Each month I have the honour of catching up to one of our team members here at Winterberry to find out more about them and celebrate them for all that they do for our patients and community.

This month, I’m shining the light on Shanna. Please read on to find out about this important member of our team!

Shanna, what’s your job title?

Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

What is your background? 

I began nursing 10 years ago.  I spent 5 years as a RN in orthopedics and in the general surgery/GI/hepatology department. I upgraded my training and have been an Nurse Practitioner (NP) for close to 5 years now. As a new NP I worked in the orthopedics department and then moved to Winterberry 4 years ago.

What made you want to go into this aspect of healthcare?

I wanted to go into primary health care because I enjoy seeing people over the continuum of their life. I am passionate about preventing illness and optimization of chronic diseases.

What type of work do you do in your role?

I see patients of all ages and stages in their life. I assess patients, order tests, diagnose, prescribe, and provide treatment. A few years ago, I obtained certification for Gender Affirming Care through Rainbow Health and have been providing gender affirming care since. I manage hormone levels, provide medications,  and complete referrals for surgery. I also aid in management of minor surgical complications.

What is the importance of this work within the clinic?

It is important that patients, regardless of gender identification, have care that allows them to feel safe and comfortable. Having a trusting open dialect with patients creates an important therapeutic alliance which creates ideal patient outcomes.

I understand you also work with community members who are not part of our clinic. Can you tell me more about this?

We started accepting referrals for Gender Affirming Care from outside clinics and community members a couple of years ago. I had met with the Hamilton Trans Coalition that indicated this was a need from the community.  We have been able to help out many community members which we are very excited about!

What’s the best part of your average day at Winterberry?

The best part of my day is when I can help make someone’s bad day a little bit better.

When you’re not improving patient and community lives, what will we find you doing?

I enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. You can find me reading in my spare time, trying out new recipes, hiking, and chasing around my toddler!

Each month we focus on one of our hardworking and caring professionals. Many are healthcare providers but almost as many work behind the scenes to ensure that our clinic runs smoothly and efficiently.

One of the professionals behind the scenes is Lindsay. Recently she has been promoted to be our Administration and Billing Manager.

To congratulate her and introduce her to our patients we’re shining our light on her with a Team Showcase this month. Read below to find out more about our awesome Lindsay!

Lindsay, congratulations on becoming our new Administration and Billing Manager! Can you tell us quickly what your background is?

I come from many, many years of customer service and administration experience. I have always had an interest in Medical office administration, so in 2018, I decided to start my career over and went back to school. It was the best decision I have ever made. In my 5 years at Winterberry, I have learned the ins, outs, ups and downs of the administration position. Once I was with the team long enough, I was asked to become part of the billing team and I happily made the move.  

What made you want to be part of the Winterberry team? 

I was fresh out of school and needed a fulltime job and happily, after my first interview at Winterberry, I realized that this clinic was quickly growing in size and there would be potential to expand my skills and advance.

What type of work will you be doing in your new role? 

I manage a team of eleven people and oversee all things related to Administration and Billing. 

Wow, that’s impressive! What do you think is the importance of this work within the clinic?  

The importance of this work is to be a knowledgeable resource for the Administration and Billing department to ensure that the operations of the office remain smooth. It’s also being an effective leader to the team and creating an excellent work environment. 

Will patients benefit from your work in this role? 

I have a plan to implement some new operations in the office and have already executed some of them. We now offer payment for forms and notes over the phone, which is much more convenient for patients to do virtual appointments. More positive changes to come!

What is your favourite part of your new role?

I enjoy being back in the office and back in the action!  I enjoy creating a healthy work environment and working closely with the team to build on their strengths and share some laughs.

When you’re not improving patient and team lives at Winterberry what will we find you doing? 

Spending time with friends, family, camping, kayaking or enjoying a Caesar and a ball game on my patio.

Each month we get together with one of our Winterberry team members for a quick Q+A so our patients and community can get to know us all a little better! This month we caught up with Rachel, Human Resources (HR) Manager as she has recently been promoted to a new role in the clinic.

Congratulations on your new role Rachel! Can you share with us your new job title?

My new job title is Human Resources Manager.

What is your background? 

I originally completed my degree in Business Management, then went to work for a large childcare organization after school, where I slowly moved from an accounting role into an HR role. While I worked there, I completed my Human Resources diploma online and once I completed that, I fully moved into HR and payroll role there.

What made you want to be part of the Winterberry team?

What appealed to me most was that I was going to be Winterberry’s first HR team member. Being able to create HR processes and implement them has been a very rewarding experience. Since joining the team, I’ve never looked back. The people I work with are amazing and so supportive.

What type of work will you be doing in your new role?

Part of moving into a managerial role, I’ll be more actively engaged with our team members to ensure our culture is aligned with our mission and vision, and values.

What is the importance of this work within the clinic?

Winterberry is one of the most recognized clinics in the area and we want to maintain our reputation of excellence. Ensuring we have the best members on our team, will help uphold that reputation.

Will patients benefit from your work in this role? If yes, please let us know how. 

Our patients will indirectly benefit from the work done in my new role. Ensuring our team members are confident and supported in what they do, will show during their appointments with patients. It’s part of my job to ensure our team members are able to provide the best possible care to our patients.

What is your favourite part of being the HR Manager?

Knowing that people feel comfortable coming to me with any concerns or goals they may have and being able to work through them together.

When you’re not improving patient and team lives at Winterberry what will we find you doing?

I will either be out walking my 2 fur babies (Bernedoodle – Ella and Rottweiler – Lola), checking out new coffee shops or wineries, or going to the Hamilton Farmer’s Market on the weekend!

Exciting news that you are taking on new responsibilities at the clinic! 

Thank-you so much! It is an honor to be able to grow with Winterberry as a member of the team, as well as individually in my own practice and knowledge. 

Can you share with us your new job title?

I am the Clinical Research Supervisor; managing a team of about 12 

What type of work will you be doing in this role?

I am managing a growing team of researchers; which includes research coordinators, lab techs, nurses as well as a few of our Doctors and Nurse Practitioners.

What is the importance of this work within the clinic?

This is a huge area of purpose and growth for Winterberry as a whole. This is our chance to give back to the world of medicine as well as our patients. We are asked to take part in many trials, which gives us the advantage of selecting those that are best suited for our patients, focused on our areas of passion. We get to bring these trial opportunities to our patients as well as our own team members. 

What made you excited to make the change in your role at Winterberry?

I am so pleased to be a part of the overall purpose and vision of Winterberry- I became a nurse because it is a job with ever changing and endless opportunities; Winterberry is helping me achieve new career goals that I would have not been able to in a hospital environment. I am very proud of the work I do, my team does and Winterberry as a whole. 

Will patients benefit from your work in this role? If yes, please let us know how. 

Patients are the main focus for research- the reason we are doing it at all! Our patients get first access to any of the trials that we are offering and we attempt to let them know about every single one! There is a chance for patients to learn more about their own health, their possible areas of improvement as well as give them a chance to participate in medicine in a new and exciting way. 

What are you most excited about in this new role? 

I am genuinely thrilled when team members get excited and passionate about research; so being able to help others on the Winterberry team expand their knowledge and practice is extremely rewarding for me; not to mention some of the amazing benefits our patients experience when they come on board! Overall there is a lot to be excited for! 

Krysta one of our key team members, is taking on new responsibilities at the clinic so we caught up with her to ask a few questions: 

Krysta, can you share with us your new job title?

Operations Manager

What type of work will you be doing in this role?

As the Clinic has grown significantly over the last year or two, it is important to create branches of our clinic.  As we now have a new Clinical Manager, a research manager, administrative supervisor and a human resources manager, it will be my responsibility to oversee all operations.  Each department has their own key roles, to which I will provide support.

What is the importance of this work within the clinic?

It is important that we place key players in all area of our clinic where they can specialize and excel.  Being able to offer support to each leader makes our clinic run smoother and more efficient.

Will patients benefit from your work in this role? If yes, please let us know how. 

Patients can expect to see many changes coming in the near future – all of which are because they are being heard by the appropriate person, and together we work toward change.  Having specialized focus areas is something we are familiar with in health care, so applying it to an internal work flow will result in direct benefits to our patients.

The newest change we are going to see very soon is a new online booking system.  Our patients (and staff) have found our current system inefficient for the model of care we provide.  We heard our patients and we have been working to implement this change for months now.  I am excited to say we should have this new system up and running by mid-February!

Each month we reach out to a Winterberry team member so that we can showcase (and celebrate) them in our monthly Q+A. This month we’re excited to feature Erin, our new Clinical Manager.

Erin, what is your role with Winterberry?
I have recently been promoted to the Clinical Manager at Winterberry Family Medicine. I also work as a part of the clinical research team.

I understand this is a new role for you at Winterberry, what were you doing at Winterberry before you became our Clinical Manager?
Prior to becoming the clinical manager, I was working as a nurse seeing a variety of clinic patient’s, as well as working with the research team on the various research trials.

What interested you about becoming the Clinical Manager? 
I am interested in evolving and growing as a professional, while remaining actively involved in patient care.

What is your professional background, how did you get to where you are today? 
I have always had a passion for mental health and started my nursing career working in both the inpatient and outpatient mental health setting. While working with the outpatient mental health department, I was asked to be a part of the design team for the new hospital site that was being built.

As the Clinical Manager you’re an incredibly vital part of our team, can you share any special moments from Winterberry that made you know that you’re making a positive difference in our patient or team  member lives? 
While working as a nurse at Winterberry, I had been seeing a patient for about 1 year and supporting her with her weight loss journey. Over the course of 1 year, we were able to reduce this patient’s body weight, get her down to a healthy body fat percentage and reduce her HB A1C to a normal level. The patient also reached their weight loss goal and began to cry out of excitement when I shared this news.

When you’re not at work, what are your hobbies and special interests?
When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy maintaining an active lifestyle through working out, walking my dogs and rollerblading with my family.

In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of Canadian healthcare, Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) play a crucial role in delivering quality patient care. RPNs are an essential part of the healthcare team, offering a unique blend of education, skills, and services that set them apart from other healthcare professionals.

RPNs are healthcare professionals who undergo education and training to ensure they are well-equipped to provide a wide range of healthcare services. To become an RPN in Canada, individuals typically follow a structured educational path that includes:

College Education: RPNs complete a diploma program offered by accredited colleges across Canada. These programs generally span two to three years and provide a comprehensive curriculum that covers topics like anatomy, pharmacology, nursing theory, and clinical practice.

Licensing and Certification: After completing their education, aspiring RPNs must pass the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) to obtain their license. This examination assesses their knowledge and skills in various aspects of nursing practice, ensuring they meet the required standards of competence.

Continuing Education: RPNs are required to engage in ongoing professional development and education to stay current with evolving healthcare practices and maintain their licensure. This commitment to continuous learning ensures that RPNs provide high-quality care throughout their careers.

Services Provided by RPNs

RPNs offer a wide range of services that contribute significantly to healthcare here at Winterberry. Their scope of practice is defined by provincial regulations, but common services provided by RPNs include:

Patient Assessment: RPNs are skilled in conducting thorough patient assessments, including physical examinations, vital sign monitoring, and gathering medical histories. These assessments help diagnose and plan appropriate care for patients.

Medication Administration: RPNs are trained to administer medications, including injections and intravenous therapies, under the supervision of registered nurses or nurse practitioners. They ensure patients receive their prescribed treatments safely and accurately.

Wound Care: RPNs excel in wound care management, including dressing changes, wound assessments, and infection control. Their expertise in this area is invaluable in promoting wound healing and preventing complications.

Health Promotion and Education: RPNs educate patients and their families on various aspects of healthcare, such as managing chronic conditions, adopting healthy lifestyles, and understanding treatment plans. They play a vital role in empowering patients to take control of their health.

Care Planning and Coordination: RPNs collaborate with other healthcare professionals to develop and implement care plans tailored to each patient’s needs. They help coordinate services and ensure that patients receive comprehensive care.

Palliative Care: RPNs are often involved in providing end-of-life care and support to patients and their families. They offer comfort and compassionate care during challenging times.

At Winterberry we value our RPNs and are thankful for the continued commitment to our patient’s health and wellbeing. 

In the ever-evolving landscape of Canadian healthcare, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have emerged as essential healthcare providers who bridge the gap between traditional nursing and medical care. At Winterberry we are proud to have a highly-skilled and caring team of Nurse Practitioners. 

During appointments you may have a Nurse Practitioner helping you. This blog will help you understand what an NP is and what role they play in helping to keep you, your family and our community healthy and well. 

With their unique blend of advanced education and clinical experience, NPs play a crucial role in delivering high-quality healthcare services across the country. 

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner in Canada is a rigorous and demanding process that requires a solid foundation in nursing and extensive additional training. 

Services Provided by Canadian Nurse Practitioners

Canadian Nurse Practitioners are qualified to provide a wide range of healthcare services, making them valuable members of healthcare teams. 

Some of the services they offer include:

Diagnosis and Treatment: NPs can assess, diagnose, and treat various acute and chronic medical conditions. They can order diagnostic tests, interpret results, and prescribe medications when necessary.

Preventive Care: NPs are well-equipped to provide preventive healthcare, including vaccinations, health screenings, and health education to promote healthier lifestyles.

Chronic Disease Management: NPs play a significant role in managing chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. They work closely with patients to develop personalized care plans and monitor their progress.

Minor Procedures: NPs can perform minor medical procedures such as suturing wounds, removing stitches, and conducting biopsies.

Referrals: When necessary, NPs can refer patients to specialists or other healthcare providers for specialized care.

Patient Education: NPs emphasize patient education, ensuring that individuals understand their health conditions and treatment plans. They promote informed decision-making and active participation in healthcare.

How Nurse Practitioners Differ from Medical Doctors

While Nurse Practitioners and Medical Doctors (MDs) share some similarities in their roles, they also have distinct differences:

Education: MDs undergo a more extended and specialized education path, including medical school, residency training, and often fellowship training in a specific medical field. NPs, on the other hand, have a nursing background and complete advanced nursing education.

Scope of Practice: MDs have a broader scope of practice and can perform complex surgeries and procedures, while NPs focus on primary care and preventive healthcare, with some ability to perform minor procedures.

Nurse Practitioners are vital contributors here at Winterberry and we celebrate and thank them for their contributions. 

Photo by Nappy on Unsplash

Here at Winterberry and in every healthcare setting in the country, Registered Nurses (RNs) play an integral role in ensuring the well-being of patients. These dedicated professionals are highly trained, compassionate, and vital members of the healthcare team. 

So what is an RN and what training do they have?

Becoming a Registered Nurse is no small feat. It requires rigorous education and training. Most RNs hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, although some may possess a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing. BSN programs typically take four years to complete and include both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience.

During their education, aspiring RNs learn a wide range of skills and knowledge. They study anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and medical-surgical nursing. They also gain proficiency in patient assessment, healthcare ethics, and the intricacies of the Canadian healthcare system.

Upon completion of their education, RNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to obtain their license to practice. This exam assesses their knowledge and competence in various nursing domains.

What can you expect an RN to do when caring for you?

Registered Nurses are versatile healthcare professionals who provide a multitude of services to patients across different settings. Their primary responsibilities include:

Patient Assessment: RNs are skilled in assessing a patient’s health condition. They conduct comprehensive physical exams, take medical histories, and analyze diagnostic tests to form a holistic view of the patient’s health.

Medication Administration: RNs administer medications to patients and monitor their response to treatment. They ensure that medications are administered safely and correctly, and they educate patients on proper medication management.

Wound Care: RNs work with patients as appropriate in wound assessment and management. They clean and dress wounds, monitor healing progress, and provide guidance on wound care to patients and their families.

Patient Education: One of the crucial roles of RNs is patient education. They teach patients about their conditions, treatment plans, and self-care techniques to promote better health outcomes.

Collaboration: RNs work closely with other healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, and allied health providers, to coordinate patient care and ensure the best possible outcomes.

Registered Nurses are often considered to be the heart of the healthcare system. Their dedication, education, and commitment to patient care make them indispensable members of the healthcare team here at Winterberry. 

At Winterberry we’re proud of our team and are always looking for ways to not only celebrate and showcase them. We’re also dedicated to helping our patients get to know our team them better and that’s why each month we catch up with one of our amazing Winterberry team members and ask them a few questions. These quick Q+A’s help all of us get a glimpse into what makes them a special part of our team.

Dayna, what is your role with Winterberry?

I am a Registered Nurse, and Certified Diabetes Educator

What is the best part of being a Certified Diabetic Educator?

The best part of being a Diabetes Educator, is providing our clients with the tools, knowledge and resources needed to successfully self-manage their diabetes. 

What interested you about being a Diabetic Educator? Why did you choose this area of specialty?

Millions of people in Canada live with diabetes, and education is the key to good management of diabetes. Health teaching is already a big part of my role as a nurse, and I wanted to specialize in an area of need.  

As a Certified Diabetic Educator you’re a vital part of our team, can you share any special moments from Winterberry that made you know that you’re making a positive difference in our patient’s lives? 

Anytime our patients feel supported, confident and accomplished is a good day.  Some simple smiles and laughs, never hurt either. 

When you’re not at work, what are your hobbies and special interests?

When I am not at work, you will either find me, outside with my kids and dog, or travelling to a new wine region with my husband.