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Bolton nurse receives nursing education leadership award

May 9, 2019   ·   0 Comments


Bolton resident Brenda Orazietti received the coveted Leadership Award in Nursing Education (academic category) by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) recently.

“It’s been amazing,” said Orazietti. “It’s really nice to be recognized and acknowledge for your contribution to nursing. I’ve been a nurse for 31 years and I’ve been always advocating for patients and teaching and students and health care in general. I work really hard teaching. I’ve been teaching nursing in different roles for 17 years. 

The award is presented to a registered nurse or nurse practitioner who practices excellence as a nursing educator in a college or university setting, according to the RNAO. The individual enhances the image of nursing by encouraging critical thinking, innovation and debate about important nursing issues, and acts as a role model and mentor in their work environment. 

Orazietti teaches at York University, works in the intensive care units at Toronto Western Hospital and has her own business of medical aesthetics. Her specialty, however, has been in critical care nursing where she was a lecturer at York University for the past seven years. She teaches several nursing leadership and acute care courses.

“Most people go their whole life without winning an award or receiving any professional formal accolade,” said Orazietti. “It’s really nice to be acknowledged.” 

“You have to be able to demonstrate competency and good judgment and good skills in order to excel in the profession and do well,” said Orazietti. “That led me to being the critical care educator for Etobicoke General, which was the first educator role at the time.”

She went this route after receiving a critical care certificate while working in coronary intensive care at Etobicoke General Hospital. Prior to that, she was at the medical institution working at their surgical floor.

Orazietti is now finishing up a master’s degree in nursing science through Aspen University, after she recently completed a master’s degree in education to start teaching in universities. She graduated from Lake Superior State University (LSSU) with her nursing degree. 

She was always interested in the human body, illness and wellness. She said nursing is a diverse field that there is something for everybody, from health, wellness, illness and birth and death. 

“You can focus on the wellness part and work in public health, you can work in genetics which is huge and blowing up and there’s a huge shortage of nurses in genetics expertise and then there’s the acute care spectrum of birthing babies all the way through to palliative, oncology and end of life and how do you care for someone as they die. We even have organ donation nurses, like Trillium Gift of Life nurses that run programs.”

With a multitude of years as a nurse, Orazietti said nursing has become more complex. Actuate care has exploded and become difficult for a nurse to remain astute, skilled and competent.

“The pace is so much faster and the push to discharge is so much quicker,” said Orazietti. “The acute care, which I nurse in and which I have taught my nursing students in, requires an awful lot of knowledge and skills on a wide breadth of topics.”

She said there is a lot more information now with evidence-based practices and good research to fall back on to treat a lot of patients, but going through all of it is daunting and difficult to keep up with new drugs for example.

“Pharmacology is exploding with hundreds of new drugs every year and formularies changing that quickly,” said Orazietti. “There’s hundreds of thousands of new research articles being deposited in databases.

She said an expert professor is required to help the student navigate through the scientific breakthroughs and how to treat patients. She uses a lot of active learning strategies in the classroom that connects her students to the actual situation, using her own personal experiences.

 “I tell a story about a situation regarding what the topic is of the day, that is being lectured on and between the active learning strategies and activities, a lot of it is team-based learning, practicing questions, case studies, some simulation and role playing,” said Orazietti. “All of that gets mixed up in a lecture and is carefully thought out and planned out and with a mix of my storytelling of real-life experiences, it helps solidify what they learned and how to learn the content.” 

She was inspired to become a nurse while working as a lifeguard in her hometown of Sault Ste. Marie’s, at their municipal pool during her adolescent years. She worked there throughout high school and university. She was curious as to what went on at a hospital. 

“We had a lot of practice drills,” said Orazietti. “We practiced patients having heart attacks, spinal rollovers and resuscitation, CPR, cut legs and fractured bones. For all the serious cases, we would have to call 911 and the ambulance would come and take them to the hospital. 



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