“Secondary Traumatic Stress and the Ottawa Shooting: What happens when we all go back to our regular lives?”

Today, October 22nd, marks the 1-year anniversary of the tragic shootings at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. As we honour and remember Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, we also pay tribute to the first responders, paramedics, police officers and Ottawa citizens that rushed to the scene. We recall a nation in mourning and the millions of Canadians shocked, saddened and scared by the traumatic scenes splashed across the media. How did this happen? What comes next? How will we cope?

Following the shooting last year, Francoise wrote this piece entitled “Secondary Traumatic Stress and the Ottawa Shooting: What happens when we all go back to our regular lives?” Today seems like the perfect time to reflect and to think critically about secondary traumatic stress, and particularly the STS experienced by those directly and indirectly affected by this shooting.

The article is available below in French & English.

“Secondary Traumatic Stress and the Ottawa Shooting: What happens when we all go back to our regular lives?”

“Le stress traumatique secondaire et la fusillade d’Ottawa : Qu’arrive-­t-­il après notre retour à la vie de tous les jours?

Maclean’s Magazine recently published an article on the coping strategies used by those first on the scene after Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot. Click here to read more.

Q&A Interview: Dr. Patricia Fisher & Meaghan Welfare

On November 9-10th, Dr. Patricia Fisher & Meaghan Welfare, BA, will be offering Manager’s Guide to Stress, Burnout & Trauma in the Workplace at the Lamplighter Inn in London, ON. Last week, I sat down with Dr. Fisher & Meaghan Welfare to ask them a few questions about this unique training opportunity for managers in trauma-exposed workplaces.

Q) Why did you decide to offer this course together?

Dr. Fisher: I am excited to offer this program with Meaghan both because of her extensive professional background in mediation and compassion fatigue and expertise in working with highly stressful, complex workplaces such as the Canadian Armed Forces, and also because of her enthusiasm, commitment and passion for the work.

Meaghan: Dr. Fisher is a trailblazer in the field of high stress and trauma exposed work places. I am thrilled to be working alongside her to offer this amazing course.

Q) What are typical issues you see manager’s encountering in trauma-exposed workplaces?

A: Many work setting with a high level of trauma exposure such as corrections, child protection services, law enforcement and health care, to name a few, are dealing with significant external pressures such as inadequate funding, escalated staffing challenges with higher staff turnover and recruitment and retention, insufficient resources, interagency complexity, difficulties maintaining a positive and collaborative work culture, generational issues and succession planning, etc. This environment of heightened stress leads to higher levels of negative effects on staff and that in turn impacts the capacity, culture and productivity of the organization at all levels. Given all this, managers typically face multiple competing demands for their time and attention, and are often highly stressed, isolated and pressured themselves. Often managers are forced to be in a reactive, crisis-driven mode where they have to attend to the fire burning highest and closest. The challenges they address are often complex, layered and their immediate crisis-responses can sometimes lead to unintended consequence – these in turn generate more challenges that they need to deal with later.

Q) What kind of management strategies will participants learn about in this course?

A) Participants will learn how to understand the complex stress environment that they work within and to assess for the specific areas of resilience and the focal areas of risk. We will help each participant learn how to increase staff resiliency and reduce stress consequences. We use a risk needs assessment tool to define the participants’ priority action areas and help them develop practical plans and strategies to preserve and amplify their strengths, and address their challenges.

Each participant will be able to re-evaluate the efficacy of their strategies and make necessary adjustments over time.

When we consider the Organizational Health Model – the 12 vital factors are all causally linked and this approach supports them to effectively address the areas of:

·        Leadership

·        Staff wellness

·        Succession planning

·        Trust and respect

·        Communication

·        Work-home balance

·        Training effectiveness

·        Vision

·        Rewards and recognition

·        Ability to adapt

·        Employee commitment and teamwork


All of these are central to the capacity of a group to function effectively in a healthy and productive way. With this training, participants will develop skills to help them achieve resiliency and promote these vital factors.


Thank you Dr. Fisher & Meaghan!



For more information and to register for this event, please click here.


Q&A: Diana Tikasz on WTF and Other Strategies to Keep You Grounded

On September 30th, Diana Tikasz, MSW, RSW, will be offering WTF and Other Strategies to Keep You Grounded at the Royal Botanical Garden in Burlington, ON. I caught up with Diana last week to ask her about the workshop, her inspiration and what participants could expect from this training day.

Q: What inspired you to develop this workshop?

A: This workshop was developed out of my own personal struggles in my career as well as hearing from numerous workshop participants about similar struggles.  As a trauma therapist in health care settings for the last 26 years, I have experienced numerous WTF moments.  These moments tended to go one of two ways; 1. I would be hijacked by my emotions (usually fear or anxiety) or, 2. I would completely shut down by becoming forgetful, not hearing my clients or just feeling completely numb.  When these moments turned into weeks, I noticed it was incredibly difficult to get through my work day or even engage fully with my family, friends or life in general.   I questioned whether I needed to leave a career that I loved.   It didn’t seem possible to me that I could do my work and also stay emotionally and physically well.

Before taking the drastic step of career change I decided to try to learn to work differently.  My training as a social worker taught me well the techniques to help others; it just didn’t train me on the necessity of applying these techniques to help myself.  This I had to discover on my own.

This workshop is a compilation of some theory but mainly techniques in how to weather the inevitable WTF moments and storms. It is about learning a process that will not only build our resilience, but also our personal growth and enjoyment in our careers.  I have come to view doing helping work as a privilege (mostly) rather than a chore.  Work is not a means to an end but meaningful in and of itself.  We need to enjoy the journey and not just hang in there until retirement.   This workshop is designed to give folks more time to reflect and learn tools that not only help them weather the WTF storms, but also allow them to navigate the ship to be able to enjoy the journey to its fullest.

Q: What kind of skills or strategies will participants gain from attending this workshop?

A: Participants will learn a framework that will help them to continuously self-monitor.  This framework is grounded in neuro-science and will guide us so that we maintain our own emotional well- being.  It’s a framework that guides us to work within our optimal zone and fosters our ability to bounce back quickly after a WTF moment takes us out of that zone.  In this zone we feel calm yet energized, healthy and creative in our work.

The majority of the day will be spent learning and practising various strategies in a detailed way that helps us keep perspective, stay connected and present.  These strategies include:  learning how to quickly tap into our own personal resources as well as develop new ones; utilize tools that that help us self-regulate and recover; methods for gaining and maintaining perspective; skills in being fully present, aware and connected to our compassion.   These techniques will encompass the whole self as I find we can often retreat and get stuck in our heads. An emphasis will be on learning and incorporating strategies that change the way we work as opposed to using all our personal time to replenish what our work takes out of us.

Q: Who would most benefit from this workshop?

A: Those who would benefit are any folks in a helping profession that feel they are often overly stressed or hijacked by emotion, or those who are no longer enjoying their work and wondering whether they need to make a career change.  Helpers who wish to learn specific skills that they can utilize to protect themselves in difficult situations whether it is working with those challenging clients, sitting in a difficult team meeting or interacting with a colleague who pushes your buttons. It is also for those who find that at times their personal lives are creating the WTF moments, which makes it extremely difficult to be present at work.  I often say that helping work is even more difficult when the professional is going through their own personal stresses.   Again, we will focus on providing a framework and resources to help us navigate the storm.   This workshop is especially for those who are feeling completely detached from what they are doing, feeling as though they are just “going through the motions” or counting down the days to retirement.

Thanks, Diana!!

To find out more about WTF and Other Strategies to Keep You Grounded, or to register, please visit our website here. If you have any questions or concerns, please comment below or contact us directly at info@tendacademy.ca.

Calling All Champions: The Queen of Excuses

by Alexandra Fortier, MSW, RSW.

“Calling all champions” is a monthly column by Compassion Fatigue Solutions Associate Alexandra Fortier. The intent is to get your fire started and to get your inner champion moving.  We’d love to hear from you so please weigh in!

I’ve been working in the field of Children’s Mental Health for over 15 years now and I’ve occupied various roles. I’ve been frontline, middle management, senior management and now I’m a consultant. Each role brings great benefits and different challenges. To be able to create balance in my life, I’ve found one thing that really helps me get out of my head. Unfortunately, that one thing is… exercise… ugh.

Don’t get me wrong, being active is important and I used to love it. When I was in school, I played many different sports. I loved it. I saw friends and I had fun. Then I went to University and the excuses started: “I don’t have time to workout; I have to study for exams. I don’t have time to workout; I have to go to my part time job. I don’t have time to workout; it’s cold outside.” I think I became the world’s best queen of excuses.

When my excuses only affected me, I had the leisure of listening to the queen and sit comfortably on my sofa. However, I quickly learned how essential it was to get out of my head… even if it was just for me. Why? I was starting to develop unhealthy strategies to try and cope with the difficult stories I was hearing. The thing I quickly realized with these unhealthy coping strategies was that they not only had no positive impact, I actually felt worse afterwards.

So, I asked myself, what have I done in the past that has worked for me? Unfortunately, try as I may to avoid the obvious, it was clear what it was… exercise… ugh. I always feel so good afterwards and I achieve what I’m aiming for… getting out of my head.

Unfortunately, the queen did not want to give up her castle so easily. So I needed to trick her. The excuses to not exercise are infinite, so I needed to get creative. I had to put “triggers” in place to ensure that I wouldn’t let the queen win.

Pre-kids, I would exercise with friends. They were my “triggers” or motivators to get me out of my apartment. With kids… the queen had a whole new variety of excuses to keep me from working out: “I can’t, I don’t have a babysitter. I can’t, I’m too tired. I can’t, it’s too late/too early.”

I had to think outside the box. What I ended up finding were workouts you do online. This took out the “I can’t go out” excuse out of the queen’s repertoire. They are only 10-20 minutes each, 3 times a week, so it took out the “it takes too much time” excuse. But this still didn’t motivate me enough to start exercising, even if I knew intellectually what the benefits were. So I had to create a situation that would leave me no choice but to exercise.

So here is my personal trigger: I love having an evening bath. To get to my bath, I go through my bedroom. My trigger is, I work out in my room before my bath. So simple!

My challenge to you is to think about what makes you feel better and do more of this (daily, weekly or monthly). To help you succeed, think of how you can trick the queen (or king) of excuses by creating a trigger where you don’t have a choice but to do this activity.

Don’t forget, have fun in the process!!

Le Futur Parfait – Suite

Par Alexandra Fortier, MSS, RSW

« Appel aux champions » est une série de blogues avec  le but de stimuler la conversation, de dépoussiérer vos projets et de donner vie à vos idées. Bref, l’intention est d’attiser votre enthousiasme et d’activer votre champion intérieur. 

girl making a collage copy

Cliquez ici pour lire la première partie

Il y a quelques mois, je parlais au téléphone avec ma sœur et elle me faisait part de plusieurs défis qu’elle vivait, et ce, à de multiples niveaux. Je lui ai demandé si elle en avait assez de toutes ces embuches. Elle m’a presque hurlé OUI! Je lui ai donc lancé un défi : es-tu ouverte à participer dans ton Futur Parfait? Piquée de curiosité, elle a accepté.

Je lui ai demandé de visualiser à quoi ressemblerait son futur parfait. Elle n’a pas été en mesure de me répondre sur le vif, alors je lui ai donné un devoir à faire. Ma sœur est une personne très créative, alors, je lui ai proposé de faire un collage démontrant à quoi ressemblerait son futur idéal si par magie elle se réveillait demain matin et qu’elle se retrouvait dans cette vie parfaite (il y a des gens qui appellent ce collage un tableau de visualisation).

Le lendemain, j’ai fait un suivi avec elle et elle avait vraiment hâte de savoir où nous allions avec cette activité. Je lui ai demandé d’évaluer quel était son état d’esprit envers son défi (je ne lui ai pas demandé de me spécifier quel était le défi qu’elle évaluait). Elle m’a répondu : près de 4. Je lui ai ensuite demandé de quelle manière je saurais si elle était maintenant, magiquement, dans son futur parfait. Elle m’a répondu: « Simplement en me regardant: Je serais en train de sourire; je me tiendrais droite et j’aurais la tête haute; certaines personnes ne me dérangeraient plus, même si elles essayaient, car je serais là où je souhaite être ». « Excellent! Es-tu ouverte à faire semblant que tu te trouves dans ton Futur Parfait maintenant? Tu n’as qu’à agir exactement de la même manière que tu viens de me décrire, même si rien n’a changé ». Elle a accepté mon défi, mais je crois sincèrement qu’elle l’a fait simplement pour me faire plaisir (ou plutôt, pour me prouver que cela ne changerait rien).

Lorsque nous nous sommes parlé à la fin de la journée, elle était tout à fait emballée. Elle a reconnu non seulement qu’elle se sentait mieux, mais que les gens agissaient différemment avec elle. Son test ultime est venu lorsqu’une personne a voulu la provoquer délibérément. Elle se sentait tellement bien, que les provocations de cette personne ne l’ont nullement affectée. À la fin de cette journée, elle se sentait comme un 9.

Le truc en fait est de se créer une nouvelle habitude. En faisant son collage, ma sœur est en train de faire cela. Dorénavant, elle peut se référer à son collage : « Futur Parfait » comme un gentil rappel pour ces journées qui où c’est un peu plus difficile à mettre cette stratégie  en œuvre. Vous pouvez même prendre une photo de votre collage avec votre téléphone et le regarder discrètement de temps à autre pendant la journée.

Voici donc mon défi pour vous cette semaine: choisissez de faire un changement à 1 % (veuillez vous référer à la 1re partie de ce blogue) ou adoptez une attitude Futur Parfait (ou faites les 2 si vous vous sentez un peu compétitif) et appliquez-le à une situation de votre choix.

Gardez l’esprit ouvert et essayez! Vous serez peut-être agréablement surpris!

Appel aux Champions! Mettez votre zone de confort au défi

Par Alexandra Fortier, MSS, RSW

« Appel aux champions » est une série de blogues avec  le but de stimuler la conversation, de dépoussiérer vos projets et de donner vie à vos idées. Bref, l’intention est d’attiser votre enthousiasme et d’activer votre champion intérieur. 


À tous les ans, j’avais l’habitude de faire une résolution du Nouvel An. A chaque fois j’essayais d’être créative et de me jouer un tour pour que je puisse enfin tenir ma résolution. Je suis devenue membre d’un centre sportif, car je croyais que si je payais un gros montant d’argent, je m’y rendrais… Non. Je suis alors devenue membre d’un studio de yoga. Je me suis dit qu’étant donné que ça allait me faire du bien, j’allais réussir à rester plus longtemps que tous les autres nouveaux membres du Nouvel An… Non. J’ai ensuite voulu me mettre à peindre. J’ai acheté tout le matériel nécessaire… eh bien, je pense que vous avez deviné ce qui s’est produit par la suite.

C’est pourquoi, assez tôt, j’ai pensé : « À quoi ça sert! Pourquoi est-ce que je m’entête à prendre de nouvelles résolutions année après année? Je ne les garde jamais. Plutôt, je me sens coupable de ne jamais faire l’activité en question… » Allumée par une phrase qu’une de mes bonnes amies m’a dit : « La pire personne à qui tu peux mentir, c’est à toi-même ». J’ai donc décidé d’arrêter de prendre des résolutions à partir de ce moment. Je me sentais pleine de confiance. J’étais fière de répondre aux gens (lorsqu’on me le demandait) que je n’avais pas de résolution. Je brisais le moule!

Maintenant, avançons plusieurs années dans le temps. C’est alors que j’ai eu un moment « euréka». Lorsque j’ai participé aux formations Walking the Walk et Train the Trainer avec Françoise Mathieu, elle m’a demandé si je voulais me joindre à son équipe d’associées, afin d’offrir des ateliers. J’étais très flattée, mais totalement terrifiée. Je n’ai donc pas fait de suivi immédiatement après. Quelque temps plus tard, j’ai appris qu’une de mes collègues que j’estime énormément, était maintenant associée avec Françoise… J’ai été très surprise de constater qu’un sentiment de jalousie me traversait (car ce n’est pas une émotion que j’ai souvent). J’ai donc pris quelques instants pour me demander pourquoi je me sentais ainsi tout d’un coup. La vérité m’a frappée comme un coup de poing au ventre! Je voulais être associée, mais ce qui m’en empêchait était ma peur. C’est alors que j’ai décidé que je n’allais pas laisser le sentiment de peur gérer ma vie. J’ai donc appelé Françoise pour demander si elle souhaitait toujours que je fasse partie de son équipe… heureusement, elle a dit oui.

Avançons encore quelques années. J’ai eu à nouveau une nouvelle peur qui me frappait. Cette fois, Françoise m’a demandé si je voulais enregistrer des dvds en français pour la compagnie… J’ai accepté, mais j’étais immensément inconfortable à l’idée de faire des vidéos. C’est là que c’est arrivé! J’ai eu mon véritable moment « Ah ha ». J’ai enfin réalisé que je paralyse lorsque je suis face à des choses qui sortent de ma zone de confort, mais que si j’essaie ces mêmes « choses », je suis habituellement abasourdie par les résultats et de la manière incroyable dont je me sens par la suite. Alors… je ne prends plus de résolution du Nouvel An, parce qu’ils ne font aucun sens pour moi. Cependant, avec ma réalisation : « Si ça me fait peur et que cela sort de ma zone de confort, je dois le faire », j’ai maintenant une devise pour ma vie. Le défi que je vous propose donc : Si la peur vous empêche de faire quelque chose, prenez une grande respiration, puis essayez. Vous allez être surpris de constater tout ce que vous pouvez accomplir lorsque vous n’êtes pas en train de mettre les freins!

Calling all Champions! The Comfort Zone Challenge

by Alexandra Fortier, MSS, RSW

“Calling all champions” is a new column this Fall, whose aim is to stimulate conversations, get “shelved” projects started and to make your ideas happen. Basically, the intent is to get your fire started and to get your inner champion moving!  


Every year, I used to make a New Year’s resolution. Each time I tried to be creative and trick myself into actually keeping my resolution for the year. I enrolled in a gym membership, because I thought that if I paid enough money, I would go… Wrong. Then I enrolled in a Yoga membership. I figured that, since it was good for me, I would stick it out longer that all of the other New Year resolution newbies… Wrong. I wanted to start painting and bought the necessary material… well I think you get my pattern by now.

So early on, I thought to myself: “Who am I kidding! Why am I making a New Year’s resolution? I never keep them, and I keep making myself feel guilty that I’m not doing the said activity…” Fuelled by a sentence that a very good friend of mine told me: “The worst person you can lie to, is yourself”, I decided to quit resolution-making cold turkey.

I felt empowered. I was proud to answer, when asked, that I didn’t have a resolution. I was breaking the mold!

Now, fast-forwarding many years later. That’s when I had an “Ah ha” moment. After taking the Walking the Walk and Train the Trainer workshops with Françoise Mathieu, she asked if I wanted to join her team of Associates, to offer workshops. I was flattered but terrified. So I didn’t follow-up immediately.

Some time afterwards, I had learned that one of my esteemed colleagues was now an Associate with Françoise… I was very surprised when my green-eyed monster appeared – aka jealousy (he makes very rare appearances). I took a few moments to ask myself why I felt this way all of a sudden. And the truth hit me like an upper cut and a jab! I wanted to be an Associate, but what was holding me back was the fact that I was scared. I decided that I wouldn’t let fear get in the way of my life. So I called Françoise and asked if she was still interested in having me as an Associate… thankfully, she was.

Fast forward again a few years and I had another fear hit me in the gut. This time, Françoise asked me if I wanted to film some French dvds for the company… I agreed, but I felt really anxious about it. Then it happened! My true “Ah ha” moment. I realized that I freeze when I am confronted with things that are out of my comfort zone. However, if I try the “thing” in question, I’m usually astounded by the results and most importantly, how amazing I feel afterwards.

So… I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, because they make no sense for me. However, armed with my realization: “If it’s scary and out of my comfort zone, I have to do it.” I now have a life motto.

My challenge to you: If fear is holding you back, take a deep breath and try. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you’re not stopping yourself!


Appel aux champions – Annulez!

Par Alexandra Fortier, MSS, RSW

« Appel aux champions » est une nouvelle série de blogues cet automne avec  le but de stimuler la conversation, de dépoussiérer vos projets et de donner vie à vos idées. Bref, l’intention est d’attiser votre enthousiasme et d’activer votre champion intérieur. Cette série présentera de nouveaux thèmes tous les mois. J’espère que cela va vous motiver et va faire ressortir votre petit côté compétitif afin de vous aider à faire bouger les choses.


Mes enfants et moi avons une drôle de routine où ils me demandent : « Qui est la meilleure mère sur la terre? »… Ils espèrent toujours que je vais leur répondre : « Moi ». Mais je ne peux pas… non pas parce que je crois le contraire, mais c’est parce que je crois sincèrement que ma mère est la meilleure mère sur la terre. Laissez-moi vous expliquer pourquoi.

Parmi les nombreuses qualités de ma mère (elle lâche prise sur les petits détails de la vie; elle aime inconditionnellement; elle est la personne la plus flexible qui soit… et ce n’est que quelques-unes de ses qualités), elle m’a enseigné la plus importante compétence de vie que j’aie jusqu’à présent, et ce ne fut pas fait intentionnellement!

Lorsque j’avais environ 14 ans, je me dépréciais énormément. Je disais constamment des choses comme : « Je sais, je n’ai pas rapport ». Jusqu’au jour où ma mère m’a dit, très calmement, d’arrêter de me qualifier de la sorte, et surtout elle m’a dit d’annuler! Au début, je ne comprenais pas ce qu’elle voulait dire au juste , mais chaque fois que je disais quelque chose de négatif à mon sujet, elle me disait : « dit: ANNULE ». Pour lui faire plaisir, je disais : « J’annule » à voix haute (tout en roulant les yeux, un peu, quand même). Sa réflexion était très simple – si tu te répètes des choses négatives à ton égard assez de fois, après un certain temps, tu finis par le croire. Ce qui est surprenant c’est qu’après un certain temps, je n’avais plus besoin de ma mère pour me souvenir de dire « annule ». J’étais maintenant en mesure de me surprendre en train de dire des choses négatives à mon sujet et par automatisme, j’annulais. À un point tel où j’annulais même des pensées négatives… je me disais mentalement : « J’annule ».

C’est bien simple – l’intuition de ma mère était juste. Si vous enregistrez une certaine manière d’être, cela va devenir la perception que vous avez de vous même et vous allez commencer à agir en conséquence. Vous allez ainsi devenir la personne qui va vous limiter le plus dans l’accomplissement de vos rêves.

Prenez quelques instants et visualisez ceci: Dans votre cerveau se trouve un radiocassette (je sais, c’est très rétro) et il est extrêmement sensible aux commentaires négatifs (que cela vienne de vous ou des autres). Lorsque la cassette est pleine, votre cerveau va la refaire jouer encore et encore. C’est ainsi que vous devenez la personne nº 1 qui vous parle négativement (ce, même si le message initialement vient de quelqu’un d’autre). Ce qui est extraordinaire avec une technologie archaïque c’est que vous pouvez peser sur stop et vous pouvez y enregistrer un nouveau message.

Alors, mon défi pour vous ce mois-ci est d’écouter ce que votre cassette vous dit.

Est-ce que le message est positif? Excellent! Partagez ce positivisme! Est-ce que le message est négatif? Excellent! Vous avez déjà accompli la première étape, soit de reconnaître quoi, quand et combien de fois vous avez des commentaires négatifs à votre égard. Maintenant est le temps d’appuyer sur le bouton stop. Comment? Dites: « J’annule ». Lorsque ceci deviendra un automatisme, considérez dans quelle situation vous êtes et essayez de remplacer votre pensée négative avec une pensée réaliste. Par exemple, vous avez trop fait cuire le souper et vous vous dites automatiquement quelque chose de négatif à votre sujet – ANNULE – maintenant, ré-enregistrez quelque chose de réaliste comme : WOW, j’étais dans la lune ce soir. En faisant ceci, vous vous enregistrez une nouvelle cassette!

Ce qui est extraordinaire avec « annule » c’est que c’est une compétence qui va vous durer pour la vie. C’est d’ailleurs surprenant de voir comment on s’en sert à tous les jours (eh oui, je m’en sers encore, et j’ai maintenant partagé cette stratégie avec mes enfants).

Alors, tous ensemble, on annule?



Compassion Fatigue in Healthcare: Insight from the Frontlines

Every day this week, we are sharing with you some highlights of the upcoming Compassion Fatigue Care4You Conference June 3-4th, 2014

Compassion Fatigue in Health Care: Insight from the Frontlines


Working in health care has become more complex in the past decade: a rapidly ageing population, decrease in resources, increased workload from a perfect recipe for overload, burnout and compassion fatigue. In this plenary presentation, 3 nurses join forces to share their combined 50+ years of experience in caring for patients and discuss what they have learned about the importance of caring for each other.

Riding the emotional rollercoaster with patients

Jennifer Juneau, RN, Life Coach

Courage Coach

Jennifer Juneau has been a Registered Nurse for 18 years with combined experience in the Operating Room, fertility and women’s health. She recently became a Solution Focused Life Coach and specializes in fertility coaching and health and wellness coaching.

Education for next-generation frontline staff

Karen Mayer, RN, BEd, MAEd

Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District School Board

Karen Mayer is a Registered Nurse with 30 years of healthcare experience in both hospital (Chronic Care, Maternity and ER) and was co-owner of a private, thriving home care business for seven years. She returned to school twelve years ago to obtain BEd and MAEd and has been teaching Personal Support Workers (PSWs) at Loyola School of Adult and Continuing Education for the past ten years. As a twelve year member of the Ontario Association of Adult and Continuing Education School Board Administrators (CESBA), she has been Chair of the PSW committee for the past three years. Having experienced Compassion Fatigue, Karen developed a bucket list. Multi-tasker that she is, she knocked off two items from her bucket list, working in a mission and working with Patch Adams by completing a mission trip to Guatemala with Patch Adams.

Improving Morale by Supporting Each Other

Romney Pierog, RN

Kingston General Hospital

Romney Pierog has been a frontline Registered Nurse for 15 years with over 11 years in critical care experience. She currently works at Kingston General Hospital. She also has a degree in English literature and psychology from Carleton University.

Romney is currently working on a project where she has been interviewing frontline staff, management and patients on morale and satisfaction. She is looking at improving morale by improving communication and by recognizing the obstacles posed by stress, compassion fatigue and burnout.

 Click here for more info about the conference

A call to action: Help the Children of Syria to prevent a lost generation

Can we help prevent a new cycle of violence in Syria and the Middle East?

I don’t know if you had a chance to read Mark MacKinnon‘s very disturbing account of the current fate of Syria’s displaced children in Saturday’s Globe and Mail (“Why Young Syrian Refugees Will Haunt the Middle East for Decades to Come” Sept 14, 2013), and if you are affected by traumatic details, you may not want to as it is quite graphic. One of the refugee camps, the Zaatari camp in Jordan, is currently housing over 130 000 displaced Syrians in one sun-scorched site. That’s more people than the entire city of Kingston, where I live. Over 50% of those refugees are under 18, and they are struggling with post traumatic stress, and meagre resources. Many of them are acting aggressively towards each other and adults, and have few resources to cope with the unspeakable violence they have seen and experienced in their short lives.

McKinnon write that donations to Syrian refugees have been slow:

Despite the best efforts of a badly underfunded Unicef, only a third of the 180,000 school-age Syrians living in Jordan (the total refugee population is 600,000) were in classes this week as the new semester began. Similar statistics apply to the broader population of Syrian refugees throughout the Middle East.

Unicef relies heavily on the private sector, which covers about 40 per cent of the cost of schools and sanitation centres it runs in crisis areas. But with Syria’s refugees, private donors appear reluctant, thus far making a mere 6 per cent of contributions to Unicef’s region-wide appeal. So just over half of the $470-million being sought for Syrian refugee children this year has been raised. Aid workers suspect donors view Syria, unfairly, as a political problem, rather than a humanitarian one.

As a result, UNICEF classrooms have only 14,000 spots for Zaatari’s 30,000 school-age kids. (Another 30,000-plus kids are under 6, with 10 newborns arriving every day in the camp’s hard-pressed hospitals.) And the learning environment is far from ideal. School No. 2 is a collection of 70 portable classes surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. There’s no electricity, so no fans or air-conditioning in the blazing desert sun, and water reaches the toilets and sinks only sporadically.

Please consider donating to Unicef for this important cause.