Gala MC

George Thomas

As an accomplished Master of Ceremony (MC), George Thomas, with over 20 years of experience, delivers an engaging, entertaining and memorable performance every time.

Whether he is motivating a crowd during a corporate or social event, presenting at award ceremonies, or entertaining at a wedding, his charismatic personality, versatility and stage presence are the perfect combination of qualities to be a genuine crowd pleaser. His profound understanding of the craft enables him to captivate his audiences.

His innate ability to build a rapport with any crowd through his cultural knowledge, his multi-lingual skills, as well as his adaptability and flexibility truly sets him apart as a man who can rise to any occasion. His motivational performances inspire and uplift every audience. George Thomas can seamlessly connect heart and soul and deliver your message with substance, class and a unique style.

George Thomas’ passion is to travel and motivate crowds all over the world and bring happiness to every celebration. He believes that entertainment is an international language with no boundaries.

Keynote Speakers

Renée A. Kopp

Partner, Jones Litigation Counsel LLP

Renée A. Kopp is a partner at Jones Litigation Counsel LLP, a boutique litigation firm in Toronto, where she has extensive experience in administrative law matters, professional liability, complex personal injury, and medical malpractice litigation. Renée routinely represents health care professionals before their regulatory Colleges; in Coroner’s investigations, inquests and hearings before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board. A significant portion of Renée’s practice involves the representation of nurses.

Philomena Comerford

President, CEO, Baird MacGregor

Philomena Comerford is the President and CEO and principal broker of both Baird MacGregor and its wholly owned affiliate brokerage, Hargraft. She is a past Chairman of the Board of Governors for the Insurance Institute of Canada and is now the incumbent President for The Toronto Insurance Conference. Baird MacGregor, the RPNAO’s broker of choice, has been delivering a well-crafted comprehensive Professional Liability insurance program to RPNAO’s members since 1986.

Dianne Martin


Dianne Martin has been a Registered Practical Nurse since 1979 and is currently dually registered. In 2007 she completed a BScN from York University and in 2010 a Master of Arts in Health Leadership from Royal Roads University, focusing on relationships among nurses. Dianne has been named a Georgian College Alumnus of Distinction and in 2016 received the Premier’s Award for outstanding graduates in the field of Health Sciences. She has been recognized internationally for her expertise in practical nursing roles and leadership. Prior to her role as Chief Executive Officer of RPNAO, her leadership roles included professional practice coordinator in an Ontario hospital and senior policy analyst with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. She is the daughter of a nurse, mother to a nurse, and holds all who provide care in the highest regard.

Mandy Bujold

Mandy Bujold is a Canadian amateur boxer, whose career was launched following a successful 2006 when she claimed the Canadian National Championship and Boxer of the Year titles. Weighing in at 51kg (112lbs), she has made her way as a Fly Weight Champion, with a trail of titles and victories following her. Included amongst her many achievements are 9 Canadian National Championships, 3 Continental Championships, a Gold medal at the first Pan-American Games, and a Bronze medal at the first Commonwealth Games that included women’s boxing. Most recently during the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, Mandy successfully defended her title and became the only female boxer in history to win two Pan American Games titles. Mandy’s dedication and discipline have made her a great competitor and ambassador for the sport. She was an ambassador for the Pan-American games in 2015, as well as for the 2016 Olympic Games medal hopeful.

Throughout her athletic career she went on to receive several awards, overwhelming support from her fans and sponsors, and recognition of her as a role model, local hero, and her outstanding contribution to the community.

In March of 2016, Mandy achieved her career-long goal of qualifying for the Olympics. After 13 years of hard work and dedication, her dream became a reality. Mandy along with 2 other boxers would be the only 3 athletes representing Boxing Canada in Rio and with a Current World ranking of #2, Mandy was a big medal favourite. She went on to the quarterfinals of the Games and unfortunately fell ill the night before the fight. The 29-year-old flyweight spent the night in hospital but unhooked an intravenous feed and went from the hospital bed to the ring for her bout. Although she lost the match, her courage and strength are something that will never be forgotten by her community and country who she sacrificed so much for.

Shelli Varela

Possibility Hacker

From improbable beginnings, against overwhelming odds to reach unparalleled success. They said it couldn’t be done but she did it.

Shelli Varela was hired in 1994 as the first female firefighter in Canada’s 6 th largest city and went on to not only become its first and currently only female Fire Captain, but to also win the coveted Firefighter of the Year Award, twice.

Equally as interesting as these accomplishments was her starting point. Her life prior to firefighting found her as a 108 lb. artist lost and confused about her life’s path. During a chance meeting with a firefighter, she had the opportunity to learn about job and something magical was ignited inside her. As it turns out, she had a natural mechanical ability that had remained undiscovered until she started correcting some of the teachings she had been given.

Her firefighter friend suggested she think about applying – a notion she automatically balked at – until she whispered 3 words that forever changed the trajectory of her life.

Those words were “Why Not Me?”

Since that time, she has studied Possibility Hacking and created a blueprint for success which ultimately enabled her to land her dream job in 1162 days.

She authored a children’s book called “Peanut Meets the Pigtailed Firefighter” which teaches readers that they can accomplish anything they choose and that Everything is Possible.

Shelli’s gift is seeing the gift in others. She teaches her clients to reframe the story they tell themselves, so they can change the story they tell the world and subsequently change the world with their story.

She continues to fight fires.


Josette Roussel

RN, M.Sc, M.Ed

Session Title: Dazed and Confused? Examining How Nurses Can Lead Cannabis Education

The Cannabis Act, which comes into force on October 17, 2018, will make it legal for Canadians to use recreational and medical cannabis. Nurses, as the largest group of health-care providers and often a person’s first point of contact with the health-care system, have a responsibility to provide support, education, and referral as necessary for cannabis users. The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) has been a key stakeholder in providing the federal government with recommendations on the new legislation and revised regulations.

Over 90% of Canadians support nurses educating their clients on the risks and harms associated with recreational cannabis use. However, only 62.8% of nurses say they have sufficient knowledge to fulfil this role.

To better prepare nurses for this new legislation, CNA is developing resources that can be used by nurses to educate people in Canada on the risks, harms and harm reduction strategies for non-medical cannabis use. Nurses have a unique opportunity to help lead the development of cannabis education for implementation in their practice.


Josette provides leadership in guiding and advancing the nursing profession and quality of nursing practice to build a better future for Canadian health care. Her current role as a program lead, nursing practice and policy, at the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is pivotal to understanding implications of research findings and the development of a national dissemination of policy. Josette is also contributing to the development of health policies and advancement of nursing roles in Canada and globally with the ICN advanced nursing practice/nurse practitioner network. Josette has presented and participated in numerous task forces and committees at the provincial, national and international levels.

Dr. Sara Lankshear

Session Title: Getting Comfortable with “It Depends”: Embracing the Impermanence of Scope of Practice

Scope of practice of nursing roles is continually evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of patient populations and the health care system and to reflect changes in legislation, regulation and education requirements. As such, leaders must embrace the impermanence of scope of practice, rather than constructing mental models, policies and practices as if the foundation will never change. Research has demonstrated the vital role leadership plays in setting expectations for collaboration and optimal scope of practice, yet the evidence also suggests that there is a lack of supports for leaders on the legislative, regulatory, and education guidelines regarding the distinct and overlapping nature of the various roles. If leaders are not clear, the ripple effect extends to the entire team. This paper will present findings from research studies that describe the vital role of leadership in setting expectations for optimal scope of practice, and collaboration between all designations of nursing. The ability of being able to confidently and effectively navigate “it depends” will be presented as a core leadership competency. Strategies designed specially for nurses at all levels of the organization will be discussed.


Sara Lankshear, Faculty of Nursing with Georgian College, Barrie, Ontario. Her areas of research include professional practice structures & roles, scope of practice, and role clarity. She has extensive experience partnering with a variety of organizations who seek out her expertise for creating practice environments that enable optimal professional practice and quality patient outcomes.




Concurrent Speakers

Lying and Dementia Care: Ethical Infringement or Therapeutic Intervention?

Benjamin Hartung, RN, MScN, Advanced Practice Nurse - Baycrest Health Services

Session Description

An elderly patient with dementia is becoming increasingly anxious and distressed – they have been wandering around their hospital all afternoon, and they can’t find their mother. In moments like these, nurses and allied health professionals are faced with an ethical challenge; to tell the patient the truth about their mother, or to lie. This poster will present the results of a qualitative interpretive descriptive study focusing on the experiences of new graduate nurses caring for patients with dementia in acute care. Several participants revealed that at times, they felt they had no other option but to lie to patients with dementia with the indented to de-escalate their responsive behaviours. However, the participants were acutely aware that their actions infringed ethical standards set by their national and regulatory bodies. There are two philosophies regarding lying in dementia care: 1) lying to patients with dementia as a violation of their human rights and is an unethical practice 2) lying as an acceptable intervention if it is in the best interest of the patient with a therapeutic effect of decreasing the patient’s level of distress. Additionally, patients with dementia perceive lying to patients with dementia as an acceptable intervention if: (1) the lie is in the best interest of the patient and (2) the patient is unaware of the lie. A discussion will be presented on the different philosophies of lying and dementia care.


Benjamin Hartung is an Advanced Practice Nurse at Baycrest Health Sciences, Toronto.

Patient Stories: A Low-cost, Low-effort Tool to Anchor Human Connection

Jehanara Chagani, APN and Trudy Mulder-Hall, APN - CW LHIN Palliative Care Network

Session Description

The Central West Palliative Care Network’s mandate is to improve palliative care in the region. It is impossible to achieve this without engaging partners in the community: both providers of palliative care, as well as consumers. Working committees and groups have been formed, and storytelling has been used to engage the members to achieve their optimal involvement, and to keeping them motivated and focused. In working groups where various partners in the community present with different agendas, goals and perspectives, the patients’ and Health Care providers’ stories provide human appeal. They help to situate patients’ priorities within human connection as well as challenging partners to think outside the box to unite and work collaboratively to address complex and complicated situations faced by patients with palliative care needs. In the current state of palliative care, where we have multiple organizations working together to improve patients’ experiences, storytelling is used to clarify or make obvious the need to elevate the quality of palliative care and to gain momentum as well as providing a powerful incentive for change. The session will describe the use of patients’ and healthcare providers’ stories as a low-cost and low-effort tool with significant impact to engage community partners and patients in any healthcare organization. Objectives 1: To share the importance of story telling 2: To demonstrate the use of storytelling as a strategy to engage patients and partners in the CWPCN 3: To present how other organizations can utilize story telling as a tool to engage patients and community partners.


Jehanara is an Advanced Practice Nurse with Central West LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) Palliative Care Network. She has a Master of Science in Nursing and is a Certified Hospice Palliative Care Nurse. She is an experienced nurse with more than 15 years of nursing and teaching experience at various national and international health care settings and colleges. She has worked with CW CCAC as a Care Coordinator for many years. In her current role as an APN at Palliative Care Network, she supports patients, families, nurses, physicians and other healthcare providers in optimizing hospice palliative care through capacity building, education, consultation, research and symptom management. She is passionate about improving Family Caregivers experience and quality of health care in the CW region. She co-chairs the working group formed with multiple health care partners under the network to improve care givers experience. She is also part of multiple quality improvement initiatives in the region and is an organization lead for HPCO Health Care Consent and Advance Care Planning Community of Practice.

Trudy has been an RN for over 30 years working in various roles both in hospital, community and remotely. These include orthopedics, cardiology, emergency, ICU, public health, home care and camp nursing. Palliative Care is an area that has been woven throughout. In her role as an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) with Central West Palliative Care Network of the Central West LHIN, Trudy helps connect people with life-threatening conditions and their caregivers to the services they need at end of life, supporting them to remain at home if possible. Trudy works in partnership with the physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, care coordinators and other health care professionals to support and build capacity in palliative care and provide specialized palliative care to her patients and care givers. This is also done through education, leadership and research. Trudy has completed the IDEAS (Improving and Driving Excellence Across Sectors) Advanced Learning Program through Health Quality Ontario (HQO) and University of Toronto with a project on Early Identification of patients that can benefit from a palliative approach to care and is the co-lead for the Central West Palliative Care Network Early ID Working Group. Trudy is also the Central West LHIN Community of Practice champion for Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO) on Health Care Consent and Advance Care Planning. She has been on various Ministry of Health working groups including residential hospice allocation in the province and recommendations and clinical pathways related to Destination Therapy VAD (Ventricular Assist Devices). She is also working with Health Quality Ontario in developing the standards for Managing Heart Failure in the Community. Trudy is a patient advocate and supports patient choice in her work.

Developing Nursing Leadership Competencies to Implement a Team Lead Approach to Client Care

Jessica Ennis, Orientation & Onboarding Program Lead and Robin Hurst, Personal Support Supervisor - Saint Elizabeth Health Care

Session Description

The development of RPN leadership competencies is critical for an organization to implement innovative projects that are focused on patient and family centered care. Formal opportunities to develop leadership competencies are difficult to access for the RPN without organizational support. In 2017 two RPN personal support supervisors were sponsored by their organization to develop leadership competencies by participating in the Dorothy Wyllie Institute for Leadership Development. The RPN’s were required to develop the skills and knowledge required to implement new models of care and to change practice. A Team Lead PSW approach to practice was identified as one strategy the organization would implement to meet patients’ needs and promote safe patient centered care as a standard. The RPN’s were required to develop processes and plans to equip Personal Support Staff with the skills and knowledge to act as a first point of contact for care. By placing clients and their families at the center of care during the initial visit and admission, our organization has been able to identify avoidable risks and identify the persona goals of the family and client. The organizations require leadership skills within the RPN role to continuously monitor and develop innovative ways to deliver care to our clients. This presentation will focus on the leadership learnings of the RPN’s and how they were supported to develop their leadership competencies. Additionally, participants will learn how they engaged Personal Support Staff within the organization in adopting Lead PSW approach to practice. Participants will also be introduced to the Team Lead PSW model of care and the positive outcomes for patients and employees. Lessons learned at the planning, development, implementation and evaluation stages will be discussed.


Jessica Ennis RPN – Saint Elizabeth Jessica Ennis, RPN, has been a Personal Support Supervisor at Saint Elizabeth for eleven years, focused on front line patient care in the community setting. Jessica began her career in nursing twelve years ago, graduating in 2006 from Durham College in Oshawa while receiving the RPNAO Award for Student Excellence. She completed much of her clinical nursing education at Saint Elizabeth in Durham Region, before being hired into a New Graduate Full Time visiting nursing position in the community. She practiced as a leader in the role of a Personal Support Supervisor in the Northumberland area for Saint Elizabeth before entering her present position as an Orientation and Onboarding Program Lead. Jessica plays several key roles at her current organization, including being an active member of the Orientation Committee, with a focus on ensuring focused, quality, professional Orientation for positive employee experience and retention initiatives. Recently Jessica attended the Dorothy Wylie Health Leaders Institute and played a key role in implementing a role optimism Team Lead project for the Personal Support Program. In her past years she acted as a trusted liaison between the Front Line Personal Support Leaders and the Advanced Practice Consultants for the Personal Support program at Saint Elizabeth, bringing forth professional expertise and skills.

Robin Hurst RN, MN, CPHN, GNC


Optimizing RPN Scope: A Collaborative Approach for Clients with Intravenous Infusion and Palliative Care Needs

Session Description

Historically, nursing practice has been categorized according to skills defined as Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) and/or Registered Nurse (RN) appropriate. As nursing practice evolves it has become clear that most skills could be performed by both category of nurse, and that it is autonomous practice that sets an RN apart from the RPN.

Decision-making as to whether an RPN or RN is most appropriate to provide care for a client relies on a thorough understanding of the CNO 3 factor framework 1. The 3 factors are the client, the nurse, and the environment. The Nurse must possess the knowledge, skill and judgment to perform the skill and provide safe and ethical care. The complexity of a client’s condition influences the nursing knowledge required to provide the level of care the client needs. A more complex client situation and less stable environment create an increased need for consultation and/or the need for an RN to provide the full range of care requirements.

This workshop will address nursing as a profession that is focused on collaborative relationships that promote the best possible outcomes for clients. Discussion will include elements of the client continuum, the 3-factor framework, and how each influences care of the client with palliative care needs, and IV medication requirements. The workshop will equip participants with knowledge of what can and is being done in the community environment related to optimizing RPN scope. The goal is to engage workshop participants to identify key enablers, barriers, and actions to optimal RPN scope of practice. The discussion will empower RPNs to return to their respective organizations, regardless of sector, and collaborate with leaders to move RPN practice forward.


In his role as an Advanced Practice Leader with SE Health, Glen provides national clinical program leadership for chronic disease management programs, virtual care, hospital to home transitions programs, and new business development. Glen’s diverse experiences and expertise have contributed to his obtaining four national specialty certifications including: Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified Community Health Nurse, Certified Hospice Palliative Care Nurse, and Canadian Vascular Access Association Certification. Glen has practiced in a wide range of roles and practice settings over the past 24 years, with the past 19 years being dedicated to clinical practice and leadership in the Home and Community Care sector. Through his work with SE Health’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis programs, Saint Elizabeth Health Career College, and SE Global, Glen has travelled throughout Canada and internationally, consulting, developing, and implementing clinical programs and services. Glen has also been a member of the Nursing Advisory Committee for Georgian College Practical Nursing and Collaborative BScN programs for the last 14 years, currently serving in the role of Co-Chair.

Charlie Byer, RN, MS(N), CPN(C) Advanced Practice Leader – Medication Management & Infusion Therapy SE Health Charlie Byer has enjoyed a long tenure as a nurse leader focusing on nursing professional practice, education, patient safety, quality improvement, change leadership and project management. After many accomplished years in acute care, Charlie made the successful transition to community care in 2017. As an Advanced Practice Leader, Charlie provides clinical leadership nationally for Medication Management, Infusion Therapy, Chronic Disease Management and emerging business within Virtual Care. Charlie also oversees the Clinical Practice Coaches (Nurse Educators) within the province of Ontario. Charlie obtained her Baccalaureate Nursing degree and certificate in Leadership and Management Nursing from Ryerson University, Toronto, a Masters of Science in Nursing from D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York and has a certification in Perioperative Nursing from the Canadian Nurses Association.

Assaulted and Unheard: Violence Against Healthcare Staff

Session Description

Healthcare workers regularly face the risk of violent physical, sexual, and verbal assault from their patients. Inadequate post-incident psychological and financial support compound the distress victims experience.

To explore this phenomenon, a collaborative, descriptive, qualitative study was undertaken by university-affiliated researchers and a union council representing registered practical nurses, personal support workers, and other healthcare staff in Ontario, Canada. A total of fifty-four healthcare workers from diverse communities were consulted about their experiences and ideas. They described violence-related physical, psychological, interpersonal, and financial effects.

This workshop will explore some of the strategies shared for prevention such as personal alarms, building design changes, ‘‘zero tolerance’’ policies, simplified reporting and better training. Barriers to eliminating risks including the normalization of violence; underreporting; lack of respect from patients, visitors and other staff; poor communication; and the threat of reprisal for speaking publicly will also be explored. 


Dr. James Brophy and Dr. Margaret Keith both have PhD’s in environmental health from the University of Stirling in Scotland. Their research has covered an extensive range of important occupational and environmental health issues. They have published numerous articles in peer reviewed scientific journals and contributed several book chapters to academic publications.

Together they were awarded the Scientific Award from the Occupational Health Section of the American Public Health Association for the rigour displayed in their ground-breaking occupational breast cancer research.

And they have just published a major study -- conducted in partnership with OCHU -- on violence against health care staff in the hospital setting. They are currently conducting a similar study, this time investigating violence against staff in Long Term Care.


Leadership Pathways: Rising Stars Panel

Session Description

This panel consists of RPNs who have participated in our Lighting the Pathway to Leadership workshop March 26 th 2018 hosted by the RPNAO. Each participant had a strong desire to move their careers to the next level or to take on a formal leadership role, but where not certain where to start. The panelists will share their journey, describe their scope of practice and provide advice for others about to embark on this path. The discussion will be moderated by Norma Tomlin (RPNAO) who over the last six months worked closely with Mary Wheeler, an expert in career development and cofounder of donnerwheeler, following and coaching these RPNs to meeting some amazing career goals to leadership. Learn about what ignited them to take the steps to success!


Norma has been an RPN for 25 years. Prior to joining the Professional Practice team at RPNAO, she started her career in private rehab clinics from there moving into the health service provider sector. There she had varies roles supporting the visiting nursing contracts with CCAC and the insurance/private care cases in the community. She also worked as a recruiter to hired PSWs, RPNs and RNs to support service delivery for a wide range of programs in the community.

Moving into a case management role for many years, she helped families and patients navigate the health care system to support their desire to stay at home. From there, she was hired as a case manager for the CARE centre for Internationally Educated Nurses. Her work there counseled all levels of nurses to meet the entry to practice competencies out lined by the College of Nurses of Ontario. Over the almost 9 years in this role she is highlighting the importance of our standards of practice to internationally educated nurses and engaging them with professional development. Because of this work she has supported several hundreds of nurses to become registered and working in all sectors to provide care for Ontario patient and their families.

Betty Fehr, RPN has a broad nursing background having worked in Acute Care, Psycho-geriatrics, Community Care and Legislative Nursing while holding leadership positions in these multiple settings.  She helped pioneer RPN in community care service in Saskatchewan by becoming the first RPN position as a front line visit nurse.  Since then, Betty relocated to Ontario when she continues to work in Community Care with Saint Elizabeth in a supervisory capacity. Recently Betty has taken on an Instructor role and loves sharing her knowledge.   She is a strong advocate for excellence in care and continues to strive to expand the RPN role.

Jackie Dillon, RPN graduated with honors in 2011 from Loyalist College. She immediately started working on a busy medical floor in the hospital after graduating; from there she went to specialize at a Dialysis clinic and also worked part time at a Family Health team. 

After her first son was born she started a new position at a Community Health Centre as a Telemedicine coordinator, working 2-3 days a week.  After attending the RPNAO “Igniting the Leadership Spark” she started the pathway to her passion to become a clinical teacher. She connected with her local community college to explore the possibilities, and was excited to have both the Health Sciences and Nursing department respond to her. She currently has been invited to sit on the nursing practice council where she will impart her knowledge and voice to the practical nursing program.  In a very short time she has taken great steps on her journey to leadership.

Linda Vu, RPN is a Registered Practical Nurse who is currently the Director of Care at Elmsmere Villa Retirement Residence in Ottawa and has been practicing nursing for five years. Nursing is a second career for Linda; she originally completed her degree in Health Studies and Gerontology at McMaster University. Her desire to provide compassionate, holistic care, a hands-on experience and job opportunities in the healthcare industry - especially nursing - encouraged her to return to school. She enrolled in the two-year practical nursing program at Canadore College in North Bay and graduated with a diploma in practical nursing in 2013. Linda also had experience with Revera Inc. during her training and education since 2009. As a Director of Care, Linda is responsible for managing, recruiting, providing nursing leadership, and training of staff and students on principles such as P.I.E.C.E.S. and Gentle Persuasive Approach.   Linda also ensures that all residents are provided emotional support when needed, especially, those receiving palliative care.  Linda finds it comforting that residents receiving palliative care are able to spend their remaining days in the home – their home – an environment they are familiar with.  

Understanding and Managing Incontinence

Session Description

This workshop is intended as an introduction for those wanting to know more about assessment and management of urinary incontinence. The focus will be on understanding the factors that can contribute to incontinence and conservative management strategies that can be used to resolve or reduce the problem.

  1. To recognize the barriers and factors that can contribute to incontinence.
  2. To review the components of assessment and management of incontinence.
  3. To apply this new learning to a case study.


Jennifer Skelly RN, PhD is the Director of the Continence Programs at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton where for the past 24 years she has worked to improve access to continence care for Canadians.  Dr. Skelly’s clinical practice focuses on conservative methods of managing urinary and fecal incontinence. She has been involved from the beginning in the development of the RNAO Guidelines on Prompted Voiding and Managing Constipation first published in 2000 and on subsequent revisions in 2005 and 2011. Dr. Skelly is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, McMaster University. She established the Nurse Continence Advisor Distance Education Program offered by McMaster in 1995 and the Canadian Nurse Continence Advisors Association in 2000 to ensure a standard of excellence in the role of continence nursing. 



POSTER 1: Conflict Management Workshop – A Waste of Time or a Great Strategy?

Learning experiences in the final consolidation semester can be negatively affected by interpersonal conflicts between nursing students and preceptors. Little research has been done measuring the effectiveness of interventions that support the development of conflict management skills in nursing students. The Conflict Management Workshop was developed to address this need. A pilot was conducted with part-time Registered Practical Nursing (RPN) students in August 2017 to determine feasibility and receive general feedback regarding format, timing and topics. The Workshop was then revised and offered in January 2018 with the full-time RPN students. A mixed-methods study was conducted to determine the overall effectiveness of the Workshop as well as to investigate their personal experiences with conflict. Students who participated in this study were placed in a variety of settings including acute care, long term care, community settings and medical clinics. Preliminary findings indicate the Workshop was well received and beneficial to students’ learning and their transition to practice. Data analysis continues, and findings will support the expansion of the Workshop through all School of Health Sciences programs and conflict management skills development programs with nursing staff in a variety of roles and settings.


Amy Jackson is currently working at Humber College in Toronto as the Manager of Clinical Education Resources. In this role, Amy supports the clinical teachers and students in their clinical placements in the Personal Support Worker program, Registered Practical Nursing program and the Bachelor of Nursing program. Amy recently completed her Masters of Nursing in Education, and focused her practicum work on Conflict Management in Nursing. She has worked with students in several capacities including being a preceptor, a Clinical Teacher and a Faculty Advisor. Amy began her nursing career in Acute Oncology and Palliative care, and was privileged to consolidate on a floor where students are consistently encouraged and supported in their nursing practice.

POSTER 2: Role Optimization – Engaging Learners to Provide Quality Care

Nursing scope of practice plays a pivotal role in the provision of quality care. Role optimization is an ongoing challenge within organizations, as evident in the literature. Purpose: Our organization recognized the need for RPN role optimization and addressed this concern through the provision of education to our Registered Practical Nurses (RPN). Our goal was to optimize the RPN role, ensure quality practice, continuity of care and review innovative vascular technologies. The project was implemented in 2016 concurrently with the introduction of an unregulated healthcare provider and RN role optimization training. Methods: The needs assessment prior to the development of the learning program provided the RPN with the opportunity to provide feedback regarding RPN role optimization and direction for content development. Content was developed utilizing resources from the CNO, RNAO BPG, RPNAO, INS, and ORBCoN. Results: The results from the evaluation demonstrated an increase from 36% to 83% in the knowledge uptake and competence of RPNs about PICC access and management. Nurses also noted 96% overall satisfaction with the education provided. Comments in the evaluation included concerns with maintaining competency due to lack of exposure, as well as identification of other learning needs. Conclusions: This session will delineate key learning outcomes of the project from both nursing and organizational perspectives. Specifically, it will review the background of role optimization changes in our organization, project needs assessment, education provided and tools used that maybe applicable to other organizations. A review of the overall evaluation from RPN staff will be provided. Practical strategies and educational resources to ensure role optimization of RPN staff in the provision of quality patient care will be shared. Moving forward, plans to ensure continued competency and knowledge expansion are a consideration.


Emily MacDougall, RN works as a Clinical Educator Facilitator in an acute care community hospital. Her portfolio includes Vascular Therapy, Nursing Resource Team, Corporate and Policy Coordinator. Emily is a member of the CVAA, INS and RNAO. Emily has been a Clinical Educator for 5 years with a background of nearly 10 years in Emergency Nursing. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Victoria.

POSTER 3: The Role of Practical Nurses in Workplace Resuscitation

Occupational Health is a benefit and necessary resource to the employees of Ontario and across Canada but it is also a profession that is not well understood and under utilized. Learn how practical nurses have an amazing opportunity to increase awareness of this profession through a responsibility to protect our workforce, of which, we are all a part of. Join us, Rebecca Schutt and Lucie Fournier – Partners in Occupational Health Practical Nurses & Associates, as we guide you through a day in the life of an Occupational Health Nurse. Our patients are called employees and our work is critical in preventing injuries and promoting mental well-being and physical health. We are the emergency department in life threatening situations, the counsellor in grief or workplace mediation, and the discharge planner in the return to work process. Our commitment and role in the workplace is extremely diversified. Educating ourselves in Human Resources and the law, understanding the Ministry of Labour as it relates to Health & Safety, assessing Ergonomics, performing disability Management, promoting Health & Wellness, and implementing Psychological Health & Safety are just a few of our daily challenges. Come learn how you can use your practical nursing skills in environments such as car manufacturing, retail stores, school boards and yes, even hospitals. We are the health professionals that take care of you at work and we have a passion for developing the practical nursing profession and leaving a legacy of certification in the occupational health field, for you.


Lucie MH Fournier has worked alongside organizations to influence workplace and employee health for over 30 years and is fully cognizant of the challenges facing CEOs, Human Resources and their teams in managing a range of organizational health issues. With a certification in Occupational Health Nursing and a degree in Psychology, Lucie is a strong proponent of addressing mental health in the workplace. She has a background in natural medicine and believes in holistically addressing employer and employee health concerns to reduce the rising costs of health care at work. Her recent certification as a Success Coach with Jack Canfield provides the finishing touches to her lifetime dream of empowering others to transform their life and career to fulfillment. Lucie has dedicated her nursing career to occupational health. Her partnership with Rebecca in Occupational Health Practical Nurses & Associates is leaving a legacy for the future.

Rebecca Schutt is the Co-founder and partner of OHPNA, a positioning association for RPNs in Occupational Health. After almost a decade in hospitality Rebecca transitioned her skills and talents to nursing. Rebecca holds a RPN diploma from Conestoga College. She is certified in audiometry, spirometry and Joint Health & Safety. Prior to devoting her time to OHPNA, Rebecca held RPN roles in community nursing, long term care and since 2010, Occupational Health. She has influenced employers and employees by specializing in Occupational Health and Wellness and successfully bridging the gap between workplace and health care through a consulting practice and onsite nursing. Rebecca has a keen interest in proactive health maintenance and personal safety on the job. As an Occupational Health Nurse, she works with employees and businesses to ensure safety at work and is a proponent of proactive health teaching in Mental Health, legislative compliance, workplace safety and emergency response.

POSTER 4: The Development and Pilot of a Post-Acute Care Nurse-Patient Assignment Tool

A discussion on the development and evaluation of a quality improvement initiative to develop a nurse-patient assignment for a complex continuing care unit. Background: Creating a fair and equitable nursing assignment is challenging when incorporating patient workload and complexity. Current tools focus on acute care environments and do not capture the complexities of post-acute care patient populations. Methods: A quality improvement initiative focused on the development and pilot of a nurse-patient assignment tool using the CNO’s three-factor framework. Results: Nurses reported that the tool captured aspects of nursing care that was previously not considered, helping the team understand the complexities of patient assignments and the scope of practice. Others felt the changes made did not help with the workload. Discussion: The use of assignment tools and the complexities of balancing nursing workload in complex-continuing care will be discussed. Recommendations for other organizations will be outlined.


Ashley O’Neil is a Registered Nurse and has previous experience working as a home care nurse and on the complex continuing care unit at Baycrest. Ashley is currently working on the nursing resource team at Baycrest. In addition, Ashley is also a tracheostomy ambassador. She also led a nursing assignment project and created a patient classification system that was piloted.

Adela Belisario is a Registered Practical Nurse currently working as a palliative care nurse at Baycrest. She has previous experience working as an operational room nurse in Peru. In Canada, has experience working in long-term care and complex continuing care. Adela is studying to be a registered nurse.

POSTER 5: Supporting the Aging Population and the Nurses Who Care for Them

The Gerontological Nursing Association (central east chapter) remains up-to-date on the current trends and challenges affecting the aging population and the nurses who care for them. Through advocacy, education, and research, GNAO supports Gerontological nursing practice to optimize quality of care. GNAO strives to make a positive difference in the lives of older adults and the nurses who care for them. This poster presentation will highlight GNAO’s recent activities, current gerontological events, and quality practice initiatives to make a positive difference in the lives of older adults.


Jennifer Calver is the Professional Advocacy Chair for the Gerontological Nursing Association, Central East Chapter. Jennifer has provided care for the aging population through various roles in health care and community settings throughout her career. Jennifer was first introduced to caring for seniors when she completed a high-school placement at a Private Hospital. Jennifer was inspired by the staff and touched by personal stories shared by patients and families. Jennifer has experience working as an Activation aid, and Personal Support Worker, before becoming a Registered Practical Nurse. Jennifer has continued furthering her studies through the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and will be graduating from the Bachelors of Allied Health Science (honours) program in the spring. In addition to her studies, Jennifer is completing a Full-Time Research Assistantship at UOIT, works casual as an RPN in Long-term care, and as an RPN immunization nurse for the public health unit.

POSTER 6: Integrating Technology into the Practical Nursing Classroom: An Exploration of a Technological Student Response Program

Technology in the classroom has been found to increase peer collaboration, active student learning, participation, and enhance student interaction and feedback on student comprehension of theoretical content (Revell & McCurry, 2010). The ‘flipped classroom’ approach, in which the students are actively engaged in collaborative learning in the classroom setting, has been found to increase student engagement. The author built on this pedagogical approach and integrated the use of interactive technology to enhance the flipped classroom experience. This poster will provide an overview of an interactive technological student response program. The App based program is free to for use by students, and can be used with either phone, tablet, or a web-based login using a computer. The aim of using the technological student response system is to enhance student involvement and utilize in-process evaluation to provide instant student feedback on their application of knowledge. To date, there is limited empirical evidence in regards to the effectiveness of interactive technology in Practical Nursing education. Therefore, additional research is needed to evaluate student response in the integration of these interactive learning and assessment tools.


Klaske Rheubottom RN., BScN., MScN is a full-time faculty member in the school of nursing at the Woodstock-Oxford Regional campus of Fanshawe College. Klaske co-ordinates the Personal Support Worker and Early Childhood Education Program and is a professor in the Practical Nursing program. Klaske maintains current in her practice as a labour and delivery nurse. Her educational focus is on innovate teaching/learning delivery methods to enhance student success and engagement.

POSTER 7: Maintaining the Safety of Mental Health Clients and Staff in the Emergency Department

This poster focuses on mental health patients in crisis in the Emergency Department (ED).

It will describe an incident that occurred at the Micheal Garron Hospital (MGH) ED and what actions have been taken there to reduce the potential harm to the general population patients, the mental health patient and the staff. This will include coverage of the new ‘Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale’ (COWS) designed by one of our physicians.

Nursing assessments, plans of care and interventions to implement when a patient is in crisis will be covered. The material will show simulations, provide tools for practice, and references for members to address violence in the workplace.

The aim of this poster is to provide information that will empower you to provide high quality care for mental health patients in crisis in the ED, with skills that are transferable to general population patients who present with anxiety and agitation.


Wendy Colmenero has been an RPN for over 35 years. She trained as RNA at the Scarborough General Hospital and was in the last class that graduated from a hospital before the RPN programme moved to the colleges.

She started working at Toronto East General Hospital (now Micheal Garron Hospital) in 1987 on the Orthopaedic Unit and then moved into the Blood Procurement Team and onto the Float Pool, (now the Nursing Resource Team (NRT)). The NRT allowed her to provide care to acutely ill Surgery, Medical and Mental Health clients. Throughout her career she has continued to upgrade her skills by successful completion of many courses, including the Pediatric Emergency, Assessment, Recognition and Stabilization (PEARS), and Introduction to 12 Lead ECG courses, among others. She is now a high functioning member of the MGH Emergency team and is often called on for assistance with mental health clientele.

Wendy has been active with Professional Practice, devising, developing and implementing nursing polices in consultation with her colleagues. She was also a strong mentor during the implementation of the electronic charting.

Wendy successfully completed a fellowship with the RPNAO on ‘Harm Reduction for the Nicotine Dependant Mental Health Patients’. This was presented at the 2014 RPNAO conference. She also presented at the 2013 RPNAO conference on measures taken at MGH to decrease patients wait for an inpatient bed from the ED. Other presentations include one at an SEIU conference and the MGH Innovation fair.

As a profession with a wealth of experience as a nurse, Wendy continues to educate and advocate for safe and respectful care of all her patients.

POSTER 8: Supporting the Clinical Teacher – The Humber Model

Clinical Teacher effectiveness is an often-discussed topic in practical nursing education. Literature has identified five essential characteristics of an excellent clinical teacher (Knox & Mogan, 1983, 1985). The identification of these characteristics has been replicated in over 22 studies. Humber College has developed an innovative approach to supporting clinical teachers who work with practical nursing students in clinical placements. This poster will outline Humber’s program identifying strategies and lessons learned to support excellence in scholarly clinical teaching.


Sandra Filice is graduate of George Brown College Nursing. Ryerson University, and the University of Toronto. She is currently a doctoral student at Queen’s University studying formative feedback processes to support clinical teacher effectiveness and student self-regulated learning. She is the Director, Office of Experiential Learning at Humber College and in this role responsible for all aspects of student placement across the School of Health Science. This includes supporting the clinical and Lab teachers who work with all of Humber’s nursing students.

POSTER 9: The Role of ADT NURSE – Partnering with Patient’s and Families Thru Their Transition of Care from Admission to Discharge

Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH) is constantly striving for patient excellence. To enhance the patient and family experience, SMH worked to align paid performance indicators (P4R) with our Quality Improvement Plan, through the introduction of the Registered Practice Nurse in the ADT (Admission, Discharge, Transfer) role in 2016. This poster presentation will outline optimization of the RPN role as the ADT nurse and will highlight the following indicators that were impacted with the introduction of this role: • 90 percentile LOS for admitted patients was reduced from 28 hours to 4 hours translating to an improved time that patients and families spent in the Emergency Department prior to admission to the inpatient departments. • Average LOS for admitted patients (excluding ALC) went from 9.4 patient days to 5.8 patient days; patients were in the right bed, at the right time, receiving the right care. • Improved patient satisfaction scores from 45% to 68% (NRCP survey question “Would you definitely recommend us?”) with the new robust discharge process. • Improved compliance with medication reconciliation at discharge to an average of 90%, working collaboratively with the Pharmacy team.


Erin Arsenault graduate Humber College in 2006 after completing her praxis at Stevenson Memorial Hospital. As an acute care RPN, Erin has been with the organization for 12 years and focuses on improving quality care of patient, expanding the scope of practice of RPNs and passionate about patient experience. Erin is a long-standing member of SMH medical quality committee and most recently has participated in the 2018 Dorothy Wylie Health Leaders Institute with the support of RPNAO bursary. Erin is involved in projects to improve process and delivery of care and continues into her third year as ADT nurse. Erin is the mother of active twin girls. She is a leader with 2nd Borden Sparks Unit and an active volunteer within her community.

Jacquie Armellin

With over 23 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in various acute care areas, Jacquie can be considered a nursing expert. She has held positions within both the clinical and academic arenas. Jacquie’s professional career spans areas of general medicine, emergency medicine, cardiac care, surgery, and ambulatory care. She has held leadership roles as a bedside nurse, Corporate Clinical Specialist, Clinical Resource Nurse, Professional Practice Leader for Nursing, Research, and more recently Clinical Educator. Within the academic realm, Jacquie has taught both clinical groups and theory/lecture in a large community college in the Practical Nurse program, and former Diploma Nurse Program. Jacquie is a graduate of Humber College’s Nursing Diploma Program. She completed her undergraduate degree (Bachelorette of Nursing; BN) at the University of New Brunswick, and was the first cohort of the Humber/UNB School of Nursing Partnership. Jacquie completed her Master’s degree (Masters in the Science of Nursing; MScN) at York University in 2007. Jacquie is a mother of teenage twin girls. She is the President of the Highland Dancers’ Association of Ontario and a Level 2 trainer with Ontario Women’s Hockey Association. Jacquie is an active volunteer within her community hospital and has been honored to volunteer her time and skills with the Medical team for the Princess Margaret Hospital Walk for the past 10 years, and more recently the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

POSTER 10: Mother and Baby Follow Up Clinic

North York General Hospital (NYGH) strives for quality and safety as families transition home after birth and recognizes the need for standardized newborn hyperbilirubinemia monitoring post-discharge from the hospital. Hyperbilirubinemia affects sixty percent of term babies in the first week of life and contributes to increased emergency department visits and readmissions. A strategy to support this gap was to expand the Registered Nurse (RN) led breastfeeding clinic model to include newborn follow-up care (i.e. hyperbilirubinemia monitoring), and provide timely access to care that would lead to increased patient safety, decreased emergency department visits and readmission rates. An analysis of expected patient volumes was completed and the estimated clinic visits was projected to increase significantly, requiring the need for increased administrative support, physician access, and laboratory services. A Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) Led model provided a unique leadership opportunity for RPNs currently working in the Mother and Baby inpatient unit to expand their skills and support their patients across the continuum of care as they transitioned home. Utilizing RPNs to their full scope of practice leads to economic benefits (Schanler, 2016). Financial resources were reallocated by transitioning from an RN to RPN model to support additional administrative, physician and laboratory support in the clinic and increased staffing flexibility. The model transition allowed for leadership opportunities for RPNs to expand their skills and act as a resource for their colleagues on the inpatient unit. Many organizations have implemented a clinic model to support newborn follow-up care. However, these clinics are led by a variety of providers, including RNs, physicians, or midwives who specialize in breastfeeding support. The innovative RPN led model provides a unique leadership opportunity in promoting health and maximized their scope of practice, while being fiscally responsible within our healthcare system.


Kayla Nault is an RPN and Certified Lactation Consultant who leads the Mother and Baby Follow up Clinic at North York General Hospital, as the organization works towards the Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) Ontario. She leads and works collaboratively with Toronto Public Health to assist parents with breastfeeding, health promotion, and newborn assessments. Kayla is a member of the Newborn Quality Committee and is the leader in creating solutions on newborn related issues at the clinic.

Adrienne Pang is the current educator for the mother baby unit until January of 2019 covering a maternity leave. Adrienne is a RN who is also completing her masters in health management and has worked alongside Kayla Nault on the mother and baby floor at NYGH for the past 5 years.