July 26, 2021
Registered Nurse Randi Galenzoski, shown here with her daughter Thea, is a clinical nurse educator at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital. She’s also the recipient of this year’s Gloria Stephens Award for Excellence as an Educator of Perioperative Nursing, presented by the Operating Room Nurses Association of Canada. Photo supplied.
Story by Sherri Gallant
After earning a coveted national nursing award, Randi Galenzoski couldn’t help but smile. She never wanted to be a nurse, but when she failed to get into law school, a friend of hers urged her to give it some thought.
“I decided to take a leap of faith, and I’m so happy I did,” she says. “I can’t imagine my life doing anything else.”
Galenzoski has been a Perioperative Registered Nurse for 15 years, and is now a clinical nurse educator based at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital.
In May, she received the Gloria Stephens Award for Excellence as an Educator of Perioperative Nursing, presented by the Operating Room Nurses Association of Canada (ORNAC). This non-profit body, operated by volunteer Perioperative Registered Nurses, works to promote excellence by demonstrating leadership in patient safety, and by enabling best practice, career advancement and professional development for its members.
Galenzoski’s nursing career began in Calgary, and soon after she returned to her hometown of Medicine Hat. There, she was hired into the Surgical Suite (both OR and Recovery) and started in the Recovery Room.
“I’ll always have a soft spot for those who are waking up,” she says. “They likely won’t remember me — and because of that you might feel that it’s a bit thankless — but you’re doing it for the patient, whether they’re aware of it or not.”
When she started in the OR, she says she knew she was “a lifer”.
“It is entirely different nursing here than anywhere else. I think I grew a thicker skin. I was a pretty naive, brand-new nurse when I started, but I had great support, good mentorship and I believe that’s what got me to where I am today. Now I try to be that mentor for others. I have mentors still, as well.”
The award is named for Gloria Stephens, past president of ORNAC, who was instrumental in the creation of the award in 2009. As a Grade 9 student in Nova Scotia, Stephens wrote a school assignment about her dreams of becoming a nurse. She graduated in 1953 from the Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing in Halifax to begin her career as a public health nurse. Today, now in her 90s, she remains active within the organization.
Galenzoski says her experience volunteering for ORNAC has proven invaluable. At the national level, she’s served as Alberta director and provincial president. She’s currently president at the local level.
“The educational opportunities have been amazing,” she adds.
“I’m proud to have received education that’s innovative, evidence-based and the best-possible practice that you can do to allow for positive patient outcomes. It really has changed my outlook on how I deliver high-quality care.”