Meet Helena Keppler,  Registered Nurse, North York General

Meet Helena Keppler

Helena Keppler is a Registered Nurse and has been at North York General Hospital (NYGH) since April 2000. She is also our latest Fortune Fridays 50/50 Staff Lottery winner. Our 50/50 lottery is a great opportunity for staff to participate in something fun and give back to NYGH. It’s also an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the dedicated staff that make our hospital such an amazing place. We sat down with Helena to learn more about her and her role at the hospital.

What does your role entail?

Usually, I work in Opthalmology Surgery at the Consumers Road site. Working with an anesthetist, I do procedural sedation for patients having cataract surgery. I also do pre-operative preparation with patients (interviewing patients, taking their vital signs and making sure they are fit for surgery) and post-surgery care (helping patients recover right after surgery and providing care instructions for them to take home). However, a few weeks ago I was redeployed to the assessment centre at the Branson site to do COVID-19 testing.

How long have you worked at North York General Hospital?

Twenty-one years.

Why did you choose to work at NYGH?

When I emigrated from Israel to Canada, I applied to various hospitals. NYGH was first to respond and offered me a post-anesthetic position in General Surgery. That was what I wanted to do, and I accepted. After working in General Surgery for almost 10 years, I moved to the Intensive Care Unit in January 2010 before switching over to Opthamology Surgery in 2017.

What’s been your best or most memorable moment at NYGH?

I think it was during the SARS outbreak in 2003. People were getting sick with the virus and no one knew what would happen. It was amazing to see how many staff volunteered to go to the SARS unit and care for patients. It was great to see the hospital working as one big team. Also, similar to COVID, people in the community supported us by bringing us food and expressing their thanks.

How do you like to relax when you’re not at work?

I have a 100-pound black Russian terrier named Reeva. We go for long walks together and we also train a lot. We do obedience, agility and show training, and I enter her in dog shows.

Why did you decide to join the staff lottery, besides the chance of winning?

I think it’s a way to participate in hospital projects and to support the hospital. I never win anything, so I never thought I’d actually win the staff lottery. It was a nice surprise.

What do you plan to do with your winnings?

When COVID is over, I want to go home to Israel to visit family and buy lots of gifts for them.