Quartet honoured for caring with compassion at Comox hospital

Four St. Joseph's General Hospital community members received recognition for their hard work and commitment to care with compassion.

SISTER PAT MACAULAY Service Award recipients Dr. Jason Wale

SISTER PAT MACAULAY Service Award recipients Dr. Jason Wale

Four outstanding St. Joseph’s General Hospital community members received recognition for their hard work and commitment to care with compassion.

The Sister Pat Macaulay Service Awards were handed out last week at the hospital, and this year, the award categories were expanded to include four areas: Acute care staff, residential care staff, volunteer and physician.

Arnie Auerbach, Shelley Gibson, Heather Holm and Dr. Jason Wale each received the award — and plenty of praise for their continued efforts at the hospital.

“The way they walk the talk breathes new life into St Joe’s mission and values,” said Steve Hill, St. Joe’s director of pastoral care, mission and medical ethics. “They make an ancient tradition of medical care come alive with fresh vitality in this place and in our time — care with compassion, respect for human dignity, excellence. As one nomination said, they inspire us not only to be better professionals, but better human beings.”

The Sister Pat Macaulay Service Awards are named in honour of the Sisters of St. Joseph’s commitment to health care at the hospital, as exemplified by Sister Pat Macaulay. She served three terms at St. Joseph’s — 1978 to 1982, 1986 to 1992 and 1999 to 2002.

Auerbach, who has volunteered at the hospital for 15 years, received the volunteer award from the emergency department’s Annette Moulaison-Davis.

“The emerge staff would like to take this opportunity to recognize the gentle care and empathy that you share with all our patients, and not only our patients, but our staff as well,” Moulaison-Davis told Auerbach. “Everyone has a special piece in our puzzle and you are one of the pieces that complete our puzzle.”

Auerbach was away sick for some time this year and Moulaison-Davis noted his absence was immediately felt. Auerbach expressed thanks for the award and said he plans to continue volunteering in the future.

Moulaison-Davis also presented registered nurse Gibson her award — the acute care award for her efforts in the emergency department.

“Even in the busiest most intense places in the emergency department you’ll find Shelley has the time to treat each individual with respect, compassion, in an empathetic and non-judgemental way,” Moulaison-Davis said. “She gives people that little extra TLC, a warm blanket, a big hug, a pep talk, a cup of tea — it’s the little things that make the difference, that make the experience for the patient.”

Gibson fought back tears as she accepted the award, and noted she always knew she wanted to be a nurse — even when others told her she couldn’t do it.

“One of my school counsellors told me at one point in life that I would never amount to anything and so I might as well just keep this nurse business out of my mind,” said an emotional Gibson. “So I have found a quote, and I live by it: ‘Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do,’ and I was meant to be a nurse.”

Oceanview Manor’s Marlene Forget presented registered nurse Holm with her award for residential care.

“Heather has helped create a home in Oceanview where our residents feel safe, secure and wanted,” said Forget. “Although some may forget the warmth of her embraces, or the kind words she has just spoken, they know that this lady who always wears a smile on her face makes time for them to feel important and loved.”

Holm also fought back tears as she gave thanks for her award.

The final award of the day, the award for a physician, was presented to Wale by the hospital’s new medical director Dr. Bob Angus.

“To say that Jason Wale exceeds the expectations of an emergency room physician would be an understatement,” said Angus, adding Wale provides exceptional, person-centred care. “Jason’s contagious energy and compassion inspires others to join him with exceeding the service expectations and needs of the hospital.”

Wale noted caring for patients is what makes his job worthwhile.

“Patients really notice when you go that extra mile, and I think, for me that’s what makes my job worthwhile, you know, and if it wasn’t for that I don’t think the job would have a whole lot of meaning,” said Wale. “We’re all focused on the technology and the procedures, which are very important but the human touch is really needed. I think that’s what this is all about here today.”

Each award recipient also received a large large gift basket from Hot Chocolates.

Over 50 hospital staff and volunteers nominated several outstanding colleagues for this year’s Sister Pat Macaulay Service Award.


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