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"Recognizing the ordinary and making it extraordinary"


Nathalie Shivji, Jodi Kortje, and Leilani Broadnax on the 2S Medicine Telemetry unit.

Sometimes it's the little things that can make all the difference. Like taking the time to recognize a co-worker for their help on a busy shift, taking time to appreciate someone who made your day, or simply giving thanks for a job well-done.

This was the motivation behind what inspired our 2S Medicine Telemetry team to develop their 'Catch me at my best' recognition program. With support from the VCH Recognition program and the Give Thanks Team Challenge, Nathalie Shivji, clinical nurse educator and her team put together a simple everyday recognition and appreciation method to boost morale and create a more cohesive team.

“We've had a lot of turnover and basically have a whole new team, so recognition and appreciation was really important to everyone," she says.

After meeting with their People and Culture coach, Nathalie came up with an idea that would not only spark some interest, but that could be sustainable year-round. Borrowed from a similar program at the Hilton Hotel group, Nathalie added a health care spin to allow staff, patients, and families to make a big deal out of what we feel is the ordinary. Staff fill out a ballot box recognizing one of their co-workers when they 'catch them at their best'. The ballot then goes into a bi-weekly draw where both the nominee and the nominator have a chance to win a coffee card.

“It's about recognizing those little things that happen every day—it could be something big or small," says Nathalie. She designed the ballots, ballot box, and placed it in a visible area where everyone could watch the nominations come through. “It first started with the nurses, then allied health and our cleaning staff, then to our patients and families. It was really great to see this catching on and people getting excited about the program.

Nathalie says the exercise has proven to be really important and valuable for everyone on the unit.

“It's all about recognizing the ordinary and making it extraordinary," Nathalie says, adding that the practice of recognition also truly embodies all three of our new values. “We're caring for each other, we're learning from each other, and we're striving for better results because if we're cohesive as a team and we appreciate each other, we just naturally provide the best patient care and the best results."

Feeling the love

Samples of some of the ballot submissions on 2S:

  • Our Care Aide is thoughtful, professional and always willing to help. And somehow she knows everything about the status of out unit. She is an invaluable team member and I am so grateful for her support. – Nurse  

  • Our Unit Clerk gets things done fast! She is joy to work with and it is always a smooth-flowing shift when she is around. – Nurse 

  • My colleague helped me catch up on my work and made sure I took all my breaks. We have tough shifts but working with her makes 12 hours pass a little better. – Nurse 

  • This Experienced Resource Nurse taught me so many things during this one shift; I felt like she truly was my mentor. She had her own busy shift but always managed to help me along the way. – New Graduate Nurse

  • The Social Worker and Occupational Therapist were outstanding in keeping the communication lines open and clear. Thank you for teaching me the process and being patient and compassionate to my dad and my family. – Family Member 

  • My Nurse helped me to calm down when I had a panic attack. Then she helped me through the night with my dressings and oxygen levels. She was kind and compassionate. That is what we need in this world, humanity. Thank you, I will always remember your spirit. – Patient

Caring for each other through wellness

The Medicine Telemetry and ICU units are also caring for their staff through regular wellness opportunities such as massages and even fitness classes. Held every other month, these 'Power Breaks' provide an opportunity for staff to take a few minutes to focus on their overall health and wellness.

Leilani Broadnax, patient care coordinator, says it's all about self-care. “We want to make sure that our staff know that we care about them and that they care for each other," she says. “These breaks offer that opportunity and set them up with some tools they can use throughout the week to practice self-care on their own."

SOURCE: "Recognizing the ordinary and making it extraordinary" ( )
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