shawn palmer placing hand on heart outside staff entrance of MGH

#IamMGH - Meet Shawn Palmer

#IamMGH tells the stories of our people. Meet Shawn Palmer, Safety Educator and Registered Practical Nurse (RPN).

“I’ve been working at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) for six years now. With the support of my manager, I was able to modify my schedule to complete my BScN in the process and become an RN. I started out as an RPN in the Emergency Department, but shortly after joined the Nursing Resource Team (NRT) because I was interested in working in so many different disciplines. I have also worked as the flu shot nurse and recently transitioned to the MGH COVID-19 vaccine team, where I supported vaccinations for all of the long-term care facilities in East Toronto.

As a part of this team, I did a lot of vaccine confidence education because there were a lot of people who needed more information and had questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. I went from institution to institution answering questions and speaking to staff and residents. As that team is an extension of MGH’s infection prevention and control team, I became really interested in their work. So when the new Safety Educator position opened up, I applied immediately – I felt it was right up my alley.

As Safety Educator, my goal is to empower staff to become safety experts themselves. I am a resource for point of care risk assessments, personal protective equipment (PPE) selection and PPE practice, such as donning and doffing. I try to make myself visible and accessible to all patient-facing staff and I want them to feel comfortable approaching me with any concerns. I work shifts at all different hours – weekends and evenings – to try and reach as many staff as possible.

I think the most rewarding part of this position is when I see positive outcomes. When I go to a unit to correct a gap in practice and the staff begin addressing it without needing to be prompted – everyone is safer. Keeping the staff and patients safe is the most rewarding thing.

During COVID-19, it’s difficult to stay positive at times – all of our lives have changed significantly. I used to see my friends and family more than my colleagues and now I only see my colleagues. I’ve been trying to really check up on people as much as I can; not just friends and family, but at work too. I feel like I can maybe get the ball rolling and help foster a culture where we all check in and support each other.”

National Nursing Week is celebrated from May 10-16. Michael Garron Hospital would like to express its sincere appreciation and thanks to its entire nursing staff and take this moment to recognize the hard work and compassion the team extends on a daily basis for the safety of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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