The Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario is governed by an eight member provincial Board of Directors, all RPNs.

Maxwell B. Hamlyn, RPN, ORT, UT

I graduated from the College of Trades and Technology in St. John’s Newfoundland as a Certified Nursing Assistant in 1977. Shortly after graduating from college an opportunity to train as scrub nurse became available. Upon returning to work I was then sent on another educational course in Urology. In 1979 I secured a job in Halifax, working the operating room at the Victoria General Hospital. Once in Halifax I realized I needed to be registered in Canada to work as RNA, I completed my exams the following year. With my background in OR Nursing I was able to move around to different provinces. One of my moves took me to the Northwest Territories, a very exciting and challenging working environment. After eleven and a half years I returned to Ontario. I decided a change in careers was in order and I moved to community nursing, a career decision which I continue to enjoy. During my first year in community, I was asked to join the Palliative Care Outreach Program, a program consisting of doctors and nurses providing in home end of life care. I worked as a Nurse Consultant specializing in Palliative Care and Symptom management. For the last 4 ½ years of my over 7 years with the program, I was the Program Director responsible for the daily running of the program as well as directing the care of over 60 clients and a team of 7 doctors (5 full time and 2 part time).

I have been working as an RPN for 37 years now and am still enjoying every minute. I went into nursing to give it a try and I have never looked back. Being an RPN has taught me so much and I am a firm believer in education such as the Leadership course which I have just completed, and am always looking for educational opportunities within the profession.

I have been a Member of the Board of Directors of the RPNAO for just over a year now and am amazed at the work that the RPNAO does in the province and for the RPN’s of Ontario. This has been a great learning experience for me. I am privileged to have this opportunity to help shape the association as well as promoting the RPNAO. The one major thing I have learned as a board member is that we are all dealing with the same issues no matter where we work in the province.

Linda Keirl, RPN 
President - Elect

Linda’s career in nursing began in 1974, when she graduated from the practical nursing program at St. Clair College’s Windsor campus. For the next 23 years, Linda was employed at Grace Hospital, working in the postpartum, labour and delivery, and pre-natal assessment clinic. Through an amalgamation process Linda was then transferred to Hôtel-Dieu Grace’s telemetry/medical unit, staying there until 2005.

After a life-changing experience caring for Linda’s mother-in-law, who died at home, as planned, she decided to change her area of practice to community nursing, joining Saint Elizabeth Health Care (SEHC) in 2005. In this role, Linda cares for children needing G-tube feeding and is very involved with the palliative care consult team at SEHC’s Windsor service delivery centre.

Not surprisingly, as an RPN who has changed practice sectors and worked in specialized areas of care, continuing education and professional development have played extremely important roles in her growth and development as a professional.
As for leadership opportunities, Linda has found being a preceptor and mentor for students and colleagues to be very fulfilling — watching others grow, and growing herself through that. 

Melissa Erdodi, RPN 
Board Member - Region 1

Melissa graduated from the practical nursing (PN) program at Lambton College in Sarnia in 2005. She began her nursing career in palliative care at Bluewater Health, Sarnia and at St. Joseph’s Hospice of Sarnia Lambton.

She was then able to share her expertise as a Fundamentals of Palliative Care course facilitator and her career continued as a community and Community Health Centre (CHC) nurse. At CHC, she played an integral part in the creation of a chronic disease team.

Later, Melissa’s diverse experience and skills led to her obtaining the role of Supervisor of Home Support Services at Lambton Elderly Outreach (for Sarnia and Lambton County), where she is the Infection Prevention and Control Offi cer and Accreditation co-lead.

Deanna Clatworthy, RPN 
Board Member - Region 2

Deanna Clatworthy is a registered practical nurse (RPN), public speaker and health educator. She is the HIV Clinic Coordinator and Nurse at HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health (ARCH) in Guelph, which cares for individuals who are living with or affected by HIV. Transgender health services is a new program offered at the ARCH Clinic and was developed and led by Deanna.

In addition to her work in com- munity-based health care, Deanna also works part-time at two family health teams located in Guelph. Deanna is a graduate of Conestoga College and is currently attending McMaster University and is enrolled in the Addictions Counselling program. Deanna recently completed training offered through Rainbow Health Ontario in transgender health care.

Deanna is passionate about teaching and presenting on topics regarding HIV/AIDS and is committed to reducing HIV Stigma in health care and removing barriers to enhance and better support the health of transgendered persons. Deanna has previous experience serving as a board member with other organizations and is honoured to be a part of this esteemed panel of nurses and looks forward to representing Region 2 with RPNAO.

Evelyn Belchior, RPN 
Board Member - Region 3

Evelyn has spent 20 or her 27 years in health care working as an RPN. She graduated from Niagara College in 1987 as a Healthcare Aid and completed a bridging program to RPN in 1995. Evelyn has experience in long-term care, surgical, palliative, complex continuing care, orthopedics, plastic surgery clinic, wound care, emergency room, urgent care and, currently, specialized mental health.

Emergency/urgent care and mental health have been key areas of interest for Evelyn, as both require flexibility, critical thinking and a strong commitment to nursing practice and those we serve.

At the RPNAO AGM in 2012, Evelyn co-presented on role evolution for emergency room RPNs.

Evelyn has keen organizational and process skills that encompass both best practice, collaborative care, mentorship and fiscal responsibility. She has mentored many RPNs and nursing students and also believes strongly in continuing education. She is looking to complete the RPN upgrading certificate to diploma program this fall.

Evelyn believes nurses have an important role to play in the evolution of health care and that all nurses should pursue their leadership potential to the fullest.

Wesley Green, RPN 
Board Member - Region 4

Wesley Green, RPN, has been a full-time staff nurse in the Float pool at Trillium health Partners Mississauga Hospital site for the past eight years, working in medicine, surgical, rehab, and complex continuing care in-patient areas.  Wesley began his career in nursing ten years ago, graduating in 2005 from Lambton College in Sarnia, completing much of his clinical nursing education at Blue Water Health in Sarnia, before being hired into a temporary part-time position on a general surgical floor.  He practiced at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial on a medical/respiratory unit and cardiology/neurology unit before entering his present position at Trillium Health Partners. 

Wesley plays a number of key roles at his current organization, including being an active member of the Nursing Advisory Council, a RNAO Best Practice Champion for Developing and Sustaining Nursing Leadership, and RPNAO Workplace Liaison.   Outside work Wesley has server on the RPNAO advisory panel for the RPNAO project Utilizing RPN’s Knowledge, skill and Judgement for quality Patient Outcomes and panel member for the RNAO update of its best practice guideline for Developing and sustaining safe and effective staffing and workload practices.    

As a nurse, Wesley finds enrichment in lifelong learning and the continuing growth of his knowledge and skills.  Wesley has completed both and Operating Room Nursing and Neuroscience Nursing 1 Certificate, is GPA certified and was one of the first RPNs to complete the Neuro Nursing 1 Certificate, as this certificate was previously offered only to RNs.  Wesley considers continuous learning to be one of the greatest benefits of having a career in nursing.  He feels there is always a greater level of knowledge to be gained in any area of practice, and believes Nursing is never boring.

Suzanne Schell, RPN
Board Member - Region 5

Suzanne has worked in several areas in nursing including inpatient hospital, weight loss clinic, ambulatory patient care clinic and teaching in a practical nursing program.

After graduation, she began working at Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston and obtained experience working in areas including general surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, ENT, GI, urology, gynecology and general medicine.

She earned a diploma with honours in General Business in 2001 and in 2010, she bridged from RNA to Diploma prepared RPN and graduated with honours.

Suzanne continues to work at Hotel Dieu Hospital, ambulatory care clinics (mainly the ear, nose and throat clinic) but has experience in clinics such as orthopedics, plastic surgery, cardiology, endocrinology, pain clinic, infectious diseases, gastroenterology, neurology, general surgery, breast assessment, respirology and urology. In addition, she accepted a position at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, where she is an instructor in lab and is the lab lead.

Suzanne is an active volunteer and her interests include kayaking, biking, camping, watersports and just having fun with her family. Suzanne is married with four children and resides in the Kingston area.

Debora Cowie, RPN
Board Member - Region 6

Debora Cowie graduated from Durham College, Oshawa Ontario in 1991 and has been an RPN at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences for the past 25 years.

She is also a grief and bereavement educator, PCSIG member and an instructor in nursing leadership. Debora has remained actively engaged in clinical leadership throughout her nursing career as a mentor and preceptor to PN consolidation, RPN to RN bridging and new graduate initiative students as well as a BPG panel member for end-of-life care and crisis prevention.

Debora is very passionate about educating PN students and nurses in order to expand their knowledge base and depths of understanding to better care for patients and families.

Stephen Massaro, RPN
Board Member – Region 7

Stephen’s nursing career began in 2012 after graduating from the Practical Nursing Program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay.  It didn’t take long before he found is calling in long-term care at the Pioneer Ridge Home for the Aged.  At Pioneer Ridge Stephen had the privilege of providing care to residents living with Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of Dementia.  There he sat on the Wound Care and Responsive Behaviors committees and was a preceptor in Spring 2013.  In 2015, Stephen was the proud recipient of the "Martha Award", RPNAO's Excellence in the Care of Older Ontarian's Award.

With the consolidation of long-term care homes in 2016, Stephen found himself at the newly constructed Hogarth Riverview Manor.  He appreciates the opportunity granted by the residents for allowing him into their home and allowing him to be part of their care. Most recently, he has expanded his horizons by returning to his Alma Matar to assist Practical Nursing Students with nursing skills in lab.

April Plumton, RPN
Board Member-at-Large

April Plumton is a passionate believer in the positive role Registered Practical Nurses (RPN) play and the differences they can make in the health care system. She has had a career in nursing for twenty-six years working the past nine years in primary care.  Over this time, April has seen a need for knowledge and the use of collaborative practice within healthcare teams and the role of the RPN, particularly at the Belleville Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic (BNPLC). While working there she applied for and was fortunate to receive an RPNAO Leadership/Clinical Practice Fellowship, which gave her the opportunity to fill a knowledge gap about the role of the RPN. Ms. Plumton has demonstrated proficiency in diabetes education and has a keen interest in educating the public and health care providers about diabetes awareness and prevention.  She has experience in working autonomously with diabetes patients, well-baby exams/visits, childhood/adult immunization programs, a hypertension program, phlebotomy as well as acute care and new patient assessment visits.  She has been an instrumental part of implementing the “Insulin Pump Therapy and Education Program” at the BNPLC, along with becoming a certified center for the “Assistive Device Program” in 2012.  April is the coordinator and primary contact for the Belleville Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic Insulin Pump Program and a member of the Diabetes Program. She also holds a special interest in the Well-Women and Smoking Cessation Programs with training in the Stop and Ottawa Model programs.  April has been nominated by the Loyalist College nursing program for a 2016 Premier’s Award for her work in diabetes and the insulin pump program at the BNPLC. April is very much involved with community health as she is a member of councils and committees.  She has previous experience serving as a board member with other organizations and will be honored if chosen to represent RPNAO going forward with the hope to support her keen interest in better healthcare for all through the expanded scope of practice of RPN role.

Roshni Lad, PN Student
Ex-Officio Board Member

I am a second year Practical Nursing Student at Humber College. I am hard-working, dedicated and a very friendly person. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science from University of Ottawa however did not seem satisfied with what I can do after.

I have always had a love for being with people and talking to them as well as studying medicine. This is something I realized when I volunteered on the Oncology Unit at The Ottawa Hospital General Campus. When I heard, of Practical Nursing I decided to try it out at a college close to home. Within the first few months of the program I felt I finally found my niche. It is also where I found I can be a leader.

I started being a liaison between the students in the program and the faculty and found myself joining any clubs offered on campus related to nursing specifically, the Humber Nursing Society. Currently, I am part of the executive board of the Humber Nursing Society and I am also a peer mentor on campus, helping first year Practical Nursing students as they embark on their journey to become Practical Nurses. I have fallen in love with the profession and I look forward to where my career will take me. I also feel honoured to play a role with RPNAO, an organization I learned about at school and started looking up to thereafter.

The work done in role clarity is something that as a student I appreciate because it allows me to learn my full scope of practice without any hesitation. I hope that I can play the role of being the voice of Practical Nursing students and help the organization shape the profession for tomorrow’s practical nurses.