“Essential Tips You Need To Know About Being a Patient”. Tilda Shalof, RN, BScN, CNCC(C) – Critical Care Nurse, Medical-Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Toronto General Hospital shared her secrets after having open heart surgery three years ago. Tilda is a patient advocate, a nurse leader, a public speaker, a media commentator and the author of six books about her experiences over 28 years as both a nurse and a patient. She is humorous, compassionate and informative – a healthy mix of warmth and humour!

Many of us are in denial when we know we require medical help and being in the hospital and perhaps on the operating table is about as scary as it gets. All personal control is gone and we are at the mercy of our medical system – no matter how good it is. We hear ourselves saying to our friends, family and doctors, as Tilda Shalof did, “No problem. I feel fine!” Being a nurse for thirty years, Tilda had no choice but to suddenly become a patient and was surprised to discover that she had a lot to learn “on the other side of the bedrails.” Tilda says, “What helped me most was staying in charge of my patient experience and working in partnership with all of my caregivers.” She shared how to do this with her attentive audience at a Canadian Club of Halton Peel dinner, many of whom had either been a patient or a caregiver to someone close.

One very real fear for most patients as they anticipate surgery is that they will not survive the experience. Tilda Shalof recommends that you take the time to think about and write down your wishes in the event that this fear becomes a reality. Your at-the-ready disaster plan might include a trip to your lawyer to draw up a living will. “Tilda says, “Spell out your advance directives. Let your family know your wishes for your end-of-life care. Inform the surgeon.” Record all of your information about life insurance policies, credit card and banking information. The chances are slim that you will need to use this package but just having it handy will help you to relax so you can concentrate on becoming healthy.

Nurses are your best friends during the time you are a patient. Once your doctor has completed his miracle, the nurses will be the people to care for you and to show you what is needed to recover and get to the point where you can resume a healthy lifestyle. What makes a great nurse? According to Tilda, “It takes more than knowledge or skill and it’s not enough to be caring in the sentimental sense of the word … to be a great nurse takes intelligence, energy, imagination and integrity… with love added into the mix. Stir. Shake. Serve!”

With a mix of warmth and humour, Tilda advised us and for those close to us whom we may be representing, how to be informed and effective patients. She says that she learned more from her one-week stay as a hospital patient than in all of her years caring for the critically ill. Burlington’s Different Drummer Books provided a wide selection of Tilda’s books including Opening My Heart – A Journey from Nurse to Patient and Back Again. You can visit Tilda Shalof’s website at

The speaker for the Canadian Club of Halton Peel on April 24, 2014 will be Dr. Jeff Ennis, MSW, MD, FRCP(C), Medical Director, The Ennis Centre for Pain Management. His presentation is titled “Chronic Pain: An Update on Pain Management, from Opioids to Rehabilitation”

Reservations for the April 24 dinner to be held at the Oakville Conference Centre can be made by e-mail (, by telephone (905-827-6302) or by mail (cheques payable to The Canadian Club of Halton Peel, 283 River Side Drive, Oakville, L6K 3N3).

For all your Real Estate needs call Janet Bedford Broker Royal LePage Real Estate Ltd at 905-845-4267



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: