could come together as a registered nurse in both cardiology and telemetry.
It also helped having a mother who worked at NYGH for 27 years as an emergency nurse. Angela’s mother played a significant role in her choice to pursue the profession because of her passion, selflessness, compassion, and wisdom. Angela never heard her mother complain but instead learned just how rewarding a career in nursing could be.
Cultivating a therapeutic relationship with the patients and families she works with is what Angela loves the most about being a nurse. For her, it will never be “just a job”. It’s giving patients and their family peace of mind that they are not alone, respecting individual dignity and seeing patients as more than just their illness.
Clinical Nurse Educator, Medicine Program
Priya never imagined she’d work in health care when she was young, but she went through a dramatic change as she grew older, taking a huge part in caring for her grandmother and becoming more knowledgeable about all the ways she could help. At that time she decided she could make a difference. De-stigmatizing mental health, finding methods to mitigate nursing burnout and collaboration are three important pieces involved in making this difference for Priya.
At NYGH, Priya has so many reasons to be inspired. Her colleagues and the passion, drive and courage they bring to each challenge is what motivates her to overcome hurdles in front of her.
As a nurse previously in the Mental Health Program and now transferring to medicine, it’s the emphasis on patient-centred care that distinguishes NYGH from other hospitals for Priya. Listening to patients and families and creating care plans based on the individual is proof-positive that people come first here.
Registered Nurse, Intensive Care Unit/Critical Care Unit
Muna Abdi always wanted to have a career that was challenging, interesting and made a difference in people’s lives. Fate stepped in when she volunteered at a hospital while she was in high school. Exposed to a variety of departments and tasks, Muna soon discovered she was exactly where she needed to be. She watched how the nurses cared for their patients with kindness, and great empathy. Muna knew she wanted to work with patients and their families at their most vulnerable moments and have an impact.
Throughout her career, nursing has given Muna a sense of purpose and fulfillment. As an Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/Critical Care Unit nurse, educator, and clinical coordinator, she works with patients, families, and students in times of chaos and distress. Muna does more than treat an illness or fix a problem. She offers support, guidance, and holistic care to meet the individual’s needs.
While Muna has spent much of her career working in NYGH’s medical inpatient units and in the ICU, she stepped up to become a clinical coordinator in NYGH’s mobile vaccine clinics during the pandemic, working with community health partners to ensure increased access of vaccines to diverse populations.