In honour of National Nursing Week on May 6-12, we’d like to take the opportunity to celebrate our own in-house nursing team (upwards of 25 of them!) by asking each of them a seemingly simple question: What does nursing mean to you?

The response was overwhelmingly positive, and the insights provided were very telling.

In addition to this, we were able to chat one-on-one with a few members of our nursing team and gained some valuable insight into their day-to-day roles:

  • An-Qi Shen, Clinical Quality Specialist
  • Victoria Zefkic, Knowledge Translation Specialist
  • Reylene Salazar, EMR Specialist

A dominant theme that emerged during these conversations was that of diversity in experience, particularly when it comes to nursing. The nurses in our team are a testament to a rich, complex and rapidly evolving field, and their differing backgrounds lend well to productive collaboration amongst the various teams within Think Research.

For example, An-Qi Shen, Registered Nurse by background and Clinical Quality Specialist on the Client Services team, has a background in both primary care and oncology clinical trials. An-Qi explains that “when you think of a registered nurse, normally you think of bedside care, which is very patient-facing. You’re on the floor, and that’s 1:1 interaction with the patient, all the time.” She maintains that while she went into nursing because she wanted to “help people” and “contribute to the healthcare community”, she eventually ended up in clinical trials. She enjoyed the fast-paced nature of this field, which spans both private and public sectors. In the field of clinical trials, An-Qi explains, you may still interact with patients when they receive treatment or within a clinic environment, but you’re also engaging with multiple other teams within a hospital, including labs, pharmacy teams, and so forth. She concluded that in this environment, there’s an administrative and cross-functional/interprofessional focus versus bedside nursing.

In a similar vein, Victoria Zefkic is a Registered Nurse with a diverse background, having worked within 18 different units at Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital, eventually moving into ICU. With a Masters degree in Public Health, she also has a special interest in health equity and policy. Her experience in different units has led her to her current role, where she works on the Clinical Research and Development team, authoring Order Sets, Progress Notes, eReferrals and other associated products. For Victoria, her broad experience has helped her in making our clinical tools easy-to-use. Although she has a strong passion for health policy, she sees her current role as a way to draw upon her dual nursing and health policy backgrounds, as well as satisfy her passion for technology and digitizing health care. She concludes that although she didn’t originally envision herself working at a health tech company, she feels “very fortunate” to work on multiple projects and products that interest her.

Reylene Salazar, EMR Specialist at Think Research, also echoes this sentiment, acknowledging the diversity of experience that she brings to her profession. Reylene initially comes from an IT background, with her first full-time role as a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Manager in a nursing home, which ultimately led her to pursue nursing. She worked in different hospital settings, from the medicine unit to the geriatric unit, and maintains that “different organizations and different facilities have different processes”. The field is rapidly evolving, and “what may be relevant now might not have been relevant 10 years ago.” Reylene continued to emphasize the important role that technology has played in her career, explaining that her technical background (including the use of PointClickCare and building quality improvement systems) has helped to guide and influence her career path. Early on, she recognized the need to learn about technology, because, as she neatly puts it, it’s “the future.”

Our team’s varied experience, curiosity and determination to improve our health care system is something that we’re proud of. An-Qi, Victoria and Reylene are just a few of Think Research’s incredibly hard-working nurses, and we’d like to thank the nurses who work within the walls of our office at 351 King St. and beyond.