Membership Spotlight

Mary Widas at her office at PLC

For our first RN spotlight edition, I had the honor of interviewing Mary Widas at the Peter Loughheed Center (PLC). We reached out to Mary to learn more about her role as a MTU Navigator and what this role entails. 

Mary has been a RN for 43 years, originally completing nursing school proudly at Mount Royal College. She credits her vast knowledge, not just to nursing school, but also to the real-life hospital environment. The exchange and sharing of ideas and knowledge with those around her has been phenomenal for her personal growth. 

Please read further to learn more about Mary!

Q: Mary can you tell us about yourself? 

A: For the last 12 years, I have been the Internal Medicine MTU Coordinator at the Peter Lougheed Hospital.  I orientate and guide medical residents and clinical clerks within the medical teaching teams at the PLC. There are three teams I oversee. Each team has Senior and Junior residents, as well as Clinical Clerks.  Each team oversees the care of around 20-30 patients.  

I also have embraced a navigational role where I work in both autonomous and collaborative practices. I work across the disciplines to help patients on their journey during hospitalization. Some of my supportive roles with patients and their families include: advocacy, education, communication and collaboration. This can also include family meetings, goals of care, and further discussions regarding connection to community resources.

My diverse background of inpatient care, from patient admission to discharge, leads me to believe that my prior experiences prepared me for my current position. I firmly think that no problem is too big when we all work together.

Some of my past medical experiences include Hematology, General Medicine, IV Team, and Rehab Staff Health.  My position was the first of its kind at PLC. I feel happy I could tailor my role to meet the ever-changing needs of our patients, and the PLC as a whole. 

Q: What are some current nursing challenges you can identify?

A: Today’s challenges are trying to stay up-to-date with societal changes that reflect our current patient population.

Some of these challenges include the opioid crisis, new developments in advanced care planning, medical aid in dying and the legalization of marijuana.

I find there is more pressure on acute care to “fix” a multitude of issues. Each challenge presents an opportunity to further explore and optimize outcomes. 

My hope is to empower patients to take ownership and to become better partners in their care plan. I cannot always change the outcome, but I will ALWAYS try to make the patient’s journey easier. The best way for nurses to manage these challenges today is to work as a team, take creative approaches to patient care, and sharing best practices with colleagues.By maximizing community resources and working together, I think we can further empower patients to become more independent in their care and better manage chronic illnesses. 

Q: What are your core nursing values?

A: My core nursing values are compassion, critical thinking, commitment, and ethical consideration. 

Nurses can be the calm voice in the storm. We must guide patients through the storm. Each interaction with a patient, and their family, gives us the opportunity to improve their care. 

Q:What does the UNA mean to you?

A:When I started my nursing career, there was no union! I have seen the formation of the union and the positive impact it has made to nurses. To me, the UNA means having a supportive voice for both workplace conditions and fiscal negotiations. The UNA is the invisible backbone for nurses, and they are very approachable when needed.

Q: What is a statement you would like to pass along to other nurses?

A: Always do the best you can with what you have at the time. 

Take the time to listen to patient stories; this is what makes us human. 

Realize that health care is continually evolving and we must strive to do the same. I work with every day heroes. 

Q: Aside from nursing, what are some of your favorite past times?

A: I love spending time with my husband, two children, and grandson. I also enjoy cycling, cross-country skiing, nature, traveling, reading, music, and learning more about ethical challenges in my free time. 

Motivational photos from Mary’s office

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