Ontario Long Term Care Association

Ontario Long Term Care Association

October 27, 2011 12:52 ET

A Nurse and Problem-solver Recognized for Leadership

Former mechanic shines as a caregiver

ST. MARYS, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 27, 2011) -

Attention: Assignment Editors, Health Reporters, Lifestyle Reporters and Community News Reporters

For some, it might seem like a stretch but for Ken Long, there are definitely similarities between the work of a diesel mechanic and that of a nurse.

He should know because he's well-versed in both professions, having traded his ratchets and torque wrenches nearly 20 years ago for a different type of toolkit linked to the health and well-being of residents in long-term care.

Long is one of four registered nurses recognized this week through the Ontario Long Term Care Association's Nursing Leadership Awards, and he speaks openly about the honour of being named among this year's recipients, and of his transition in professions.

"It is very much an honour," he says, admitting that after learning of his nomination, "I didn't really think I had much hope of winning."

He's been a full-time nurse for the past eight years and his leadership and compassion through his work at Kingsway Lodge in St. Marys is clearly evident in his nomination forms.

Specifically highlighted is his support among staff in times of grief and loss.

"As you have people with you, sometimes for several years, some of them really strike home," so when residents pass away, "it can be a very traumatic time."

Earlier this year, for example, the home experienced the sudden loss of five residents during an outbreak and, as his nomination form states, "his willingness to share his feelings with his staff enabled them to share theirs as well, enabling the healing process to begin."

His approach to wound care was also cited in his nomination, and as he speaks about it he relates back to his former profession.

"You know, the problem solving is not much different," he says, and "using the tools that you do have at hand" is how he tackles the challenges posed to resident health.

In terms of wound care, he says "this is the age of technology and communication so we now take pictures of all our wounds... and we also use measuring devices."

In this way, Long says doctors are able to visualize the problems and recommend treatment in real time, so the collaboration between doctor and nurse is more effective.

He says increasing his capacity to treat complex wounds is a focus of his ongoing education, and he looks forward to the rewards he receives from the smiling faces of the residents he serves every day.

About the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA)

OLTCA represents the operators of more than 430 charitable, not-for-profit, private and municipal long-term care homes. OLTCA homes provide care, accommodation and services to almost 70,000 seniors annually and employ about 50,000 Ontarians.

Contact Information

  • To arrange an interview or photo with one
    of the Nursing Leadership award winners
    Michelle Gradini
    (905) 470-8995, ext.39