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Q&A with Sherra Solway

Toronto, May 13, 2016

By Melissa Di Costanzo

Sherra Solway prepares staff on 4 Bond for accreditation
Sherra Solway prepares staff on 4 Bond for accreditation by playing “reverse Jeopardy:” a game that tests staff knowledge of St. Michael’s standards and practices. (Photo by Yuri Markarov)

Sherra Solway is trained as a physiotherapist and has a master’s degree in rehab science and a master’s of health science degree in health administration. She took on the position of quality lead for accreditation at St. Michael’s one year ago, just in time for the organization’s May on-site survey.

Q: What attracted you to this job?
I was intrigued when I saw the role posted as a full-time, permanent position. Typically, accreditation roles are contract, to prepare an organization for the once-every-four-years on-site survey. I learned St. Michael’s embraces the spirit of accreditation, which is that it is a quality improvement journey. I truly believe it should be something that is positive: we’re looking for opportunities to serve patients better.

Q: What kind of accreditation-related experience do you bring to the role?
I was a director of best practice, patient care projects and patient safety at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, where part of my portfolio was ensuring all required organizational practices are up-to-date and in place (ROPs are essential accreditation practices that organizations must have in place to enhance patient safety and minimize risk). I’ve always been passionate about best practice and quality improvement, and that sparked an interest in accreditation and becoming a surveyor (senior health-care professionals from accredited organizations in a variety of health and social services sectors who conduct the on-site survey, assessing the quality of programs and services against the standards and sharing their expertise).

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your role?
Working with the accreditation team leads and staff, helping them with their improvement efforts, and providing them with the support they need to be ready for accreditation and to do their own roles. Working with the people who really want to make a difference and who really want to do a great job – that makes me feel like I’m making a contribution.

Q: What are your plans the week after accreditation?
Looking through travel catalogues and planning my summer retreat... and then preparing for the next round of accreditation (in 2020).

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.