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2017 Champion Katie McVicar

Continuing education helps boost patient care

For Katie McVicar and Jennifer Cherniavsky, continuing education and professional development are a way of life, but they also have a passion for learning.

Katie-McVicar-for websiteKatie and Jennifer are nursing professionals, among the 1,000 plus people employed by the Brant Community Healthcare System.

Patients expect hospital staff to be at the top of their game, experts in their field and up-to-date with the latest medical knowledge and technology. The Brant Community Healthcare System, which includes Brantford General Hospital and The Willett in Paris, expects their staff to be experts, too, and committed to ongoing learning.

Katie and Jennifer are just two examples of staff being devoted to continuing education.

Katie and Jennifer have been selected as 2017 Education Champions by the Education WORKS Alliance, after being nominated by colleagues at BCHS.


Katie McVicar is a full-time Registered Nurse (RN) with the Family Birthing Centre at Brantford General Hospital, working on labour and delivery. She is also cross trained to work with patients after birth.

"The No. 1 reason for me to pursue further learning was to improve my nursing skills," says Katie, 29. "I want to provide my patients with the best possible care, and I believe this requires specialized education, and staying current with best practice guidelines."

Katie graduated in 2010 from the McMaster University - Mohawk College nursing program, and went on to work at Norfolk General Hospital and Brantford General Hospital.

It's not easy for a full-time nurse to pursue further education, simply because of the long hours (12-hour shifts) and rotating work schedules. You have to be creative and sometimes give up your own time.

For Katie, that meant using vacation days and asking fellow nurses to switch shifts so she could attend class. When it came to writing an exam to receive her Perinatal Nursing certificate, her supervisor gave her an "education day" to do it.

Katie is also thankful to co-workers who helped her develop notes and answer practice questions, based on them taking the same program years earlier.

"I'm very proud of this accomplishment, and I feel it will benefit me in my everyday work," says the Brantford resident, who is already looking ahead to further ongoing education.

Story by Mark Skeffington, Education WORKS Alliance

Photo by The Expositor