Carole Rhéaume Award
CAROLE RHÉAUME AWARD – awarded to a nurse who exemplifies Carole Rhéaume’s passion for, and
contribution to, patients with infertility. Carole was an exemplary fertility nurse who worked at Ovo Clinic in Montreal. She was a tireless patient advocate, a caring nurse and a true leader. Carole spearheaded numerous initiatives to improve patient care and access to care. Carole was tragically killed in the winter of 2015 when she stopped her car on the side of the road to help another motorist who had veered off track.
The Carole Rhéaume Award comprises of a sponsorship of up to $2,500 CAD for a registered nurse to attend an international conference in reproductive medicine in the 18 months following receipt of the award. The Award is made possible by the support of EMD Serono, through an educational grant.
Catherine “Cathie” Dwyer graduated from the Registered Nursing Diploma Program at Humber College in 1981 and began her nursing career in surgical oncology, gynecology, neurology and medicine. She found her passion in women’s health beginning with labour and delivery, where she worked for 15 years, before realizing her true calling of reproductive endocrinology and infertility nursing. Cathie has cared for fertility patients for 17 years and as Team Leader she manages day to day operations and liaises with a multidisciplinary team to ensure staff and patient safety, satisfaction and efficiency. Cathie has won multiple awards including a clinical practice award, a nursing exchange award for a poster at a nursing conference, an award of excellence, a preceptor award, and an award for scoring the highest on a test of fertility knowledge. Cathie is a role model in terms of continuing education (educational rounds, webinars, conferences, certificate courses) which she actively seeks out, and she has successfully obtained her Perinatal Nursing Certification through the Canadian Nurses Association and passed the ASRM Nurse Certificate Course in REI. Cathie is also an active member of a number of societies including CFAS, SOGC, ASRM, and RNAO. In fact, Cathie was the Secretary for the CFAS NSIG from 2013-2015. Cathie also leads and/or participates in a variety of quality improvement initiatives and is always eager to join internal hospital committees. Cathie is approachable and extremely knowledgeable, an absolute asset to REI nursing.
Cathie is deserving of the Carole Rheaume Award for many reasons, but the projects that are most influential include her ability to provide personalized care and her key role in assisting with the development of the Embryo Donation Program at Sinai Fertility.
In terms of personalized/individualized care, there are several patient testimonials of how she worked with them to overcome their fears of speculum insertion, PTSD, sexual abuse, vaginismus, etc. She develops collaborative care plans with such patients and their families to ensure the experience is the best it can be, including regular ‘mock’ procedures before the actual procedure (for example transvaginal ultrasound or insemination) so that when it matters most, the procedure goes well. Cathie initiates these plans and carries them out without any prompting – she is truly a patient advocate and exemplary nurse. This is a perfect example of how Cathie enhances the patient experience and provides evidence that she is deserving of this award (“the nominee accomplishes their day-to-day work with the patient in mind and has helped personalize care, maintain an open dialogue, exceed patient expectations, and make the patient’s journey easier and more positive.”).
In addition to providing personalized care, Cathie was also instrumental in helping Mount Sinai Fertility develop and maintain an embryo donation program. This program helps people who have undergone IVF who have surplus or extra embryos that they wish to donate. The program was developed over a number of years as careful consideration needed to be given to the many factors involved including the program philosophy, legal considerations, ethical considerations, prioritization of patients, distribution of embryos, and privacy and confidentiality. This program helps not only those individuals and families who are wanting to donate their embryos, but to the many individuals and families who have realized their dream of having a family as a result of the program. Cathie was and still remains involved in all aspects of this important program.
()Brenda McFalls is a registered nurse with 25 years’ experience in the field of Women’s Health and Reproductive Medicine. Currently Brenda is the Coordinator of The Fertility Clinic, Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit and Medical Genetics Program in South Western Ontario at London Health Sciences Centre, Victoria Hospital in London Ontario, Canada.
Brenda has participated in focus groups and workshops with the Assisted Human Reproduction Agency and Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society with a focus on relevant legislation, policy development and the changing face of the industry. She is an active member of the Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society, involved in the Nurses Special Interest Group, with participation on the Education Committee and Standards Committee. She also sits on the Women’s Care Council, the Women’s Care Program Ethics Committee, The Fertility Clinic Quality Care/ Patient Safety Committee and Public Relations Committee.
Highlights of her career include: being an invited guest to Saudi Arabia to operationalize a Fertility Clinic and teach the staff the fundamentals of reproductive medicine and fertility treatment; participating in national advisory boards for the pharmaceutical industry; development of the Nurse Training System affiliated with Merck; organizing and chairing a yearly, accredited CME program for referring physicians titled, Advancing Wellness in Reproductive Health and various public speaking events.
Brenda’s numerous certificates of achievement include Project Management, Essentials of Leadership Excellence and Emotional Intelligence.