PFCC Star of the month: Maryse Dagenais, Advanced Practice Nurse

Donna Drury and Maryse Dagenais have worked together in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for many years. “Maryse is a great multidisciplinary team member, and respected by everyone who works with her,” says Donna. “I nominated her for the PFCC Star award because of her ability to guide the team to focus care on the child and family, which she achieves by listening to families and including them in the decision making for their child. She really makes enormous contributions to what we do.”

Maryse feels the idea of patient and family-centered care has been an essential part of her practice since she began her career. “Just a few months after I started working at the Children’s, I met a mom who really taught me a lot about a parent’s role in looking after their child,” she says. “As I gained experience, it made more sense to me that taking care of a patient was easier if you’re working together with their parents.”

In her first couple of years at the Children’s, Maryse transferred to the PICU where Dr. Franco Carnevale became her mentor. “He shared a very valuable idea that families are not visitors on the unit,” she says. “I feel strongly that if parents want and need to be here with their child, then this is where they belong.” She adds that she and her colleagues are there to help parents in whichever way they want to be helped.

Even though Maryse has been in the PICU for more than two decades, she never stops learning. “Every situation is new,” she says, “so even though we may have seen a child’s condition before, their experience and their family’s experience will be unique.”

Kim’s son Jake has been in the PICU since he was born. “Maryse is excellent,” says Kim. “My son has a heart problem, and that’s often our biggest focus, but Maryse looks at the big picture to make sure he’s growing properly and look after all the other things that need to happen.” Kim also appreciates Maryse’s ability to provide reassurance and comfort about what Jake is going through. “She’s really there for you all the time, and she’s a great advocate for the patient.”

Maryse has always liked working in intensive care. “The pace and the complexity make a lot of people think that it’s very far from family-centered care,” she says. “But the opposite is true. It doesn’t make sense for us to do our work without taking care of the family too.”