Barb Comrie-Hall and her daughter Sydney Hall are unique for being the only mother-daughter nursing duo in our Emergency Department (ED). Nursing is a calling that runs through the mothers and daughters of their family—and inspired by a cherished colleague, Carol.
Consider this. Barb’s grandmothers were respectively a nurse’s aid and a midwife. Barb’s mom was also an Emergency nurse. Barb’s aunt was a nurse. Barb’s sister is a nurse. And, of course, both Barb and Sydney are nurses—together—at our Credit Valley Hospital site. Talk about continuity of care.
Inspiring Stories—Inspiring Care
Inspiring care comes from inspiring stories and inspiring examples—mother to daughter, colleague to colleague. “Growing up I liked hearing my mom’s stories,” says Sydney, “and I saw how happy she was providing emergency care with an amazing team.” So Sydney went into nursing, too. After nursing school she was hired as a cardiac nurse, which “was a great experience,” she explains, “but I always wanted to be an ED nurse,” which she recently became.
Emergency Department Challenges
Barb came to Trillium Health Partners because she had been looking for a challenge. Joining the Trillium Health Partners Emergency and Urgent Care Program reinvigorated her because it’s the busiest in Ontario with over 270,000 patient visits a year. But the challenges go beyond the numbers.
The Credit Valley Hospital’s ED, where Barb works every day, is over thirty years old and was only ever meant to see a maximum of 50,000 patients a year. It was designed to meet the health care needs of the past—a time when patient volumes were low and patient care less complex.
Barb threw herself into her role and devoted herself to committees and projects to improve the ED. “I got actively involved in everything,” she recalls.
Remembering Carol—Nurse, Mother, Mentor
“We love the whole ED team,” observes Sydney. “They’re like a second family to us.” One reason they feel such warmth for their team is because of the mentorship of Carol Mifsud, a long-time ED charge nurse with a reputation for guiding new nurses. “On my very first day, Carol acted as my mentor,” remembers Barb, appreciatively.
Carol Mifsud was loved by everyone. “She had a dry sense of humour that made even the toughest shifts good,” recalls Barb. Carol was giving to all, particularly younger nurses. However, last year, after a determined six-year fight with thyroid cancer, Carol passed away at the age of 53.
“Losing Carol was a tremendous loss for the ED family,” says Barb. “That’s why we want to honour her.”
Because of Carol’s strength and determination as a nurse, mentor, wife, and mother, Barb, Sydney, and the entire ED team are raising funds to dedicate a room to Carol’s memory in the child-friendly area of the new Emergency Department where this nurse and mother’s story will continue to inspire.
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