Facing off against ‘dragons’ in the ED

We recently celebrated a number of professional practice days at Osler but there is one special shout out I need to make. May 19 was Personal Support Worker (PSW) day and it was a remarkable one for Osler PSW Carolynne Haynes. She received the inaugural PSW of the Year award by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU). As a person who is a “passionate and loving care provider with an infectious and warm personality [who] goes that extra mile on a daily basis” she is a deserving honouree. Congratulations on this incredible achievement!

Recently, Osler’s Emergency Department (ED) came up with a new name for their unit: the Dragon’s Den.

Based on the popular television show, the ED team created a “Dragon’s Den” and invited frontline staff from Brampton Civic’s ED to pitch their ideas on how to improve and enhance their department. They invited me to join two clinical leaders, Kim Maas-O’Hearn, Clinical Services Manager of Emergency Medicine and Dr. Tamara Wallington, Corporate Medical Director of Quality and Safety, to channel our inner dragons on the judging panel.

The teams with the top five pitches – as voted on by ED staff and physicians – will each receive $5,000 to implement their ideas from the physicians in the BCH ED.

Sixteen teams presented their ideas before an encouraging and vocal crowd of ED nurses, physicians and support staff – some coming off night shifts and others coming in on their days off – in Brampton Civic’s Auditorium. The pitches covered all aspects of the department – from improving the experience of the ED’s hallway patients to streamlining processes in different areas of the ED, and from new methods of combatting burnout to innovative team training and simulation sessions.

After each presentation, the dragons fired questions at the teams to learn more about how they will spend the money, how feasible it is to maintain the idea once implemented, and what other organizations have successfully used similar ideas.

The voice of Osler’s staff is powerful. They are the people who work in these environments every day and know the challenges of their departments better than anyone else. Our Dragon’s Den was a fun, innovative and simple way of challenging staff to think outside the box and really engage them in shaping the future of ED operations.

Sonam Bhojani, an RN in the ED, agrees: “I think we’re probably the best resource [we] have, being frontline staff. It’s great that [we] are asked to bring forward our thoughts about how we feel the department can function better.”

In the coming weeks, we’ll turn it back to the ED staff and physicians and ask them to vote for their favourite pitches. Winning ideas will be announced later this month.

While this event was exclusive to Brampton Civic, improvements are also happening at Etobicoke General. The Ambulatory Treatment Centre (ATC) has been redesigned into “see and treat” zones to create a more orderly process for patient flow and two new treatment rooms have been added to the Fast Track zone to expedite care. Osler will also be piloting ED Wait Time Cards in the coming months among patients requiring non-urgent care.

Diversity is in our DNA – and it shows

Once again, I’m thrilled to announce that Osler has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers! This is the fourth year in a row that we’ve been recognized for our unwavering commitment to patient-inspired health care and creating an environment that truly supports dignity and equity for all.

There are many reasons why we are recognized year after year:

  • The entire Osler community – especially our physicians, staff and volunteers including our Board – are committed to creating an environment that allows us to better promote, understand and respect equity in the workplace.
  • Our clearly defined Health Equity Strategy is our roadmap to enhancing diversity and inclusion through improved organization processes that measure and support diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Our language and culturally-appropriate health education in the community and unique clinical and community partnerships are addressing the needs of a diverse and vulnerable patient population.
  • Our comprehensive health equity education sessions and resources are helping to empower staff to engage with issues of equity and inclusion.
  • Our diversity council and advisory groups are creating an environment where positive experiences for patients and staff are common place.

I am very proud of our team at Osler and their tremendous dedication to creating an inclusive workplace for each other and the community we serve.

We’ve also taken our approach to diversity to another level with our Global Health Program. In April 2015, a small team from Osler embarked on an exploratory mission to Punjab, India to investigate opportunities to make an impact abroad and bring back learnings to support our local community.

The success of this initial trip has inspired a second tour so we can work collaboratively with three health care partners to provide education and training to clinicians focused on Emergency Services and Mental Health and Addictions. Along with delivering services on the ground, the Osler team will also learn about technology applications and treating large volumes of patients.

A clinical team of physicians, nurses and social workers with experience in the Emergency Services and Mental Health and Addictions fields will travel to India in April. I can’t wait to share their experience with you!

Thank you for Going Beyond!

At Osler, the patient experience is at the heart of everything we do. When I hear from patients about their experiences at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General, it’s clear that this message is taken to heart. I am continuously blown away by the wonderful compliments from patients given to everyone who has been a part of their care.

If I were to include the full list of accolades for our Osler family, you would be scrolling forever! I’ve asked our Patient Relations team to share some recent feedback they’ve received from patients and families who received care at our hospitals. Here is a small sample of compliments from our patients:

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Three Cheers for Osler’s Doctors and Nurses!

As one of Osler’s biggest supporters, I take great pride in celebrating the fantastic team of physicians, nurses and health care professionals who go beyond the ordinary to perform extraordinary feats every single day. This month we are embracing the opportunity to highlight the tremendous clinical team we have at Osler.

Say it Loud and Proud: Our Docs Rock

On May 1 we marked Ontario Doctor’s Day, which celebrates the work of the province’s 27,000 physicians. Osler’s doctors work hard to maintain the health of patients and families across our region. As thought leaders and health care champions within the community, Osler’s physicians are helping to evolve the health care system to improve access to care and ensure that our system is effective, efficient and sustainable for the future.

In the coming weeks, we will be celebrating the contributions of Osler physicians with the unveiling of a Physician Wall of Distinction at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General Hospitals. These ceremonies will include the presentation of inaugural Philanthropy Awards from Osler Foundation, which recognize Osler physicians who have gone beyond to support our hospitals.

Osler Nurses: With You Every Step of the Way

Osler will celebrate our incredible nurses during National Nursing Week, May 11 to 17, with a number of activities and events that will take place at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General.

Nurses are often at the forefront of patient care and I believe that Osler’s nurses are second to none. While I may be a little biased, the honours and awards collected by this group makes it clear that I’m not the only one who thinks so:

  • Osler ICU nurses have received BARD Excellence Awards for the past two years
  • Four Osler nurses carry a prestigious designation from the de Souza Institute (and only 11 nurses in Ontario have a de Souza designation!)
  • Individual nurses and nursing teams from across Osler are nominated by their peers each year for Nursing Awards of Excellence

From the front lines to the back office, everyone at Osler appreciates the unwavering dedication of the physicians, nurses and health care professionals who provide patient care to the communities we serve. Beyond your commitment to exceptional patient care, you show just how much you “♥ your hospital” through your steadfast support of Osler Foundation. THANK YOU for all that you do!

Celebrate with Us!

Again this year, we want to hear about your experiences with Osler’s stellar team of health care professionals. Give us a five-star rating on Facebook or send a shout out to someone who made a difference in your care on Twitter using #DocsRock or #NursesRule. We can’t wait to hear from you!

For three years running, Osler continues to be a diversity leader

We’ve been waiting for it and it’s here. Spring is in the air and I can’t wait to say “good riddance” to Old Man Winter! One of the things I love most about spring – aside from putting away my snow shovel – is watching my garden come to life. The way that so many different ferns and flowers can thrive together in the same environment reminds me just how wonderful diversity is.

At Osler, we celebrate the diversity of our staff and the community we serve. We take pride in our commitment to meet the individual needs of our patients and foster an organizational culture that upholds dignity and equity for all. After all, diversity is embedded in our values – Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Diversity, and Innovation – and is at the centre of all we do.


I am thrilled to announce that Osler has reached another milestone along our diversity journey – we were recently named one of the Best Diversity Employers in Canada for the third year in a row! This honour is bestowed upon organizations who have demonstrated exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs. This achievement is a testament to our unwavering commitment to patient-inspired health care and creating a workplace that truly embraces individuality.

Being located in one of the most diverse regions of Ontario, we believe that one of the best ways to serve our population is to equip our staff with the skills they need to provide patients with a respectful, inclusive, yet individualistic experience. Creating an environment that is welcoming and equitable for all is an important step in achieving this.

Our Global Health Program is an example of our commitment in this area. Later this month, Osler is participating in an exploratory tour to the Punjab region in India, where a small clinical team will meet with several hospitals and non-governmental organizations to better understand how we can partner with local health care providers to create innovative programs that address specific health challenges and explore ways Osler can help achieve health equity in our own local community.

I am very proud of our team at Osler and their tremendous dedication to creating an inclusive workplace for each other and the community we serve.

What does it mean to “live the vision” at Osler?

As the CEO of one of Ontario’s largest community hospital systems, it’s important for me to have a 30,000 foot view of everything that goes on at Osler. However, as we continuously work to enhance the patient experience at Osler, I’ve been focussing on establishing a deeper, more direct connection with the patients and families that we serve.

Our Vision to provide patient-inspired health care without boundaries is at the heart of everything we do at Osler. It’s the inspiration behind Living the Vision, a new initiative that gives me the very rewarding opportunity to meet and to get to know some of the patients that come to Osler for care.

Living the Vision is an opportunity to learn more about our patients as people rather than focusing on the reasons for their stay at Osler. Each month I’m invited to visit a clinical unit to meet with patients and families. It is a way to really connect with those we serve so we can better understand the needs of our community.

It is also an opportunity to learn. I gain valuable insight into how we are meeting the needs of patients and families, and hear first-hand about all of the great work that is going on in the organization. At the end of each visit I always debrief with the staff to share what was heard and discuss any learnings that can help to improve the patient experience.

When patients come to a hospital for care, they aren’t often at their best. I’ve seen how a quick conversation and a simple “how are you doing today?” can immediately brighten their outlook. These small moments of kindness are what people remember most and have the power to change their health care experience.

I hear a lot of stories during my visits, but there is a common thread that runs through each and every one: the wonderful care they are receiving at Osler. It is truly inspiring to see the first-hand impact that our staff, physicians and volunteers have on the experience of patients and families.

Now that you know how I do it, how are you Living the Vision at Osler?

“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Douglas Adams, author, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I get invited to speak at a number of dinners and events each year. While each event is special in its own way, I find those that celebrate Osler’s incredible staff, physicians and volunteers to be some of the most rewarding.

Recently, Osler held three celebrations to honour members of the Osler family who have dedicated years, and decades, to providing patient-inspired care to the communities we serve.

  • More than 1,000 staff and physicians who have dedicated five to 45 years of their careers to Osler were recognized at our annual Long Service Awards They are a big part of why we have been named one of the Greater Toronto Area’s Top Employers for four years running!
  • The Carillion Long Service Awards celebrated 140 staff for their five to 40 commitments to creating an environment where high-quality health care can take place. Attendees were also treated to performances by a guitarist, steel pan drummer and a dance troupe as we marked the beginning of Diwali.
  • At the Osler Volunteer Association Long Service Awards, we honoured the contributions of Osler volunteers including six remarkable women who have shared their time with Osler for more than 50 years! All of our volunteers make a huge contribution to Osler and we can’t thank them enough for their time, energy and commitment.