2016 Conference

Conference Overview

This year’s conference will be held on January 14th, 2017 at Four Points by Sheraton Kingston.

There will be a mosaic of topics, with an overarching theme, “Explore Nursing” The first portion of the conference will have all attendees together to hear speakers present general themes in nursing, client-centered care, and how the nursing profession is progressing. The latter half of the conference will have three different focus groups, with attendees being able to from three topics:

  • “Building Blocks, Building Futures” – Pediatric Nursing
  • “Let’s Talk” – Mental Health Nursing
  • “Under the Knife” – Operating Room Nursing

For more information, please check out http://knsc25.wixsite.com/knsc !

Conference Speakers

Gordon MacDougall


Gordon MacDougall is the Sr. Vice President of Advancement, Student & External Affairs at St. Lawrence College. A member of the senior executive team, Gordon has primary responsibility for a broad portfolio of operations including Marketing & Communications, Recruitment & International Education, Office of the Registrar, Applied & Institutional Research, Planning & Policy Development, Strategic Enrolment Management, Student Services, Alumni & Development, External Affairs and Business Development. Prior to this most recent appointment Gordon’s background included a variety of senior management roles including Chief Information Officer (CIO) for more than 12 years, Vice President of Education & Information Technologies, and Vice President for Business Development & Technologies. In addition, Gordon served as Interim President & CEO of the college during the six month presidential search in 2012.

A graduate of St. Lawrence College – Brockville campus, he continued his studies at the University of Western Ontario. His career at St. Lawrence College began as a faculty member in the School of Nursing 26 years ago. His nursing career included experience in psychiatry, emergency, long-term care and as a nursing professor at St. Lawrence College. He has extensive experience in planning, process re-engineering, and project management, and has led a number of institutional strategic and business planning initiatives.

A strong community supporter, Gordon has been extensively involved in regional economic development, business and health care. As a long time board member and past Chair of the Kingston Technology Council, he developed a keen interest in the regional business community. He went on to serve as Vice-Chair of the Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO), where he was a Director for 6 years. Appointed as a Kingston General Hospital Governor in 2005 he served as a Director on the Board, as well as on a number of committees of the hospital, until 2013.

Gordon actively participates in a number of provincial college system committees and working groups, and is a faculty member with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges Leadership Development Institute. He also sits on the Advisory Board for the Queen’s Family Health Team.

Laurie Gedcke-Kerr


Laurie Gedcke-Kerr graduated with her Bachelor of Nursing Science in 1993 and with her Master of Science in 2004 both from Queen’s University. She has held a variety of positions at Kingston General Hospital including staff nurse, Clinical Instructor and Coordinator of the Pediatric Oncology Program. She began her nursing career in the Adult population and switched to Pediatrics in 1999.

Laurie joined the School of Nursing at Queen’s University in 2005. Her current areas of teaching are in the third year of the Undergraduate Nursing Program. She coordinates both the theoretical and clinical courses that relate to Family Centered Nursing Care. She teaches the Pediatric Nursing Theoretical components of the Family Centered Nursing Care Theory Course. She also supervises and teaches third year students in the clinical setting at Kingston General Hospital during their Pediatric Placement. In the past she has also taught and supervised students within their integrated practicum in the fourth year of the undergraduate program as well as in the Physical Assessment course in the second year of the program.

Vikky Leung


Vikky Leung is a staff Registered Nurse at the Hospital for Sick Children where she currently works in General Paediatrics, Infectious Disease. She has also had experience collaborating on a hospital-wide project as an Informatics Nurse at SickKids. During her undergraduate studies at Ryerson University, she was a nursing student leader in her advocacy for better support of nursing students’ career planning and professional development from the nursing faculty, and created positive impacts on issues of diversity and inclusivity through her roles as Co-Director the CNSA Regional Conference 2012, acted as Policy & Political Action Officer for the Nursing Students’ of Ontario (NSO) and the Rainbow Nursing Interest Group (RNIG) of Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). Today, she continues her dedication to the nursing profession through her role as President of the Ryerson Nursing Alumni Association, acting as her unit’s RN Practice Council Representative, and through her participating in developing career planning and professional development online modules for nursing students. Vikky will be starting her Master of Nursing in Leadership in Health Care Policy and Education program this fall to pursue her passion for teaching nursing students and being a lifelong learner.

Rosemary Thuss


Rosemary Thuss graduated in 2012 with her BScN and a concurrent certificate in Practical French from Western University. She is currently a Registered Nurse working at London Health Sciences Centre. She has worked in Pediatrics-medicine and oncology and the NICU. For the last two years, she has called Children’s Emergency her home. She has a special place in her heart for pediatric oncology and continues to volunteer as a nurse at Camp Trillium every summer and throughout the year. She also worked at Sick Kids on the oncology floor while she was a nursing student. Her husband completed his masters at Queen’s, so Kingston has always been a city they enjoy visiting. Come November, her baby will be 5 months, so she will have both babe and husband in tow.”

Christina Toppozini


Christina Toppozini received her BScN from Queen’s University in 2003 and then moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to work on a general pediatric ward. While is Saskatchewan, Christina also worked as a public health nurse in the Baby Wellness Clinic and the Teen Sexual Health Clinic. In 2006, she moved to Ottawa to work in CHEO’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and became a member of the Rapid Response Team. After moving to South Africa for a year to complete her Capstone project on Pediatric Tuberculosis, Christina received her Masters of Public Health from the University of Waterloo. In 2010, she moved back to Ottawa to work briefly as Case Worker for CHEO’s HIV Clinic and as a PICU Educator. Christina is currently the Trauma, Resuscitation and Simulation Educator at CHEO, but also enjoys volunteering her time to medical missions in developing countries. Christina has been published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases and will be presenting an abstract at this year’s Annual Eastern Ontario Regional Trauma Conference.

Ken Thomson


Ken started his career in 1990 at the outbreak of the Gulf War as a Medic when he joined the Canadian Armed Forces. Serving with distinction over a twenty year career in Rwanda during that tiny nation’s genocide, the Former Yugoslavia, Cyprus, and a host of domestic disaster relief missions.

Ken became an RN in 2003, and has spent the last five years applying his training administering to Canada’s worst and most violent offenders for the Correctional Service of Canada at Millhaven Institution in Bath, ON.

Marina Kanellos-Sutton


Marina Kanellos-Sutton is the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner for the Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Program and Mood and Anxiety Clinic at Hotel Dieu Hospital in the Division of Child and Adolescent Mental Health in Kingston, Ontario. She is also the Chief Medical Officer for St. Lawrence Youth Association since 2004.

She completed her Diploma in Nursing through St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing through Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and her Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate through Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.

She has special interests in dental surgery, conscious sedation, and research.

Mitzi Mitchell


Dr. Mitzi Grace Mitchell is a Professor of Nursing at Seneca College where she specializes in research, nursing theory, mental health, ethics, leadership, and gerontology. Dr. Mitchell holds the following degrees: BScN, BA (Sociology), MHSc, MN, DNS, PhD (Public Health). She has written many peer-reviewed papers, along with book chapters. She has presented at national and international conferences as an expert in gerontological health. Her passion for teaching earned her the “Early Career Teaching Award” at York University in Toronto, Ontario in 2010. She also has been nominated multiple times for TVO’s best lecturer award. Her work focuses on caring and healing. Her number one priority, in her life, is her family. Currently, she is conducting a research study concerning the effects of anxiety among nursing students preparing to write the new CNO exam in Ontario.

Tracy Parker



Tammy Richards


Tammy completed her nursing education in Brockville at St. Lawrence College in 1994. She entered into the Operating Room course in September 1995 and graduated in May 1996. She started at Kingston General Hospital in June 1996 where she worked in all services. Her favorite quickly became Cardiac and she was the assistant clinical leader for many years until she became Cardiac Clinical leader in 2004. She then furthered her education and completed her Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) in December 2010. Tammy became a full-time RNFA in September 2011. She now works with 3 other full-time RNFA’s. Their specialty is cardiac surgery although they do assist in other departments such as Vascular, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Plastics and General Surgery.

She is married to Scott and mother of 2 girls, Mackenzie 15, and Taylor 12. She has a small hobby farm outside of Lansdowne where in her off time she shares her passion for horses and dogs with her family.

Gillian Gravely


Gillian has 30 years of health care experience, the vast majority of which has been in Perioperative Nursing.

Gillian received her Diploma in Nursing in Dublin, Ireland, and the Integrated Operating Room Course at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London, England. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ryerson University and a Masters of Arts in Education program from Central Michigan University

Gillian joined University Health Network in 1989 as a perioperative nurse and held a variety of roles in the department including resource nurse, Clinical Educator and Patient Care Coordinator. Gillian became the Nurse Manager for the Operating Room at Toronto General Hospital in March 2006. Her portfolio increased in April 2007 when she took on the role as Nurse Manager for the Operating Room and PACU at Princess Margaret Hospital.

Gillian manages one of the largest and most complex operating room departments in the country that deals with very high acuity patients. She has been involved in expanding its footprint with the addition of a multipurpose operating room and a guided therapeutics operating room. She is responsible for the operational and organizational effectiveness of her departments. This is not only from the financial and human resource perspective but also in developing, implementing and managing short and long term strategic plans linked to departmental, program and corporate goals.

Nicole Sullivan


Nicole completed a Bachelor of Physical Education, majoring in Sports Sciences, from the University of New Brunswick in 1996. Nicole went on to obtain a Diploma of Sports Injury Management from Sheridan College in 1999. Her exposure to Orthopaedic surgery during her schooling sparked her interest in becoming an Operating Room Nurse. Nicole went on to complete her nursing education at Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology in 2004.

Nicole briefly worked at McMaster University Medical Center on a post-operative orthopaedic floor while registering for George Brown College’s Post Graduate Operating Room Nurses course. At that time she secured a position in the operating room at the Hamilton General Hospital which is an adult Level One Trauma Center.

Nicole worked in Orthopaedics/Trauma/Sports Medicine, Neurosurgery, Cardiac, Plastics/Reconstruction/Burns, Vascular, Urology, General Surgery and Spine. In 2007 she became Service Resource Nurse (SRN) for the Orthopaedic/Trauma/Sports Medicine Service. In 2008 became the SRN for the Spine Service where she remained in the position until November 2013. During her time as SRN she was a member of various committees and worked on Ministry projects.

Nicole moved to Kingston in December 2013 where she is now employed in the Operating Room at KGH and helps out with the RMC Rugby team.

The clinical experiences provided through these prior educational experiences exposed Nicole to various operating rooms and clinical settings where she fell in love with orthopaedic surgery. Observing the OR and the various roles within it made Nicole realize that working in an orthopaedic OR as an operating room nurse would be her dream job. She immediately obtained a position working on a post operative orthopaedic floor at McMaster University Medical Center while she registered for George Brown College’s Post Graduate Operating Room Nurses course.