Thompson Rivers University

Ryzynski recognized for remarkable leadership

November 8, 2018

Agnes Ryzynski graduated from the Open Learning program last spring and is being honoured tonight for her outstanding leadership in her field. Kim Anderson Photo

There is no room for error inside Canada’s largest trauma centre.

Having a unit run smoothly doesn’t happen on its own or by accident. Over the past three years, Agnes Ryzynski has been managing the Simulation and Curriculum Development at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, ON. Her efficiency and her exemplary work recently earned her a prestigious award.

“There are a number of words that came to mind when I found out I was up for the award: surprised, humbled, incredibly honoured. I felt very grateful for the phenomenal team that I work with, such that we can imbed simulation in areas where we need it most,” said Ryzynski, who completed a Bachelor of Health Science in 2018 through TRU’s online and distance learning division—TRU Open Learning (OL).

Ryzynski is the recipient of the annual Leo N. Steven Excellence in Leadership Award for the work she has provided since graduating from the OL program.

“I would like to acknowledge TRU as an influencer in my journey and my development. My advisors were great supporters, always finding solutions to any problems that arose,” said Ryzynski. “The courses I took through Open Learning have contributed to everything I do as a leader. They have influenced my practice and critical thinking.”

The Bachelor of Health Science degree that Ryzynski acquired through her studies with TRU is instrumental in her role as a manager.

“The client-directed care, human resources and supervision courses, to name a few, have made me more effective as a leader and contributor to impacting the Ontario healthcare system. I can apply this knowledge to influence change in a complex healthcare system,” said Ryzynski. “Everything that I learned through my Open Learning courses, I’ve been able to apply with my team, building our capacity and diversity of initiatives.”

Photo courtesy of Kevin Van Paassen/Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Policy sheets and committee meetings can only get you so far nowadays. Ryzynski is responsible for organizing simulations to study systems and implement quality improvement strategies in managing stressful situations, while building high performance teams with the ultimate goal of improving patient and staff safety.

“The objective we’re trying to achieve by running the simulations take place in the same setting they would naturally occur is to prepare the interprofessional team and system to perform at the highest level for when those situations actually arise in real life,” she said.

Ryzynski leaves no stone unturned. She engages in practice procedures for everything from how to send a nervous patient home properly, to a layout of everyone’s duties if a mass crisis was on their hands.

“I always want to know why. Why are we not seeing everything? What are we missing in each scenario? I encourage others to think, ‘We don’t know what we don’t know.’ There are issues lurking in each scenario or situation that haven’t been uncovered yet,” she said.

With her degree in her back pocket, Ryzynski is adding onto her already busy schedule by working on her Master of Health Science in Translational Research with the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto.

But despite a busy life, Ryzynski took a much deserved evening off, accompanied by family and a few friends, to celebrate all the hard work she has put in since leaving the OL program.

Agnes Ryzynski accepts her award from CEO Dr. Andy Smith (right) and former CEO Leo Steven.

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