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November 18, 2014 1:38 PM

Developing leaders for health care

Heidi Holmes, program coordinator and full-time faculty member in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Conestoga, has been chosen as the first RN in Canada to participate in an exclusive leadership development program designed to prepare nurses for influential roles in geriatric care.

The Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy (GNLA) is an 18-month fellowship program presented through Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing in partnership with Hill-Rom and Hearst Foundations. The Indianapolis-based organization, dedicated to advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership and service, has more than 135,000 members in more than 85 countries around the world.

Holmes, certified as a gerontological nurse specialist by the Canadian Nurses Association, has served as a Nursing faculty member at Conestoga for 11 years. She is one of six participants in the fellowship program, which develops leadership knowledge and competencies through mentoring, workshops and monthly learning activities as well as the completion of a major project focused on enhancing the health of seniors.

For her project, Holmes will contribute to the development of a new post-graduate certificate program in gerontological nursing at Conestoga that will provide RNs and RPNs with the specialized knowledge and skills required to better meet the needs of seniors and their families.

She will be mentored by Dr. Veronique Boscart, CIHR/Schlegel Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Seniors Care at Conestoga and advised by Dr. Deborah Cleeter, an executive leadership coach and CEO of the Sawgrass Leadership Institute in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Cleeter will visit Conestoga on November 20, delivering a keynote address on Effective Leadership in Health Care for college personnel, local health care representatives and affiliated groups from across the community. The event will take place at the college’s Waterloo campus beginning at 5:00 p.m.

“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Cleeter to Conestoga, and absolutely delighted that Heidi has been chosen to participate in this important program to help advance seniors care here in Canada and around the world,” said Marlene Raasok, executive dean of Conestoga’s School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services. “The GNLA fellowship will augment and extend our ability to improve the quality of life and care for older adults through leadership, innovation and training.”

As well as hosting the CIHR/Schlegel Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Seniors Care, Conestoga is the workforce development partner for the Schlegel - University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging, working with the University of Waterloo and Schlegel Villages to discover, develop and implement strategies for supporting our aging population.

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