A major winter storm swept across the region Christmas weekend, bringing heavy snow, rain and high winds. Across all four Quinte Health hospitals, our staff and physicians supported our patients, and one another, with tremendous dedication. Prince Edward County was hit particularly hard by the storm, with the OPP shutting down the roads across Prince Edward County. As you can imagine, this made getting to and from work extremely challenging for team members at Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital. Through this experience, the team displayed an incredible level of commitment to their patients, to each other, and to Quinte Health’s values.
With roads closed and snow blowing everywhere, most team members were unable to get in for their day shift on December 24th, unless they walked. Recognizing these unprecedented circumstances, the nurses who worked the evening/night before stayed in the building for 30+ hours, ensuring that the 20 inpatients were cared for. One ER nurse who lives close by, selflessly gave up her Christmas to come in on December 24th and 25th despite not being scheduled.
Food Service Worker, Joseph Byford, who is fairly new to Quinte Health, worked evening shift on the 23rd and stayed around the clock on the 24th to make sure patients were fed. Lisa Mowbray, Hospital Site Lead and Manager or Patient Services, explained, “We are incredibly grateful to Joseph for taking the initiative to go above and beyond. He even prepared extra food for the team members who were working very long hours. As nurses we can do many things, but running the hospital kitchen isn’t one of them.” Another nurse who lives close by also prepared extra food for the team.
The two Hospitality Services Representatives (HSRs) worked tirelessly that weekend, preparing unconventional spaces for team members to rest while maintaining services within the hospital.
Two physicians found themselves helping staff get to and from the hospital. There was digging, there were falls in hip-deep snow, there were acts of good Samaritanism by helping others who were stranded. Paladin staff also displayed incredible kindness digging out staff vehicles, and kept the main ER entry clear of relentless blowing snow as much as they could.
Throughout this unparalleled chaos, the team worked together, improvised, and navigated the weather and the working conditions incredibly well.
Lisa Mowbray explained there are many to thank – even complete strangers who found themselves stranded in our waiting areas helped out where they could. She said, “To say I’m incredibly thankful, grateful and humbled by the team’s efforts is not enough. I have never felt so helpless knowing this was unfolding and unable to get there myself.”
The Quinte Health Board of Directors, expressing their gratitude at its January meeting, was impressed with the level of teamwork and commitment displayed at all four Quinte Health hospitals – the storm wreaked havoc across the region and so many people pulled together, worked long hours and went above and beyond. The Board also expressed thanks to the emergency services and municipal teams who helped keep people safe through the storm.
The Board of Directors presented this month’s Values in Action Award to the remarkable Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital team. “They were hit hardest by the storm and deserve so much recognition for living all four of Quinte Health’s values and going above and beyond to care for patients and each other during this major weather event,” said Board Member Christian Sauvageau. “Thank you to this wonderful team!”