Leading the way: This alumnus doesn’t shy away from responsibility, big responsibility

9 May 2016

Jonathan Fetros (MN 2009) has the perfect office for a nurse who sees the big picture. The office boasts two gigantic windows. One window overlooks St. Michael’s Hospital where Fetros is the clinical leader/manager of the diabetes and renal transplant programs. The other looks straight at the neo-Gothic steeple of Metropolitan United Church.

“We see miracles in our programs,” begins Fetros. “The transplants – the miracles are there. But there are also miracles in the diabetes program when patients who haven’t been able to manage their diabetes score optimal A1C levels.”

The programs Fetros manages span three specialties – endocrinology, nephrology and urology. He has more than 50 direct reports including professionals in nursing, dietetics, social work and chiropody. He oversees a $7 million annual budget. “I’m not a micro-manager, but I do keep a close eye on my budget,” Fetros says. “These are tax dollars that the public has entrusted to us.”

Using the skills he honed at Bloomberg Nursing’s Health Systems Leadership and Administration Program, Fetros supports staff development, assesses components of the programs, initiates quality improvement projects and selects what meetings to attend. “I’ve learned how to weed out meetings,” he says. “I’ve learned when it’s OK to send one of my team members. I may be the ‘boss,’ but I’m not the expert in all of the clinical aspects. In many situations, I step down and let other member from my team step up.”

Knowledge to share

Considering that Fetros graduated from Bloomberg Nursing’s administration program only seven years ago, his rise to this senior management position has been swift. Previous to his current position, which he has held for three years, he was a point-of-care nurse for two years, team leader for one year and manager for eight years. “Now I’m more comfortable in the leadership role because I know and can express my core values. I believe in integrity as a leader and as a person. I believe in collaboration.”

Fetros also believes in contributing to the development of future nurse leaders. As a Bloomberg Nursing adjunct lecturer, he gives guest lectures to our undergraduate students and precepts graduate students. Currently, he’s precepting his third grad student in the administration program. The preceptor commitment is for at least two days a week for almost four months.

Fetros and the student concentrate on quality improvement projects, but Fetros also encourages the student to engage with and learn from the staff. “I have a lot of faith and trust in my team members,” he says.

Policies, protocols

“The staff come to me with ethical dilemmas,” he continues. “In transplant there are lots of ethical issues, particularly with living donations. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered: Does the potential donor feel pressured to give a kidney? Are there monetary gains? Monetary gains from donating an organ are illegal in Canada.”

Unmanaged diabetes is the biggest cause of renal failure, and Fetros oversees the largest laparoscopic living donor program in Canada. “There are simply not enough kidneys from deceased donations to go around,” he explains. “At St. Mike’s, there are 350 people on our wait list for a kidney, and the wait can be up to seven years.

“My goal is to contribute to making our health care system better, particularly for people living with chronic disease. The most satisfying part of my job is seeing patients and families being grateful for our programs. There’s nothing better than patients making far-reaching improvements in their health.”

Susan Pedwell is a writer with Bloomberg Nursing at U of T.