PFCC Star of the Month: Paule Comtois, Nurse Clinician, Nephrology

Marika Edvi, December’s PFCC Star, nominated her colleague Paule Comtois for this month’s award. “Paule worked for a time in Urology and that’s when I first got to know her,” says Marika. “Some of our patients are followed in both Urology and Nephrology so we often work together with the same families. She connects so easily with patients of all ages, and she advocates on behalf of families with everyone on her team. She is really knowledgeable and families know they can depend on her for guidance and support.” In addition, Marika says Paule gives her time outside the Children’s by volunteering at the Kidney Foundation’s summer camp and with Dreams Take Flight. “She’s very deserving of this award,” says Marika.

When Paule started at the Children’s, she worked on the hospital’s medical unit but eventually moved to the Nephrology clinic. “I really like working here,” she says. “It’s an interesting field which covers a lot of issues and different problems. The families need a lot of support and that’s where I feel comfortable.”

Most of Paule’s patients have chronic kidney disease and many will eventually need dialysis and transplant. Paule’s role in the department is in a pre-dialysis context, which for any individual patient can span a period of months or many years. She also follows patients with glomerulonephritis.

For Paule, practicing patient and family-centered care means starting with the family. “When I first started in the clinic, I’d be so eager to give families all the info I wanted them to know,” she says, “but I’d sometimes notice they were lost in their thoughts.” She soon realized that it was more important to assess their needs first, an approach that she takes with each new family she meets.

Paule sees the family as the centre of the team, and in Nephrology, the multidisciplinary approach is always evident. “We work with many people whether it’s a social worker, nutritionist, nurse or physician. My goal is always to support the family and help them take charge of their child’s disease, and be ready for dialysis and transplant when the time comes.” Fatma’s son Houssam is followed in Nephrology and the family has known Paule since the first day they came to the Children’s. “Paule is an angel,” says Fatma. “She really helps me so much. My son has been a patient at the Children’s for more than four years and he’ll be starting dialysis fairly soon. Paule has always been there for us. She’s really fantastic.”

Even though many of Paule’s patients transition to dialysis and are under the care of another nurse, she continues to communicate with them about what’s happening in their lives. The nephrology team members also keep each other up-to-date on their patients. “We have great communication in our department,” she says. “Everyone in our group brings their knowledge to the table so that we always try to get what’s best for every patient and their family.”