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The Quality of Care

The staff of Windsor Regional Hospital are recognized for their commitment to the community
Author: Matthew St. Amand
Photographer: Photos provided from WRH
1 week ago
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Windsor Regional Hospital President & CEO, David Musyj, carries a small, engraved square of steel in his pocket at all times. Its inscription is a quote from Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” The most comforting part of this quote for David is knowing that he does not go alone. 

When the Believe Windsor-Essex Award, sponsored by WFCU, nominated David earlier this year, they asked him if he would accept the nomination. The award committee was probably taken aback by his reply.

“No,” David told them.

“It’s not my award,” he explains. “The award has to go to the people who earned it—the hospital’s more than five thousand employees, professional staff and volunteers, each of whom makes a deep and profound difference in the lives of each of our patients.” 

The nomination committee had no trouble making that amendment.

Known as “The Premier Business Event of the Year,” the 2024 Business Excellence Awards (BEAs) will be held in person on May 15. 

“The beauty of the award is it’s clearly Windsor-Essex’s appreciation for our health care workers,” David continues, “and that is very meaningful to our front-line staff. Health care has its historical stresses, and then adding on what has happened with the pandemic and criminal cyber attack. Everyone has gone to hell and back to keep the place running.”

That is when David took the engraved square of steel out of his pocket and placed it on the table.

“I carry that all the time,” he says. “And I held it in my hand more than a few times during the pandemic.” 

The BEA committee stated, in part: 

“Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) has been a pivotal healthcare institution for the region, offering world-class medical services and fostering innovation in healthcare. As one of the largest community hospitals in Ontario, WRH stands out with its commitment to patient-centric care and its focus on embracing the latest medical technologies. WRH employs over 4000 front line staff and some 650 professional staff. The heart of WRH is the more then 500 volunteers that help support the patients and community.”  

Karen Riddell, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Nursing Executive, Vice President Critical Care & Cardiology at WRH, adds: “The recognition to the staff for their efforts means a lot to them, particularly the last few years—through the pandemic, our vaccination center, the COVID-19 field hospital, going out to farms helping with temporary workers, going into long term care facilities. Our professional staff were amazing and went above and beyond and the community appreciated that. This is a core group of committed professionals.” 

David and Karen deserve their share of recognition because they did what all good leaders do: they were out in the field with their professional staff.

“You can’t lead from an office,” Karen says.

They each have a realistic view of their place in the life of WRH.

“When we retire, we’ve got a great team that are ready to take over,” Karen says. “We were all out there on the frontlines. I was out on the farms. David was at the drive-thru swabbing. The staff knew we were there to support them. We’re not just in an office. We’re willing to help. The staff appreciate that. They will carry that torch.”

“I’m surrounded by great people,” David says. “I have to sleep at night and this place is still running. It won’t miss a beat when I retire.” 

Among the programs the professional staff have really made their own is the Nurse Police Program, where nurses accompanied by police constables go into the community from eleven a.m. until eleven p.m., addressing health care issues among people who live on the margins of society, who have difficulty accessing health care, or who feel intimidated going into the hospital Emergency Room (ER).

“The nurses, however, came forward, saying they wanted to begin the day at one in the afternoon and work until one in the morning,” David explains. “They felt they were starting too early and that there was still a demand when they were done at eleven p.m. That epitomizes our front-line staff. That wasn’t me dictating. It was their focus on the patient and how we can do better for them.”

This program was expanded to include children. From three p.m. to eleven p.m., seven days a week, hospital personnel are in the community delivering health care to children who have difficulty accessing urgent care centers or do not have a family doctor. Much of this is administered through WRH ER. Emergency Department (ED) members assess kids coming in and divert them to the care they require.

“We’ve seen hundreds of children in a short period of time and have them out of here in about ninety minutes,” David says. “We tested this out on a smaller scale with the PUMA clinic—Paediatric Urgent Medical Assessment—inside the Met Campus building, pulling kids with respiratory problems out of ER. This led to a sustainable model: kids enter the ER and receive a quick ED assessment. Some kids need ER help, but those who do not are extracted—those with earaches, for instance, fever, parents who are concerned and have nowhere else to go. It’s in front of us so we asked ourselves: ‘How can we help fix it?’ Should we be doing this? No, but we’re the only game in town that has staff working those hours. OK, let’s fix the need, and then work on the bigger system issues. Right now, let’s do what we can do to help.”

“We’ve got many good things going on in the community,” Karen says. “The teams in this hospital situate us well as we get the new hospital. And although David and I are going to the awards ceremony, the Believe award shows the community’s gratitude to our staff for all their work. We are so proud of our staff and the work they do, the excellent care they provide.”

To learn more about the great work happening at Windsor Regional Hospital, check them out online at www.wrh.on.ca

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