First MN grad uses education to reinforce focus on patient perspective

28 June 2012

Mary GlavassevichThe Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing has offered a graduate program leading to a Master’s degree since 1970. Initially, the only program offered was a thesis program leading to the degree of Master of Science in Nursing (MScN). In 1991 the degree designation was changed to Master of Science (MSc). Since 1993, the Faculty has been offering a non-thesis Master’s program leading to the degree of Master of Nursing (MN). Mary Glavassevich was one of the first to graduate from the Faculty with the MN designation in 1995.

In some ways, Glavassevich’s career has been guided by a principle imparted by her mother: “Life is not all about you.” Even before completing her master’s degree, she was committed to improving the patient and family experience with a particular focus on the care of patients with head and neck cancer. However, she desired further knowledge and education to more effectively improve patient care. With the support of colleague and professor emerita Judy Watt-Watson, Glavassevich decided to pursue an advanced degree at U of T Nursing.

Glavassevich’s dedication to patient care meant it was important to her that she remained involved in clinical practice while broadening her managerial skills. At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, she has had the opportunity to meet both those objectives. Working within her current role as patient care manager, Glavassevich has continued to conduct various studies focusing on the patient’s perspective of care. “Always go back to the patient,” she says.

Glavassevich has attended several international conferences to present her research findings. She conducted a study exploring how Afro-Caribbean adults in Toronto respond to cancer screening as statistics have shown this population does not always access the service in spite of its free availability. The first discussion was held in Singapore, followed by several presentations in Canada and the United States. Her current research examines the discharge process from the patients’ perspective, including a survey of patients’ expectations and the completeness of the information provided to transition to home.

The highlight of Glavassevich’s career, however, was the two weeks she spent in her native country of Montserrat. Invited by the Ministry of Health, she provided basic supplies and equipment required by the local health services department; gave lectures about cancer and diabetes; and was a guest on a local radio show. Moreover, pamphlets were created specifically for the population with input from both the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Montserrat Ministry of Health. Of her two weeks, Glavassevich estimates she spent about one hour on the beach – but the connections she made and people she helped made every minute of the journey worth the trip.

Such an obvious passion for nursing does not go unrecognized. Glavassevich has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the Bloomberg Nursing Award of Distinction (2009); Sunnybrook’s Leo N. Steven Excellence in Leadership Award (2009); and, the Second Chance Scholarship, Award for Leadership within the Community (2010). She’s also a very active fundraiser, most recently collecting $11,000 to help nurses from Sunnybrook and developing countries attend an International Conference for Cancer Nursing in September 2012.

It’s clear Glavassevich has flourished since earning her MN from Bloomberg Nursing and we look forward to following her continued contributions to the profession.