Know Your Heroes: Dorina Baston

Know Your Heroes showcases the many different people and roles that make up #TeamUHN. We celebrate these people, who strive to make the world a healthier place every day.

Name: Dorina Baston
Title: Nurse Manager at Peter Munk Cardiac Centre
Number of years working in health care: 28
I was born and raised in: Romania and immigrated to Canada in 2000

I decided to get into health care because I wanted to help vulnerable people in a meaningful way. I noticed that I was a natural caregiver and I thrived on connecting with people. I come from a large family and I was one of the eldest siblings, which provided me with a lot of “practice opportunities” since I was very young. Caring for others came naturally when I joined the profession.

My role here at UHN as a Nurse Manager is to work with those in need. In this category I include patients, family members, and the interprofessional team. Because the main goal is to provide the best possible care and ensure the best possible patient experience, it is important that we are also best as a team. To be the best, we capitalize on each other’s expertise, talents, ability to teach and to learn, ability to offer and ability to receive feedback. We also take care of each other.

COVID-19 has taught me that during adversity or during unpredictable times, people rely on solid work relationships to get things done. I have also learned that maintaining these relationships, forming new ones and being grateful for each successful day at the time adds to the resiliency bank that we continuously withdraw from. It is imperative that we make “deposits” constantly and regularly so that, in times of increased uncertainty or adversity or intensity- there is plenty to “withdraw” from and we are not depleted, or burnt out.

The thing I love the most about my job is that I get to see the team at work every day – not only delivering care but also growing, developing and succeeding.  

The most incredible thing I’ve seen at work is the teamwork at play when, at times in the morning, the end of the day looks impossible. We are either short-staffed or have too few beds available to meet the demand and despite barriers, we’ve managed to overcome! Those are the days when I leave work proud and feeling like I’m working with super-humans and I want to return the next day for more.

I’m inspired by my team’s ability to overcome obstacles no matter what. I’m inspired by some individual approaches to the mountains of demand: with calm, optimism, gratitude for what is/was accomplished. 

Two of my personal heroes are Norman Gordon, a Patient Care Assistant I work with, and Sue DeVries, a Nurse Practitioner I work with. Seeing Norman at work every day with a renewed level of energy and without fail conveys the image of someone on a mission, someone with a vision.

He is often recognized by the nursing team and by the entire interprofessional team, not to mention through letters from patients and families describing how grateful they are for his ability to make their hospital stay better, bearable and dignified.

Sue has been my longtime inspiration. Her work as a nurse is never limited to her working hours or working days. Sue has touched many patients’ lives and has taught and inspired many generations of nurses and learners just like me. A day around Sue is always interesting and exceptional. Her art is to genuinely connect to the person in front of her and decide together what help is needed with transparency, integrity, and whenever possible, some therapeutic humor.

Sue is remembered by patients and families for years and years after their hospital stay.

I’m sometimes worried about
the speed at which we as a team are needed to deliver care. This may sometimes impact the ability to make connections with our patients, our recipients of care. Another potential “side effect” is that, whether on the inpatient unit or within critical care, with this ever-increasing speed for care delivery, people “learn” to move on faster towards their next career step to something new or something else.

I am worried that (at times) there isn’t sufficient time to fully immerse into what we are actually accomplishing here and (within this particular) now. It feels like there’s little time to enjoy the reward of experiencing personal professional growth before moving to the next stage of development.

I’ve found joy recently from seeing another COVID-19 wave behind us and looking ahead to another beginning. I am looking forward to the new electronic system implementation from UHN that will make work less redundant and more meaningful. I’m also looking forward to a new season, when I hope to be able to spend more time in nature and increase my physical activity, which is so important to anyone’s health. 

My favorite movie (trilogy) is Lord of the Rings because it offers a wealth of life lessons: help can come from unexpected people; you can be small, but you can make a big difference; staying true to one’s values can help through adversity.

A favorite Gandalf quote from the movie for me is “I have found it is the small things, every day deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay [,] simple acts of kindness and love.”

My ideal day off is to spend time in the garden and to listen to the sounds of nature. There is a lot being “said” and I need to listen more.

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