First RPN in Ontario to Earn the de Souza Distinction

October 09, 2014

It takes a special person to watch over patients with a terminal illness; at Georgian Bay General Hospital one of those special people is Cheryl Latondress.

Cheryl, a palliative care nurse, is the first Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) in Ontario to receive a Designation from the de Souza Institute.

Cheryl completed more than 150 hours of continuing education in cancer/palliative care to earn the prestigious de Souza Nurse Associate Designation. This Designation showcases advanced knowledge and expertise in palliative care.

"We are very proud of Cheryl and her accomplishment," said GBGH President and CEO Karen McGrath. "Cheryl is one of the stars here at our hospital and has a long list of achievements including being the recipient of a Board Award of Excellence for her role in helping us to bring to fruition our Neegaan Naabwag (Looking into The Future) Healing Room. I think it is safe to say everyone at GBGH is proud to have someone like Cheryl as a colleague."

The de Souza Institute was established in 2008 in partnership with the University Health Network, Cancer Care Ontario and funded by Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and provides ongoing educational support, professional development and career counseling to nurses and other health care professionals caring for patients and families living with a life threatening illness such as cancer. Cheryl's designation provides her with advanced knowledge and expertise in cancer and/or palliative care from managing symptoms of a life threatening illness, providing care coordination and emotional support, to assisting patients and family in making treatment decisions for optimal end-of-life care.

"Palliative care is my passion.  I am proud to receive my de Souza Designation and to be the first RPN in Ontario to receive it is a great honour." said Cheryl. "My new-found knowledge from de Souza Institute will certainly be a valuable asset."

Cheryl enrolled in the program three years ago. Many of the courses were available online which allowed her to continue working.

 "Cheryl Latondress is a role model for all RPNs across Ontario."." said Dr. Mary Jane Esplen, Director of de Souza Institute, "With her specialized de Souza training and Designation,  Cheryl is providing patients at Georgian Bay General Hospital the best palliative care."

Cheryl has been nursing for almost 30 years and continues to provide excellent palliative care and support.

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