the path to change: Oncology
nurses leading the way

. :  2016 Chapter Champion Award

ONIGA – North Chapter Champion Award; Kathryn Calder 

Kathryn Calder began her nursing career 25 years ago on inpatients at the Cross Cancer Institute and has worked here ever since.  Though she began her BScN program at the University of Alberta with the intention of becoming a midwife, a lecture on Oncology Nursing in 3rd year changed her focus and goals. Over the last two and a half decades Kathryn has worked in inpatients, Pain and Symptom Control research, covered in OPD, and worked with the Tumour Bank during which she earned her MN (research and teaching specialty) from the University of Alberta. She also served as a nursing representative on the Research Ethics Board for ten years and maintains a keen interest in legal and ethical issues in healthcare, health research, and public policy. Kathryn currently works as a Stem Cell Transplant Coordinator and fully expects to spend the rest of her career in some aspect of Oncology Nursing. Most of her off-work hours are devoted to being single mother to 6 year old son Jonathan.

Kathryn is excited about ONIGA North’s renewed commitment to nursing education; especially the intent of using numerous approaches, times, and formats. As
worksite and life demands change, it is assuring to know ONIGA is aware and
responsive to the need for flexibility and creativity in providing the
education Oncology nurses need to remain confident and proficient.

Greater Toronto Chapter of  Oncology Nurses Champion Award; Sonali Kirshenbaum

GTCON congratulates Sonali Kirshenbaum for the award of TCON Chapter Champion 2016. Sonali is an exceptional, passionate and committed oncology nurse and a leader on her interprofessional team at the Odette Cancer Centre. 

Sonali demonstrates her passion for oncology nursing and for quality oncology patient care in multiple ways. As a TCON member, Sonali actively supported and participated in the 2015 CANO/ ACIO Toronto conference planning. As a nurse providing care for patients with lung cancer and head and neck cancer she embodies the CANO/ ACIO standards of a specialized oncology nurse. Additionally she embraces and supports new initiatives that are designed to enhance patient quality care, both in planning and evaluation, as evidenced in her role with the EPIC clinic at Odette. 

Sonali demonstrates her commitment to person centred care through her collaborative work to advance the process of screening for distress for patients living with head and neck cancer. The team goal is to triage the majority of patients scheduled with follow-up appointments. Triage ensures that any patient with high ESAS scores, distress, or significant concerns is seen by a Registered Nurse in clinic, or followed up proactively by telephone. Sonali manages to meet this triage goal, while integrating essential person-centred, therapeutic approaches into her interactions with patients and families. Sonali is Future Ready, focusing on how she can develop as a leader and on how she can support others to lead in oncology nursing. She demonstrates this in multiple ways: as a mentor to colleagues, as a preceptor to new staff and students, as a collaborative team member enhancing triage at Odette, as a engaged participant and nursing leader in quality improvement initiatives, and in her commitment to ongoing learning.

Sonali is currently completing her Master of Nursing with the hopes of continuing to grow her leadership in oncology nursing. Sonali inspires others to consider the possible of oncology nursing. Her commitment and enthusiasm are inspiring. Sonali embodies passion in her cancer nursing practice, and it is through the integration of evidence and that art and passion of nursing in her work, that she makes a significant difference in the lives of patients living with cancer. 

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ONIGA – South 2016 Oncology Nursing Day Chapter Champion Award

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Tevi Helland-Nergaard, RN, BScN, CON(C)

Tevi Helland-Nergaard is a clinical research nurse at the Tom Baker Cancer Center in Calgary. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Victoria in 2015. Tevi has 30 years of experience in emergency nursing including ICU/CCU/ED. She found her passion in oncology nursing in 2003 and spent three years in Systemic Therapy before moving to the Clinic Research Unit. Tevi has held a leadership position in the research unit and is currently working as a primary nurse accruing and caring for patients on clinical trials within the Genitourinary and Neuro-Endocrine tumor groups. She has also collaborated on a published article to understand the barriers of accrual to clinical trials. This invaluable research was presented as a poster the CANO conference in 2009 and published in several journals. She is currently working on an abstract to identify and quantify the clinical trial-associated workload impact in the systemic area. She is also part of the ONIGA—South Chapter’s Local Planning Committee in preparation for the upcoming CANO conference in Calgary in October. Recently, Tevi was nominated by a patient and family and was awarded the Tom Baker Cancer Centre’s fifth DAISY Award which recognizes extraordinary nursing care. What she loves most about oncology is the nurse-patient relationship that is formed with patients and family members while going through their cancer journey. She also enjoys the diversity in oncology nursing roles and functions across the cancer continuum, from clinical assessment, patient and family teaching, treatment, supportive care, symptom management and end-of-life care. Tevi states, “few jobs allow the nurse patient-relationship grow in this manner that you feel included as part of their family. The knowledge I have gained as an oncology nurse is rewarding not only in my professional career but also in my personal life.” Tevi lives with her husband Mark, children Victoria and Kristian along with their dog Nemo. Tevi likes yoga and is an avid skier, golfer, hiker, and participates in triathlons during the summer months.

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