THUNDER BAY – Health News – Lori Hygaard, a Registered Nurse (RN) with the Regional Cancer Program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), was honoured at a special awards ceremony in Toronto on April 24th as a recipient of this year’s Human Touch Award. Hosted by Cancer Care Ontario, the Human Touch Awards are an annual celebration that recognizes Regional Cancer or Renal Program healthcare professionals or volunteers who demonstrate exemplary and compassionate patient care.
Since she began working 11 years ago, Lori has made a full commitment to caring for all. “Lori is an individual who defines compassion by caring for her patients, their families, her co-workers, and all support staff,” says Donna Prenger, RN in the Cancer Program.
After hearing the news that she was named a recipient of a 2014 Human Touch Award, Lori felt very humbled saying, “I love my job. I never thought I would win an award for it. I feel so honoured and fortunate to work within our great Cancer Program with a team that allows me to do what I love to do. You do a job everyday in a challenging environment, and you do it as a team. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”
When asked why she chose to work in cancer care, Lori said, “It’s rewarding to work in cancer care and help people through their cancer journey. You become part of a patient’s family, where you can provide the compassion, support and extra attention that they need.“
“The connection that she makes when she teaches the Chemotherapy class to a new patient and their family starts when she remembers each one by name and gets to know them personally. Families and patients seek her out even when she is not caring for them that specific day. Lori is a nurse that each one of us would want as a caregiver for ourselves or our family,” added Prenger.
Beyond the treatment setting, Lori also dedicates her time to patients in other related programs. She joined the sexual health clinic for cancer patients called the ‘Bliss Clinic’, has helped to promote cancer awareness for Aboriginal people, and was involved in patient education with the new electronic medical record program called MOSAIQ.
In addition to her work with patients, Lori continues to improve her skills and advance her knowledge in compassion fatigue by working with healthcare professionals to help them care for themselves – care for the caregivers. As part of this initiative, Lori finds ways to boost her co-workers attitudes by sending them daily inspirational messages and organizing fun days for staff and patients like ‘Bling Day’ where staff wear fake fancy jewelry to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
“We are so fortunate to have such a highly-skilled, hard working and compassionate team in the Cancer Program. We are very proud to have Lori as part of our team and are honoured that her hard work and dedication to exceptional patient care have been recognized as she represents our Cancer Program at the Human Touch Awards,” says Andrea Docherty, Acting Director of the Cancer Program.
Lori is an outstanding individual who is most deserving of this award. She embodies the human aspect of cancer care and how exemplary and compassionate patient care can affect a patient’s overall treatment experience and well-being.Congratulations, Lori!