HealthPRO News

May 11, 2021

Spotlight on Lisa DeAngelis for National Nursing Week 2021: “Supporting each other is getting us through.”

Although she spends most of her time as a Clinical Advisor to HealthPRO, RN Lisa DeAngelis still does shifts as a frontline clinician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. It’s been an exhausting year for all nurses, but she’s gratified to see nurses becoming more vocal for themselves and their patients.

Lisa sitting on a hospital bed
Lisa, in your role as a nurse, you inhabit two worlds (and probably more!) – one as a Clinical Advisor at HealthPRO and the other as a frontline clinician. How does having the two roles affect your perspective on nursing?

Working for HealthPRO has definitely changed my perspective in terms of how you can effect change in healthcare. I’ve learned a lot by working with suppliers and seeing how we can bring a value-based proposition to healthcare, how we can work together to get the best treatments for patients. With HealthPRO, I’m able to understand the function of the hospital, in addition to my bedside role focusing on the function of the patient. I know that both are essential.


It’s been a year since we interviewed you last. How have things changed for you in your life as a nurse?

I think everyone in healthcare is a little bit burnt out right now. Last year, we had to navigate a new and unknown world with COVID-19, understanding the changes it created and everyone was very cautious about everything. Now, hospital volumes in high acuity areas are bursting at the seams. I think nurses are worked to the bone right now. It’s been an exhausting year, but to see people getting vaccines is very positive. I think I can almost see a light at the end of this arduous tunnel.


Many nurses say the pandemic has deepened cracks that already exist, both in nursing and healthcare in general – would you agree with that?

The pandemic has intensified lack of staffing.

But it’s brought to light new challenges as well – not enough beds, not enough trained nurses, the difficulty transporting patients, and time constraints on cancelled surgeries and delayed procedures have definitely become more apparent. But on the upside, exposing those problems has meant that you can start having conversations about how to fix them. So that’s a good thing.

One thing we’ve seen is nurses becoming more vocal. In the news and on social media, they’re not only advocating for their own rights, but also just supporting stay-at-home orders, wearing masks, the importance of getting your vaccine. I've posted some information about our Intensive Care Unit (ICU) situation and just the sheer volume of patients we've had. People have responded that they’re shocked at the numbers.

My sister is a nurse as well, she's an educator for an ICU. You don’t have to be on the frontline. Really for anyone involved in healthcare right now, you can see the effect it's having and how they’re trying to educate people. It's great to see nurses becoming advocates for themselves.


It’s interesting that at a time when a lot of nurses are tired and burnt out, enrollment in nursing schools has gone up.[1] More people than ever are applying to nursing school. Do you find it surprising that more people are going into the profession?

I think that's fantastic. There's a lot more awareness of what we do and how dependent we are on nurses. People out on the street at night banging pots, clapping for us, putting blue ribbons on their trees. I hope people continue to see the value of a nurse. It's nice to see an uptick in people going into the profession so we can support gaps as nurses retire or go on to do other things.


How have you seen your nursing colleagues maintain pride in their work?

I work in an emergency setting. We deal with a lot of acute traumas and acute illnesses and we’re always working towards the benefit of a patient. The patient is why we enter this. It's what drives us. Being able to help them and support them in their recovery is what motivates nurses to do what we do.

So it's just nice to see that didn't change with the pandemic. I would even say that support for each other and the patient has improved. We’re in the middle of the struggle, having to wear PPE all the time and coping with all the other limitations, but we’ve really supported each other. It's been like that since the beginning and that helps everyone get through it. We’ve adapted and stayed true to our profession.


Lisa, how do you spend your days off?

What's that? I'm with my family or fiancé, going for lots of walks, gardening. Now the weather's getting a little bit nicer, just being able to be outside is huge.


Is there anything that you've learned about yourself in the last year?

There have been some small things I’ve had to adapt to, like changing my wedding date to a year later. I’m glad that I’m not getting hung up on those things! I think it's been important to support family. I’ve also appreciated having friends reach out, asking if you're okay. Whenever someone checks in, it's so great to have those small words of affirmation and it motivates you to continue doing what you're doing.

[1] NEW SIDE EFFECT OF COVID-19: A SUDDEN SURGE IN APPLICATIONS FOR NURSING SCHOOL by Urbi Khan (Toronto Star, Feb 9, 2021)