Annual award recognizes two Exceptional Healers at Kingston Health Sciences Centre

News / General

Dr. Lysa Lomax, Jerry Haffner honoured for creating an excellent patient and family care experience

Their exemplary skill in infusing every patient interaction with caring, respect and collaboration has earned neurologist Dr. Lysa Lomax and Registered Practice Nurse Jerry Haffner the 2019 Exceptional Healer Awards.

The Awards honour nurses, physicians and allied health professionals across our two hospital sites who are innovative in their approaches to patient care and who consistently demonstrate patient and family-centred care in their practice by being approachable, empathetic, collaborative and respectful.

Caring for the whole person

Dr. Lomax was praised as a physician who cares for patients as a whole rather than piecemeal and who is invariably generous with her time and support.

“Some of our questions were not her specialty, and she acknowledged this but then answered them to the best of her knowledge and pointed us in the right direction for further information,” wrote one nominator.  “She never made us feel rushed…her demonstration of utmost compassion was so needed.  She expressed a deep empathy but also reassurance and support.  She deserves the Exceptional Healer Award because that is what she has done—she has helped to heal us.”

Asked about her advice to others seeking to be exceptional healers, Dr. Lomax shared something she started practicing in medical school and continues to this day.

“I learned to ask at the end of the patient encounter whether I could help the patient or family with anything else,” she says.  “What I discovered is that often there’s a silence and out of that can come a special worry or concern.  That’s when the most important opportunity to help others occurs.”

Humanity in caring for vulnerable patients

A Registered Practical Nurse in the adult mental health program, Jerry Haffner earned his nomination for his humanity in caring for patients at their most vulnerable.  At the forefront of his practice, explained his nominators, is a true respect for patients as people, a perspective that is evident in direct patient/family interactions, rounds, family conferences and committee meetings. 

His passion for patient and family-centred care has also spurred his involvement in a new model of care for the Burr 4 unit, designed to engage patients and staff in positive ways to reduce tension and conflict.  “For Jerry,” read one nomination, “this is just the way health care should be done.  He lives and breathes this philosophy every day.”

Jerry says the secret of exceptional healing is listening. 

“Listen to patients.  Give them time and spend time with their family to help you better understand the patient,” he says. “Remember that every one of your patients is an individual.”

This year, the selection committee for the Exceptional Healer Award received 32 nominations. 

“We’re delighted to see such exceptional performance in patient and family-centred care at KHSC,” says Patient Experience Advisor Sue Bedell, who chaired the award selection committee.  “We know that every interaction can make a huge difference for a patient and family.”

“It’s exciting to see the values of patient and family-centred care embedded in our health care professionals,” says Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, KHSC Chief of Staff and Vice-President of Medical Affairs.  “And we’re grateful to have such excellent role models in our midst as we move about our daily practice.”

Other nominees for the 2019 Exceptional Healer Award included:

Sarah Adrain
Dr. Paul Heffernan
Dr. Karen McKinley-Jones
Dr. Rene Allard
John Hope
Dr. Heather Ostic
Clare Bowley
Mary Jane Hudson
PAP Party Team
Dr. Brett Catton
Kina Pelletier-Carson
Emily Collins
Dr. Gregory Klar
Dr. Mohammad (Khaled) Shamseddin
Suzanne Elliott
Dr. Michael Leveridge
Katherine Switzer
Dr. Anne Ellis
Dr. Kishore (Sou) Thain
Emergency Department Team
Lindsay MacDougall
Lois Vance
Dr. Lisa Michelle Forster
Dr. Laura Marcotte
Dr. Maria Velez
Dr. Stephen Gautheir
Dr. Jorge Martinez-Cajas
Dr. Gavin Wood
Angela Handley
Dr. Doug McKay