Our Stories

Unique donation will impact patient care for generations to come

Toronto, November 5, 2018

By Amber Daugherty

Rebecca Blaguski
Rebecca Blaguski was one of the first recipients of the Syron Graduate Nursing Fellowship, which supports nurses pursuing graduate education in nursing or a health-care related field of study.

Nurses at St. Michael’s Hospital have new opportunities to further their education thanks to support from two of the hospital’s dedicated champions. Bernie and Mildred Syron have been coming to St. Michael’s for decades. As both patients and volunteers, they said what’s always stood out to them is the dedication and passion of the nurses.

“Anyone who receives care at St. Michael’s knows that nurses go above and beyond,” Bernie said. “They’re always ready to help. It doesn’t matter who you are. They do wonderful work, and while I’m sure you can say that about a lot of hospitals, I really believe St. Michael’s is special.”

To give back, they’ve created the Bernie and Mildred Syron Nursing Excellence Program – the first of its kind at St. Michael’s. The program includes five awards that are available to St. Michael’s nurses to support them in their education, ranging from in-house learning sessions to courses and conferences to a job shadow program at the hospital. More than 160 nurses will be part of the program each year.

“When we support our nurses, everyone in our community benefits,” said Murray Krock, Director, Nursing Practice and Education. “We have highly motivated, talented nurses at St. Michael’s and we’re thrilled to be able to offer them the opportunity to learn and grow professionally.”

Rebecca Blaguski was one of the first recipients of the Syron Graduate Nursing Fellowship, which supports nurses pursuing graduate education in nursing or a health-care related field of study.

“With the money I received, I was able to not work for two months which was a huge deal for me because it would have been hard to work at the same time as my full-time clinical placement,” she said. “It meant that I could focus on school Monday to Friday and then come home and study instead of working a night shift which made a huge difference to my mental well-being.”

Her studying paid off: Rebecca is now a nurse practitioner.

“I want to say thank you so much – allowing nurses to develop and raise the caliber of knowledge within the hospital is amazing,” she said. “As I grow in my profession, I want to pay it forward and enable other nurses to pursue graduate studies so we can get more nurses on the front lines of making changes in quality improvement and research.”

This donation is unique to the hospital in its focus on empowering nurses to advance their skills to have a direct impact on the best patient care and experience.

“This gift from the Syrons is invaluable,” said Lili Litwin, St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation President. “We’re so grateful for their support and their commitment to our people. This gift will impact care not only today but also for decades to come.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 29 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

St. Michael’s Hospital with Providence Healthcare and St. Joseph’s Health Centre now operate under one corporate entity as of August 1, 2017. United, the three organizations serve patients, residents and clients across the full spectrum of care, spanning primary care, secondary community care, tertiary and quaternary care services to post-acute through rehabilitation, palliative care and long-term care, while investing in world-class research and education.

See More of Our Stories in 2018