Communication, collaboration and cohesion

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Our Stories

Communication, collaboration and cohesion

How 14CC brought back their Unit-Based Council and energized the team

Toronto, October 18, 2019

By Amber Daugherty

Nurses Shirley Bell, Gloria Cardinal and June Son are part of the 14CC team
(from left to right) Nurses Shirley Bell, Gloria Cardinal and June Son are part of the 14CC team. (Photos by Medical Media)

14CC is a big unit, the largest inpatient unit at St. Michael’s, in fact. With 22 nurses working during the day and 18 at night, it’s possible that there are some members of the same team who might never work together. But they now have the opportunity to connect and learn about one another – thanks to the unit’s revamped council.

The Unit-Based Council (UBC) had been on hiatus for a number of years until Gloria Cardinal, registered nurse, and two of her colleagues had the opportunity to bring it back to life through dedicated time provided by the Late Career Nursing Initiative. They spent some time with 9CC to see how their UBC worked and built on those ideas to create their own. Their first priority was to set objectives: increase communication, improve patient care and create a healthy work environment.

“The key thing about the UBC is that it’s inclusive to all members of the unit, including not just nursing but clerical, physicians, volunteers – everyone,” she said. “We’re getting a lot of positive feedback.”

"If your team is getting along and they’re cohesive, then the care they’re providing improves because they’re happy to be at work." - Kim Grootveld, a clinical leader manager on 14CC

Along with the objectives, Cardinal also helped create T-shirts so team members could share their pride for the unit. Out of everything that’s been done by the UBC, those shirts were one of the most popular. “It might sound silly but I think they really brought it all together to help us feel like a team,” said Jennifer Goss, Materials Coordinator 14 & 15. The UBC includes several subcommittees that work together to make improvements: the social events committee plans events like an outing to a Blue Jays game; the quality improvement team looks at improving patient care through initiatives like MyStory; the recognition committee highlights when someone has received an award or hit a milestone in their career or schooling; the professional development team is on the lookout for opportunities to share; the health and wellness group is focused on making sure people are at their healthiest when they come into work. Everything is pulled together at monthly meetings that are now expanding into night shifts as well due to demand, and a monthly newsletter.

“If your team is getting along and they’re cohesive, then the care they’re providing improves because they’re happy to be at work and they like working with each other,” said Kim Grootveld, one of the unit’s clinical leader managers. “Now we’re seeing increased communication and collaboration.”

The 14CC team
The 14CC team

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 more than 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.

About Unity Health Toronto

Unity Health Toronto, comprised of Providence Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital, works to advance the health of everyone in our urban communities and beyond. Our health network serves patients, residents and clients across the full spectrum of care, spanning primary care, secondary community care, tertiary and quaternary care services to post-acute through rehabilitation, palliative care and long-term care, while investing in world-class research and education. For more information, visit

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