Nancey Martindale pictured inside KHSC's Emergency Department has short grey hair. She wear glasses and is photographed wearing a mask, blue scrubs and a yellow gown.
Nancey Martindale has been putting patients mind’s at ease with her compassion and comedy for more than 40 years. The registered nurse works in the Emergency Department at Kingston Health Sciences Centre.
Matthew Manor/KHSC

If you’ve ever had a conversation with Nancey Martindale, chances are she’s made you smile.

The registered nurse joined Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) in 1980, initially working in the Intensive Care Unit. Three years later, she transferred to the Emergency Department (ED) and has been supporting patients there for almost four decades.

Visiting the ED can be an overwhelming experience. That’s why Martindale follows a golden rule when caring for patients.

“The mantra I say all the time to myself or when I’m orienting people is do what you would want done for you or your family. If you do that, then you can’t go wrong,” she explained. “Nursing to me is giving back and helping people through some difficult situations. I love nursing for what I can do and I truly like the patients. I just want to make a difference.”

And she certainly is.

In addition to being a dedicated bedside nurse, she has a talent for putting people’s minds at ease with her compassion and comedy.

“When somebody says ‘I’m so nervous, have you done IVs before?’ I say ‘yup, one’. Then they look at me and I say ‘this hour’, and we laugh. I use humour to try to get through to people and build a connection.”

That playfulness also extends to her colleagues and has earned her the title of “birthday mom”.

“I love cooking! Prior to COVID-19 I would make and bring in a group cake if I knew it was someone’s birthday. We’d also put up a little sign and the team would take pictures. We can’t do that now because of the pandemic and I’m a strict follower of COVID safety protocols, so now I make an individual cake for someone’s birthday.”

Martindale adds she’s incredibly proud to work alongside such committed colleagues and be part of a devoted team.

“I’m really proud of how we continue to step up to challenges. We always have to react and figure out what we’re going to do next, and that takes a total team effort.

“I’m someone who appreciates everyone who works there. Aside from the base of nurses, doctors, patient care and nursing support assistants, plus registration and unit clerks, we have a great team of housekeepers, porters and security personnel. All of them have our backs and we wouldn’t be able to run the ED without every member of the team.”