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Staff, physicians, volunteers celebrated at The Ottawa Hospital’s Long Service Awards

From left to right: Mary Lowery, Lina Tripudio-Comba, Trevor Bell, Cecile Kershman, Chantal Dewar, Ranjeeta Malik.

In this day and age, it’s rare to see an employee stay at the same organization for five years, let alone 30 or more.  Yet, at The Ottawa Hospital, this is common for many of our staff and volunteers.

Long-serving employees bring great value to our organization with their deep institutional knowledge that supports safe, efficient care for patients.

That’s why every year The Ottawa Hospital presents Long Service Awards to staff, physicians and volunteers who have marked service milestones in their career in five-year increments from five years onward.

This year, The Ottawa Hospital recognized 1,900 recipients of the award, more than 500 of whom are marking 20 years or more and two who are celebrating an incredible 45 years with the hospital.

In celebration of everyone receiving an award this year, we bring you the stories of six Long Service Award recipients.

 Mary Lowery

Mary Lowery, Registered Nurse, 45 years

Registered Nurse Mary Lowery has come to think of her colleagues as family.  During her impressive 45-year career at The Ottawa Hospital, she has cared for several generations of patients.

While new technologies and new treatments have drastically improved care over the last four-and-a-half decades, compassion has remained a constant part of her job. 

Soon, Mary will say goodbye to her work family and start a new chapter.

“As much as I am excited to retire, I will miss the “family,” friends and countless patients that I was proud to care for,” she says.

Lina Tripudio- Comba

Lina Tripudio-Comba, Life Skills Counsellor, Robin Easey Centre, 30 years

Lina Tripudio- Comba’s father always said, “Find something you like, give it all you got, and stick with it.”

As a 30-year veteran at The Ottawa hospital, it’s safe to say that Lina took those words to heart.

Lina began her career at the hospital as a student in social work and transitioned through several roles in The Ottawa Rehabilitation Centre (including the Acquired Brain Injury Program) before moving to the Robin Easey Centre, where she has been since 2006.  There, she works closely with a dedicated team to help clients who are living with a brain injury develop personalized strategies to help them live independently.

In a job like this, Lina’s experience and creativity come in handy as they help her find solutions that fit each client’s needs.

“To this day I feel like I am constantly learning.” she says. “When you actually see the strategies unfold, and they actually work for the client in their environment, that’s really satisfying.”

In addition to working so closely with clients, Lina enjoys working with the other staff at the Robin Easey Centre.

“Not only does each member of the team care about each client, but we also take the time to show how much we care about each other,” she says.

Trevor Bell

Trevor Bell, Respiratory Therapist, 30 years

As a respiratory therapist, Trevor Bell knows that not every story has a happy ending.  But even when things look grim, he treats every patient he cares for like they are a loved one.

“Throughout my 30-plus years here I have always found that, no matter what the situation, if I can somehow make it better for someone, I feel like I have really made a difference,” he says.    

His outgoing personality and knack for connecting with people has made him popular amongst patients. If he could speak to new staff, this is his advice:

“Take the time to talk to your patients.  Joke with them.  Console them. Talking to patients about everyday things, their interests or their hobbies can really help to put them at ease,” he says.

Cecile Kershman

Cecile Kershman, Volunteer, 20 years

Cecile Kershman is a world traveller and a two-time cancer survivor—and at 84 years old, she shows no signs of slowing down.  Every Monday and Friday she volunteers at the General Campus Boutique, where she helps people find the perfect gift for their loved ones in the hospital.

“Working at the Boutique keeps me alert and keeps me in the loop. You have to know your products and you have to give the right change,” she says.

Cecile honed her sales skills over her 20 years at the hospital, beginning at the coffee shop in the Rehabilitation Centre.  She loves the work, but it’s the people she meets who really make her day.

“I look my customers in the eye and say, ‘how can I help you?’ because that’s what they need. That’s why I’m here.  I am so blessed,” she says.

Chantal Dewar

Chantal Dewar, Patient Food Service Attendant, 15 years

“I’m going home.”

These might be the sweetest three words to hear in a hospital, and Chantal Dewar treasures each time she hears a patient say them.  As a patient food service attendant, patients are at the heart of everything Chantal does, and the compassion she feels for each patient comes through.

“Sometimes patients give me a drawing they sketched or offer me some candy.  That’s really special,” she says.

After 15 years at the hospital, Chantal continues to love the fast-paced energy of her work, and the satisfaction of working within a committed team.  She appreciates the flexibility and stability of her position, which was especially helpful when raising two sons.

Chantal is also looking forward to our New Campus Development and its full range of specialized services, research and education to help those with the most complex injuries and illness. 

It will also be a place where more people can tell her “I’m going home.”

Ranjeeta Mallik

Ranjeeta Mallik, Researcher, 10 years

Although Ranjeeta Mallik might not be at the bedside, the work she does as a statistician at The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute helps clinicians at The Ottawa Hospital and beyond find better and more efficient ways to care for patients.

During her ten-year career here, she has always found that her work is not only interesting, but also published and implemented quickly and efficiently to the benefit of patients.

But when her father died just before the deadline for a big project, she saw that efficiency take a backseat to compassion.

“They told me ‘don’t worry about the project. Let’s talk about how you are feeling and how we can best help you.’ That really touched my heart,” she says.


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