Juliana Hayford, Registered Practical Nurse, poses at Michael Garron Hospital.

Meet Juliana Hayford, Registered Practical Nurse at Michael Garron Hospital

Tell us about yourself! 

Hi, my name is Juliana Hayford and I work as a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) in postpartum care at Michael Garron Hospital’s (MGH) Family Birthing Centre (FBC). I’ve been working at MGH for 22 years. 

What motivated you to join MGH?

My goal has always been to work with patients at the bedside, to help people in need and to contribute to the community where I live. Working at MGH has enabled me to achieve these goals and make a difference in the community.   

Two decades ago, it was difficult for me to get a hospital job because I was a newcomer without Canadian nursing experience. However, I received an opportunity to work in the Complex Continuing Care Department in another healthcare facility, taking care of patients who were palliative or requiring chronic ventilation. 

When the ventilation program was discontinued in that facility, all patients on ventilators got transferred to MGH (then called Toronto East General Hospital). During the move, some of the patients requested to have a known nurse continue to provide care and support for them, so I ended up getting hired at MGH.  

It was an honour to continue to care for the same patients and provide support for the ventilation team. It was also a great opportunity to join MGH. 

What types of learning, mentorship or professional development opportunities have you had the opportunity to pursue since joining MGH?  

I have had several development opportunities during my time here:  

  • Not long after I joined MGH, I had the opportunity to learn basic computer skills in the hospital’s Organizational Learning Centre. It may not sound like a big deal today as computer charting is done in all healthcare settings, but it was important at the time because we were doing paper charting. 
  • I completed a breastfeeding course offered by MGH and was trained in Baby-Friendly Initiatives. 
  • I often participate in training on the use of new equipment to get updated information and skills to improve my care capacity. 
  • Annual Basic Life Support certification and biannual Neonatal Resuscitation Program certification help me stay up to date in my practice. 
  • I have been a clinical mentor for new hires and students. I also love to share my knowledge and skills with my colleagues. 

Can you share your career path at MGH? 

2002-2007: I worked in MGH’s Complex Continuing Care Department. 

2007-2010: I worked in MGH’s Transitional Care Unit, which was a new program at the time. 

2010-present: I transferred to the FBC, where I support families during postpartum. Joining the FBC was a dream come true for me. I had midwifery experience before coming to Canada, and it was so exciting to work with babies and families again. This position has ultimately allowed me to use my knowledge and skills and to achieve my goals of working with families and making a difference in the community we serve. 

What motivates or inspires you?  

I am motivated by sharing the joy of a newborn with families, and providing teaching, education and assistance to parents during the postpartum transitional period before they go home. I always get a sense of satisfaction seeing the difference I have made in people’s lives. 

I am also inspired by my team at MGH. Their dedication, teamwork and commitment to patient care inspires me to be better every day. 

What's one memorable moment from your time at MGH? 

I’ve had many memorable moments during my career at MGH, but I would like to share one experience I had working in postpartum.  

During one shift when I was making rounds, I noticed a baby in a patient room that was twitching, like having a seizure. The mom was in the room, but on the phone with family sharing the joy of the new baby girl. She had no idea what was happening with her baby. 

I immediately realized the urgency of the situation. I called the paediatrician right away, talked to the mom and informed her what symptoms the baby was experiencing, and assured her the care team had been mobilized. The baby was then quickly transferred to MGH’s Special Care Nursery (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). The baby received a timely assessment, began treatment with the team and was later transferred to the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). 

The most rewarding part of this experience happened two years later. At work, I was approached by a woman in the hallway, who turned out to be the baby’s mom. She thanked me for saving her daughter’s life two years previous. It took me a moment to recall the events, but I remembered it. The woman thanked me and hugged me tightly. She said that she remembered being comforted by my soft voice at that shocking moment. She said my calmness, professional conduct, and the words of encouragement   helped her get through those difficult days. She was very grateful.  

It is always nice to know the difference we make as care providers. 

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