CCNS Excellence Awards 2015
Leadership Excellence – Mr. Philip Shaheen, Pharmacist, Cape Breton Cancer Centre
Philip Shaheen graduated from Dalhousie School of Pharmacy in 2003 and spent seven years in community practice, first as a staff pharmacist and then as a manager. He joined the Cape Breton District Health Authority (now Eastern Zone, Nova Scotia Health Authority) in Spring 2010, and began oncology training in the fall. He became the designated Pharmacist for oncology at the Cape Breton Cancer Centre (CBCC) in January 2011.
Since then, Philip has worked with CBCC staff and others to better understand and respond to patients’ medication needs. He provided leadership to create a state-of-the-art facility at the cancer centre for preparing chemotherapy. In recognizing the need to enhance patient safety, he worked with a team of health professionals to develop pre-printed oncology physician orders and a computer program to help calculate chemotherapy doses, serving as a verification tool for pharmacists preparing the orders. From 2013 – 2015, he chaired the Chemotherapy Working Group, charged with planning and developing a small Medical Day Unit within the Cape Breton Cancer Centre, and conducting long-term planning for an expanded chemotherapy treatment area. In addition to providing expertise locally, Philip shares his expertise on provincial and national committees.
Excellence in Patient Care (Volunteer) – Mr. Murray Salsman, Volunteer, Grafton, Kings County
Murray Salsman experienced the medical, personal and life challenges of a cancer diagnosis both as a patient himself and as a caregiver to his wife, Margaret, who died of cancer in 2004. In honour of Margaret, and in thanks to the Cancer Patient Navigator at the Valley Regional Hospital who helped his family throughout Margaret’s illness, Murray decided to ‘pay it forward’ and help support cancer patients in his community who were in need.
Murray started Marg’s Glad Garden, in honour of Margaret, an avid gardener, and the Margaret Salsman Cancer Memorial Fund. Through the sale of the flowers and donations to the Fund, he has been able to help many patients with expenses such as providing gas money to get to appointments, delivering a tank of oil when money is tight, and covering a month’s rent.
Today, with the help of many volunteers, Murray and his wife Dorothy, both cancer survivors, plant between 8,000 and 10,000 bulbs each year. The Cancer Patient Navigation Program now refers patients with financial need to the charity. Since its inception, the charity has paid out more than $120,000 to help cancer patients and their families deal with financial challenges.
Excellence in Patient Care (Health Professional) – Ms. Karen Hoben, Palliative Care Nurse and Coordinator, Guysborough County
Karen Hoben, a graduate of St. Martha’s School of Nursing, has more than 32 years experience as a Registered Nurse serving small rural communities and hospitals in Canso and Guysborough. She has dedicated the last 14 years of her career to serving the needs of palliative care patients and their families.
While always interested in cancer and palliative care, her mother’s diagnosis and death from cancer in 1989 made her realize palliative care was her true calling. In September 2001, Karen was hired as the first Palliative Care Coordinator / Nurse Consultant for Guysborough County, which started as a pilot project to bring Palliative Care to the area. She received National Palliative Care Certification in April 2006 and spent a further week studying at St. Christopher’s Hospice in London, England in October 2010. Today Karen is a resource and support for both cancer patients and families, and for all who work in the cancer field.
In the words of one of her patients, “Karen’s visits became a lifeline to both myself and my husband. She helped improve not only my quality of life, but my family’s too. By providing us with all the right information we needed, we could understand everything that was going on and be happy we knew all we could.”