Nominees and recipients
Here they are!
The recipients of the Awards of Nursing Excellence.
Point of Care
Heather Hunter, BScN, RN
Unit Manager, Rotary Flames House
Alberta Children's Hospital
As the Unit Manager, Heather is responsible for ensuring the seamless execution of patient care for the pediatric palliative population within and beyond the walls of the Rotary Flames House. Though not a written-in part of her role, Heather actively engages with families to better support them.
It is very difficult to capture the work Heather does daily for the children and families of the palliative care program, except to say that Heather never quits. From her time as a young oncology nurse, educator, and now manager, Heather persists to meet the needs of everyone around her. Her role within the Children's Hospice and Palliative Care Service is impossible to define, but it must be applauded.
In addition to being an incredibly skillful and compassionate manager, Heather brings a level of tenacity to her patient-nurse relationships that all nurses should strive for. Heather forges a special bond with each family welcomed into the program.
Heather always errs on the side of compassion and trauma-informed care. She acknowledges the heaviness that follows a pediatric death and often sends beautiful emails to the staff that commemorate the impact of these families and the care provided to them.
Heather is a manager, bedside and charge nurse, therapist, team player and friend to all - staff and patients alike. Her heart, humour, discipline, and sharp mind bring out the best of the team at the Rotary Flames House.
Dr. Sandra Davidson, PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN
Dean & Professor, Faculty of Nursing
University of Calgary
Dr. Sandra Davidson is an early adopter and often at the forefront of incorporating new ideas, pedagogical approaches, curriculum content, and technology in the nursing profession. She is currently responsible for the strategic direction and overall functioning of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. An educator and leader, she has helped to prepare the next generation of nurses to become the change-agents and innovators that healthcare needs by developing and implementing educational programs.
Recently, Sandra helped direct the implementation of the first-in-Canada Stackable Certificates Master of Nursing Program at the University of Calgary. She co-developed two certificate specializations and teaches several courses: Cultivating Personal Leadership and Healthcare Information and Big Data.
Seeing a need to change how we educate nursing students to work with older adults, she collaborated as co-PI on a nationally-funded research project exploring the social learning of nursing students related to older adults.
Sandra is also among only a handful of scholars worldwide who have expertise in Complex Responsive Process-informed research, utilizing this approach to examine power dynamics and complexity in healthcare and educational organizations.
Sandra’s unique preparation as a nursing scholar, combined with diverse leadership and clinical experiences, has given her a distinct awareness of the evolution required in the nursing profession.
Alexandra Ansell, BScN, RN, ENC(C), MN-NP Student
Staff Nurse, Emergency Department
Royal Alexandra Hospital
Despite still being a relatively new nurse herself, of approximately five years, Alexandra Ansell displays a maturity and the experience of a nurse beyond her years.
Emergency nursing is challenging, and Alexandra works in one of the busiest tertiary emergency departments in Canada. This includes helping patients through all stages of their visit whether it be triaging, treatment, or in the trauma rooms.
Alexandra’s passion for a patient-centred approach and giving her patients a voice, is at the forefront of her care. She prioritizes patient education and takes steps to ensure they understand their condition, treatment and discharge. She looks beyond patients’ symptoms at the whole picture and believes she can change lives by simply being kind.
Since graduating, Alexandra has maintained active certification in numerous emergency-related courses and this stems from her commitment to lifelong learning. In 2018 she was also one of the first and youngest registered nurses in her department to become trained to utilize ultrasound guided IV insertion.
Furthermore, Alexandra has started her Masters of Nursing as she embarks on her journey to become a nurse practitioner. She currently works as a teaching assistant and research assistant during her full-time studies. A young leader, true catalyst and positive influence, she is somebody to watch in the coming years.
Barb Shellian, RN, BN, MN
Director, Rural Health, Calgary Zone
Alberta Health Services
Barb Shellian exemplifies the power of experience, collaboration and passion. Throughout her 45+ year career, Barb has championed the health of Canadians and helped advance the nursing profession, especially in rural/remote communities.
In her main role, she is responsible for acute care, emergency, surgery, obstetrics, long-term care, supportive living and urgent care for the communities of Canmore, Cochrane, Nanton and Claresholm. She acts as a resource and communication ‘hub’ for communities in addressing local needs and community-based health service gaps across the continuum of services.
Barb has often said that there is no such thing as “just a nurse” and that nursing is a “team sport,” where the value comes from collaborating with and learning from others. This is evident in her efforts to build and maintain effective coalitions with Health Advisory Councils, Primary Care Networks, local First Nation communities, health foundations and trusts, municipal governments and not-for-profit organizations.
Barb’s expertise has been sought on local, national and international committees, government task forces, advisory boards, as well as research projects and health initiatives. She has served as President of the Canadian Nurses Association, and the Rural and Remote Network of the International Council of Nurses. Currently, she belongs to the Rural Australian Nurses and Midwives group and the Advisory Board of
For Barb, the essence of nursing has been the opportunity to make a difference and to contribute to the health of individuals, families and communities in a variety of settings, in the context of caring. Her relational style, her profound respect for the perspectives of others, her uncanny ability to find common ground on which to build consensus, and of course her sense of humour, makes her a nursing leader that leaves a lasting impression.
Nancy Clark, RN, BA, MN, NP, CCN(c)
PhD Student Post-Candidacy
University of Calgary
Nancy Clark is a trailblazer in medical cardiology. She not only implemented a nurse practitioner (NP) role at the Rockyview General Hospital (RGH), she also extended it to improve care in the Coronary Care Unit, making it the first NP-led CCU in Alberta.
Nancy had a vision for NP practice within the cardiac sciences. Committed to the value of NP practice and the significant contribution to cardiology in the CCU, she developed a niche within an established health care team by teaching and role-modeling what team members could expect from an NP.
She thus submitted a proposal to become the clinical lead for the Rockyview General Hospital’s (RGH) CCU. The CCU had historically been physician led between staff cardiologists and family medicine physicians. The proposal was accepted, and in the 10 years that followed, Nancy developed strong working relationships with members of the healthcare team. This also led to enhancing communication practices between hospital departments and identified clinical areas by which the NP role could successfully support continuity of care in the acute care environment.
In 2017, Nancy again approached many stakeholders to discuss the evolution of NP practice to support the CCU with 24 hr coverage 7 days a week. Through her passion and tenacity, the funding was approved in February 2019 and Nancy began work on designing this innovative model. From the job description, orientation, clinical evaluations, performance reviews, as well as the schedule supporting clinical and non-clinical time, Nancy’s vision of the first NP-led CCU in Alberta became a reality.
Kristin Simard, RN, BScN
Monika Johnson, RN, BScN, PNC(C)
eSim Provincial Simulation Program
For the last four years, Kristin Simard and Monika Johnson have worked with healthcare providers in rural and remote Alberta. They work in a uniquely challenging environment due to a high burden of disease, high rates of staff turnover and geographic vastness. They have overcome all of these challenges through years of dedication and expertise across multiple nursing specialties.
Through their perseverance and advocacy work, they helped to secure $25,000 of grant funding to develop COVID-19 preparedness training, specific to the challenging rural and remote context.
The tremendous success of their innovative Virtually-Facilitated Simulation program for COVID-19 preparedness in rural and remote Canada, is a testament to their dedication over the last four years to building rapport and establishing relationships with the network of rural nurses, physicians, allied health providers, and nursing educators in Alberta.
Going forward, this program is being incorporated into the faculty development plan for the eSIM Provincial Simulation Program, with the aim is to train a multidisciplinary cohort of simulationists and facilitators.
The impact of their collaborative work is also being felt beyond the borders of Alberta, has garnered interest from organizations such as the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Association of Rural and Remote Nurses.
Nominees of the CARNA Awards of Nursing Excellence
By last name A-E
Emergency Department, Royal Alexandra Hospital
Alberta Family Integrated Care Group
14 NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units) across Alberta, Alberta Health Services/Covenant Health
Alberta Health Services, Communicable Disease Control, Provincial Population and Public Health
Patient Care Unit 32 (Acute Medicine), Foothills Medical Centre
Cardiac Sciences (CCU), Rockyview General Hospital
Calgary Chronic Pain Centre, Calgary Zone, Alberta Health Services
Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Royal Alexandra Hospital
University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing
Wolf Creek Primary Care Network
By last name F-M
Clinical Transition Education, Health Professions Strategy and Practice, Alberta Health Services
Children Youth and Family Addiction and Mental Health Clinic, Rutherford Health Centre
Pediatric Hospice and Ambulatory Grief Program, Rotary Flames House, Alberta Children's Hospital
Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta
Monika Johnson and Kristin Simard
eSIM Provincial Simulation Program, Rural Mobile Program, Alberta Health Services
LACE Nurses, Primary Care Network, Calgary Foothills
Health Home Community Team and Health Home Team, Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network
Sat Pal Mahey
Urban Palliative Home Care team, Alberta Health Services
Westside Harm Reduction
By last name N-Z
E. Garner King Intensive Care Unit, University of Alberta Hospital
Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Foothills Medical Centre
Linda Read Paul
Palliative Care Consult Service, Rural Calgary Zone, Alberta Health Services
Kristin Simard and Monika Johnson
eSIM Provincial Simulation Program, Rural Mobile Program, Alberta Health Services
Department of Rural Health Services, Calgary Zone, Alberta Health Services
Adult Inpatient Psychiatry, Peter Lougheed Centre
Red Deer Homecare, Community care, Alberta Health Services
Adult Spasticity Program, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital
Nephrology and Transplant Unit, Foothills Medical Centre
Seniors Health Specialty Programs, North Zone, Alberta Health Services