2nd annual Therapy Assistant Association of Alberta Awards Categories • Long-Term Service Award • Student Award • Student Mentor Award • Leadership Award • Outstanding Practitioner Award • Outstanding Team Practice Award Long-Term Service Award • Must be a member of the Association for at least five consecutive years • Has been promoting the Association Long-Term Service Award nominee Colleen Lazoruk • Has been an OTA for 24 years • Has been a member of the ThAAA since it’s inception in 2004 • Is a passionate advocate for the ThAAA who encourages all therapy assistants to join • She is always willing to answer questions and provide insights on the role and possible scope of practice of therapy assistants • As Colleen has been heard saying many times: “There is no reason not to be a member!” Long-Term Service Award nominee Dianne Foley • Has worked as an SLPA for 15 years • Has been part of the Association since it’s inception in 2004 • Took an active role by being on the Association’s Board and by always being willing to promote the Association Long-Term Service Award nominee Donna Tugwood-Jackson • Has been working as an SLPA for 21 years • Has been a member of the ThAAA since its inception in 2004 • Was a valued part of the Promotions Committee and fervent promoter of the Association Long-Term Service Award recipient Colleen Lazoruk Student Award • Registered in one of the 4 post-secondary institutions in Alberta • Must possess outstanding clinical and academic skills • Inspires fellow students • Demonstrates a passion for learning Student Award nominee Cassandra Hunter • Therapeutic Rec student at Norquest College that is an energetic, confident and caring leader as a student representative for her class • Regularly meets with the program Chair and other student reps to discuss issues, brainstorms ideas and plan activities • Easily worked with individuals for group work and readily gave and received feedback • Excelled in program planning by providing thorough, creative and client-centered plans • Demonstrated excellent communication and collaboration skills as well as the ability to remain clam and professional during interdisciplinary communication experiences in the college’s simulation lab Student Award nominee Emily Kabat • PTA student at Norquest College that is respectful, kind and welcoming to students and teachers alike • Proactive and self-directed in her learning and demonstrates perseverance to ensure she clearly grasps program concepts • Supports and assists her peers in learning difficult concepts, often by sharing her own study notes • Along with her partner, won 1st place at a student symposium for their poster presentation on TA’s working in Pediatrics • Winner of the 2013 Shillington Community Leadership Award, which honours students who have an excellent academic standing and demonstrates strong leadership, citizenship and community volunteerism in and outside the college. • Volunteered for the PTA workshops hosted by Norquest for the Careers: Next Generation Health Sciences Career Camp in 2013 Student Award Recipient Emily Kabat Student Mentor Award • Has mentored Therapy Assistant students by providing coaching, support and/or feedback during student’s placement • Encourages others to mentor students • Has made mentoring students a continuing goal in their professional life Student Mentor Award nominee Hoda Joumaa • Brings many years of valued experience to her work at the Sturgeon Hospital • Approaches her work with enthusiasm and energy • Is constantly being offered students to mentor and never refuses to assist in their education • Helps students in their placements by teaching from a wide knowledge base and with a positive work ethic • Reinforces the importance of building client rapport and is open to giving critical feedback which allows the students to become increasingly efficient and productive Student Mentor Award Recipient Hoda Joumaa Leadership Award • Promotes the role of the Therapy Assistant • Promotes the discipline(s) and/or specialties in which they work • Encourages others to participate in Professional Development and does so themselves • Is an integral member of their rehabilitation team Leadership Award Nominee Carmen McKnight • Is a tireless, positive, energetic and creative force in educating, promoting and advancing the role of TA’s • Leads by example in her continuing efforts to create a fun and motivating experience for her clients • She is a team player who values learning from and providing learning to fellow team members • Continually finds new opportunities for education and encourages others to do the same • Is instrumental in planning and organizing training days for TA’s in her zone Leadership Award Nominee Claudine Sim • Has been instrumental in developing the role of TA’s in the mental health setting • Advocated as a student to have her practicum at Alberta Hospital, paving the way for future students • Takes an active role in her patients therapies and looks for new ways to improve client care • Recently became a Pet Therapy handler to enhance onsite programming opportunities as well as therapy in the community • Has a desire to better the lives of her patients which inspires her colleagues to do the same Leadership Award Nominee Kristin Tarnowski • Eager to learn new ways of working with clients and is excited to share any new found knowledge with others • Demonstrates creativity with treatment ideas and makes therapy fun for each child • Is a valuable resource for her peers and a support for new staff in learning about equipment, exercises and team processes • Is a passionate voice for the rights of TA’s and became an AUPE member to represent their interests • Encourages other TA’s to become a member of the ThAAA Leadership Award Nominee Sarah Dezall • • • • • • • • Has worked with ARBI for the last 7 years as OTA, PTA and SLPA Her role included case management, which involves training client’s volunteers in the implementation of daily rehab programs. At a given time, she would be training between 30 to 35 volunteers Participated in a research study to improve upper-extremity function using the Saeboflex device which required strong clinical skills, refined communication skills as well as a strong understanding of research methods. Used her skills and experience to treat clients, liaise with their families, medical staff and the research leader. Mentors staff with positive results and teaches new techniques with patience, respect and while always maintaining a professional rapport. Regularly supervises students and presents in-services to ARBI staff Presented at a Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund on the importance of Music Rehabilitation Active participant on a number of committees Leadership Award Nominee Tracey Clark • Has worked for the Carewest Neuro Rehab unit for 13 years and has been a constant leader for the TA group. • Is organized, knowledgeable and helps any TA who needs assistance with scheduling, equipment and other TA duties in a calm, clear manner • Organizes TA schedule when one calls in sick so that clients do not miss out on any therapy • Regularly orients students and new TA’s and is always willing to explain and demonstrate proper techniques (i.e.. Transfers) to NA’s • Demonstrates patience and a positive attitude in every aspect of her job • Has presented to SAIT TA students about ‘’The Day in the Life of a Therapy Assistant’’ for the last four years Leadership Award Recipient Sarah Dezall Outstanding Practitioner Award • Has contributed to the rehabilitation team • Must possess outstanding clinical and interpersonal skills • Participates in professional development opportunities • Shares with or teaches other team members knowledge acquired through practice or education opportunities Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Adele Comstock • SLPA who works in inpatients, post-acute rehab and outpatients at Chinook Regional Hospital as well as in client’s homes in the rural community • Is critical in keeping on top of the day-to-day running of the team, including organizing her 5 SLPs while finding and attending unique educational opportunities for herself • Is in tune with her clients needs and advocates for appropriate treatment changes to most suit their needs and will rearrange her schedule to fit them in • Is very approachable, professional and compassionate towards her clients and gets to know them on a deep, personal which puts them at ease. Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Alexandra McClure • Proactive in offering assistance to whole team and takes initiative in learning new areas and skills of practice • Started an education/in-service program for other TA’s at the hospital • Practices client centered care which builds strong relationships with those on her caseload • Always professional and a great advocate for her profession • Remains calm and confident but seeks assistance when needed • Possesses strong communication skills and is able to adjust to a wide variety of environments Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Andrea Engebretson • TA at a long-term care facility where she displays enthusiasm, joy and tremendous skills • Is team focused and has been able to provide consistency and a welcoming environment for many new staff • Possesses strong communication skills and a broad knowledge base • Is hard-working, supportive, innovative, resourceful and anticipates clients needs to provide them with optimum therapy • Has strong interpersonal skills that she uses with everyone she encounters which helps foster a sense of unity and caring throughout the facility Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Catherine Young • SLPA since 2000 at Medicine Hat Hospital where she contributes to her department in a collaborative and engaging manner • Has a natural ability to work with clients of all ages and has taken the initiative to explore new therapy techniques and materials • Demonstrates a keen respect for each and every patient she serves which helps to improve their lives. • Commits to her ongoing education by attending professional development opportunities and helping to organize the 2009 SLP Assistant Conference Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Colleen Dyck • TA on the Hand Practice Team at Chinook Hospital that has been the key consistent team member throughout the years • Provides stability through her calm demeanor which sustained and facilitated the services growth • Establishes excellent rapport with clients, listens attentively to their needs and then becomes an advocate on their behalf • Demonstrates outstanding interpersonal skills with a positive and flexible attitude • Has developed competencies in her splinting skills and has acquire a wide knowledge base but is still willing to learn and clarify expectations when needed • Supports therapists in a collaborative way, contributing ideas, strategies and resources for the ultimate benefit of the client Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Darla Larsen • Has demonstrated initiative, adaptability and a drive to learn during her 7 years as a TA for the CRIS program in Edmonton • Takes initiative to acquire specific knowledge and skill sets to provide the best clinical treatment (for example – Certification in Manual Lymph Draining and Complete Decongestive Therapy, Physical treatment of the Neurological Patient, Manual therapy techniques and NDT training among them) • Has a strong desire to understand the theory behind treatment approaches • Has become an invaluable partner to the OT with the development and success of the lymphedema service at the clinic. Uses her manual skills and knowledge to help problem solve for the extremely difficult population of clients with lymphedema Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Elaine Halter • SLPA for 20+ year in Sylvan Lake with pre=school and school aged children • Organized, meticulous and detailed in her scheduling, session planning and clinical responsibility • Is always respectful of staff, clients and families including respectful of the SLP/SLPA boundaries • Is personable and easy to approach and possesses extensive knowledge and understanding of her field • She keeps sessions fun and interactive and genuinely wants the best for her clients and their families • Seeks out opportunities to grow in her knowledge base and clinical skills and isn’t afraid to ask questions or seek clarification when needed Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Heather Fulker • TA for ARBI for over a decade who brings enthusiasm, compassion and commitment to her work • Participated in a pilot project to ensure timely access to rehab for stroke survivors by becoming a Rehabilitation worker • She conducts herself in a professional manner and has exceptional communication skills which is critical to her client’s success • Supports Outreach clients in the community where she supports workers and families by providing guidance, education and training • She has a keen interest in furthering her education and training and puts this knowledge to improve client programming • Contributed to the development of a poster presentation on the pilot project at the National Stroke Congress Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Jacalyn Poulin • TA with the Department of Occupational Therapy at the U if A since 2010 and has become an invaluable resource and support to the team • Has exemplary interpersonal skills and promotes the professional atmosphere on which students build high academic achievements • Models teamwork, professionalism and communication to demonstrate the complete functioning of the OTA role while making evident the limits and boundaries of said role • Has broadened the department’s resources and access to them and helps engage the students to open their thoughtprocesses to activity analysis and to therapeutic implementation Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Jacinthe Vetsch • TA for the Peace County Student Health Program for 5 years, providing service in over 40 schools • Is at the top of her field in terms of her clinical knowledge, creativity and dedication and is indispensable to the functioning and morale of her team • Is integral in the development of therapy interventions, establishment of processes and the day-to-day management of the program • Generates new ideas and creative approaches to engage her students in learning effectively • Responsible for the development of a printing program and presented in-services to schools to inform them of it, all while maintaining her caseload • Exemplifies the qualities of dependability, efficiency, timeliness and attention to detail Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Katelyn Brown • PTA for the Physical Therapy Department at the U of A where she had assumed many responsibilities • Has an integral role in the student-led physical therapy clinic where she is in charge of booking, payment, scheduling and takes part in direct client care • Is the sole staff member who facilitates continuity of care for all clients and is the main communication link between the team of PT’s. Provides consistency ensuring a cohesive approach to patient and student management • Contributes to student learning through clinical skill demonstration and teaching • Sets a warm, inviting and professional tone when communication with clients yet adapts her communication style to portray respect and patience in the face of challenging situations Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Kathy Cassidy • Full-time TA on a busy 61 bed rehab unit where she manages a very full caseload • Is quietly assertive and always respectful of clients and colleagues as well as being client-focused. She will often alter her approach according to client feedback • Provides opinions to the team in a competent and respectful manner while managing her time, establishing priorities and meeting caseload demands • Is a vocal advocate for appropriate technique and use of assistive devices • Seeks out opportunities to learn, attending conferences when able and also volunteers to teach others about her role and responsibilities Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Kelly Frazer • TA with Home Living where she is fearless in regards to taking on complex clients and finding ways to keep the client safe using great clinical judgment and keeping them engaged in a rehab program • She is excellent at keeping her team updated on client progress and is very flexible with her scheduling • Her clients are all showing significant gains and meeting most of their goals all the while being organized, caring and dedicated to their care • She demonstrates exceptional listening skills and has a way of respecting the clients and their families as well • She is a quick learner and she embraces opportunities to learn Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Laura Bourne • Ta on this rehab unit for 9 years where she uses her strong knowledge base to produce high-quality results • Is extremely skilled at motivating patients and takes the time to get to know them and their motivations so that they have a vested interest in their own therapy • Works very well independently but is mindful of her team and always openly participates in discussions on how to improve the therapy provided • Actively seeks and participates in whatever learning opportunities that are available as well as learning from fellow team members • Passes on her learning to others including students and new team members in an encouraging and caring way • Possesses a genuine enthusiasm for this field and celebrates the successes of her clients and of being a part of their journey Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Mercedes Lichty • TA with the Geriatric Mental Health Rehab team since 2011 where she presents each day with an engaged, interested, calm and energetic manner • This role requires knowledge of medicine, psychiatry, inpatients and outpatient issues as well as an understanding and ability to utilize a variety of approaches and responses, all of which Mercedes excels in • Has been key in organizing tours of community lodges and supportive living environments to assist patients in understanding their living choices • Provides insight to the team into how clients cope and manage in the community prior to discharge, how they respond to functional tasks and has made strong connections with community partners • Is collaborative in her work and is available to other team members should they need her Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Paige Jensen • As a TA makes the office run smoothly and creates a positive work environment as well as working well with all disciplines • Engages her kids with movement games and incorporates her own knowledge into therapy (i.e.. Skating groups) • She provides excellent suggestions for multisensory work and is great at improvising as needed • Takes on any organizing tasks that are required and is willing to help with anything asked of her • Isn’t afraid to work one on one with severely impaired children to ensure they meet with success in their therapy Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Penny Miskolzie • PTA on the Adult Stroke and Brain Injury team as well as the Spinal Cord Injury team at the Glenrose Hospital since 2003 • Is committed to ensuring her teams run as smoothly and efficiently as possible in addition to being engaged in providing the best care for her patients • Develops good working relationships with her patients as well as with any staff member she encounters. She puts the patient first and goes the extra mile to provide them with excellent service • Has shown great leadership when supervising and mentoring PTA students while making every effort to provide them with opportunities and experiences while at the Glenrose • Is a guest lecturer at Grant MacEwan University for the OTA/PTA diploma students about working in neuro rehabilitation • Is involved with committees at the Glenrose including the WH&S committee and the Space Utilization Committee, being an excellent advocate for her teams Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Shazmin Hussein • PTA in the Pediatrics department at the Glenrose since January 2012. Took the initiative to carve out her role in areas where her her assistance was needed. • Possesses excellent interpersonal communication skills and used those to tackle the steep-learning curve of a demanding new position • Became proficient as well as the “go-to” person in the use of a new and highly technical piece of equipment called the Lokomat, which is a gait-training device that requires specialized training • Key organizer for summer PT outpatient camps such as: “A Wheelie Fun Camp”, Super Spring and Summer Sessions and the Summer Lokomotion Program • Has a gently and easy-going personality and always appears positive and enthusiastic which gains her the trust of children and adults alike Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Shirley Randell • PTA at the Northern Light Regional Health Centre in Fort McMurray that is dedicated towards her patients, colleagues and profession • Demonstrates an effortless ability to form meaningful relationships with seniors, which encourages them to actively participate in daily exercise programs to enable them to return home • Possesses a strong clinical background but remains committed to growing professionally by attending lunch and learns and stroke rounds • Remains open-minded in her everyday work and values interpersonal development as she attended courses such as “A bullyfree workplace” and “How to deal with difficult people” • Capable of prioritizing her time perfectly, while maintaining her clam persona and using creativity to assist with the lack of resources that her team often encounters Outstanding Practitioner Award nominee Stephanie Stafford • TA who has been integral part of the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Program at the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury for the last 12 years • Demonstrates dedication and compassion to her clients and always goes above and beyond to help them achieve their rehab goals • Has made a significant difference in some of her clients lives by providing them the opportunity to be around horses at her family stable • Carries a heavy caseload which she manages with grace and with is always open to assisting other team members when needed • Takes advantage of every opportunity to learn, including taking part in many Solution Focused therapy training sessions, group facilitation courses and more recently, ASST training • Volunteers to do live broadcast sessions with clients to assist other practitioners in learning and education Outstanding Practitioner Award Recipient Darla Larsen Outstanding Team Practice Award • Has impacted their organization by demonstrating outstanding clinical and interpersonal skills • The team members must have made contributions towards increased knowledge, skills and outstanding client service • The TA team’s success is a result of the nominees working in a collaborative and engaging manner Outstanding Team Practice Award nominee PARP Team: Jean Martens and Mirjana Smiljanec • TA’s at St. Michael Health Centre Post Acute Rehabilitation Program in Lethbridge who support OT, PT and SLP • Cheerfully and efficiently keep their 8 therapists organized and on track • Demonstrate enthusiasm, commitment and integrity by going the extra mile for patients and therapists, being accountable for their actions and establishing trusting relationships with anyone they encounter • Bring a wealth of experience and knowledge and demonstrate incredible organization skills • They work creatively and with a sense of humor which helps everyone keep a positive attitude despite full workloads • Continually seek feedback, knowledge and opportunities to work together to provide the best environment for their patients Outstanding Team Practice Award nominee Supportive Living Team: Letithia Nyiranshuti, Mohit Raja, Anab Abdi, Sherry Rioux, Sara Marghella, Alicia Knutson, Heidi Strachan, Waseem Awar and Joceley Monaghan • The TA’s have stepped in to fill the gaps in the ever growing area of community living even with a rise in acuity of patients they serve • They extend the reach of the 20 PT’s they assist, who rely heavily on the TA’s to help maintain consistency and quality of service amongst many changes to staff and to the program • Are innovative, highly skilled in time management and demonstrate strong communication skills which ensures clients are safe and have all of their needs met Outstanding Team Practice Award Recipients PARP Team: Jean Martens and Mirjana Smiljanec Congratulations to all our winners and nominees! We are proud to recognize the outstanding work you do in your respective roles and hope we can all follow the example set by you. Thank you for letting your passion shine through!