A compassionate force. A breath of fresh air. These are just a few of the phrases used to describe Canterbury Staff Educator, Afia Gyan. It is Afia’s responsibility to stay up-to-date on the latest protocols so she can train hundreds of staff how to do their best job. 

Born in Ghana, Afia moved to Canada at the age of ten. She always had a passion for health care.  “I always wanted to be a nurse and my mom always supported me the best she could,” says Afia.

 Gyan would go on to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2011 before joining the team at Canterbury in July 2019. Some of the areas Afia has been responsible for training  since her arrival include person centered care, infection prevention, medication assistance, dementia care, risk management, fall prevention, safe bath and shower water temperature checks, incident reporting and oral hygiene just to name a few!

 “My favourite part of what I do is just being in front of staff, and being able to interpret things for them and explain it so they can understand,” says Afia. “Sometimes if you read something it doesn’t always stick and it doesn’t resonate, but me being there and breaking it down, I find that it makes a difference.”

 Jason Rinas, Canterbury’s Senior Human Resources Manager says, “You give her a concept and she just runs with it, she leads by example, she’s always on the floor doing one-on-one training with staff to advise them,” says Rinas. “She’s compassionate yet assertive.” 

 Jason adds that Afia is confident and has become a critical part of the team at Canterbury.

 “She’s constantly educating herself on new techniques and information, things change all the time within healthcare and she always stays on top of it,” says Rinas. “When the COVID pandemic broke out she didn’t even hesitate, she just jumped to do whatever was needed and adapted incredibly well.”

 “When COVID hit, I put my educational plan on hold and focused solely on COVID-19,” says Afia. I repeated infection prevention, making sure we’re washing our hands, making sure we have our masks on, ensuring everyone knows what PPE is, how to don and doff properly. I helped ensure we’re cleaning when we need to clean, 10 even 20 times per day and that they’re using the correct PPE, and practicing proper hand hygiene.”

 “My role has changed but not too much,” Afia laughs humbly. 

To say that staff have had to simply adjust amid COVID-19 would be an understatement. Not only do front line workers like Afia, health services, housekeeping and dietary staff have to contend with the changes in their personal lives, but they are also responsible for helping those most vulnerable, make big changes in their lives and daily routines as well. All while keeping the countless protocols, procedures and measures top of mind to protect the health and safety of fellow staff and those who call Canterbury home. 

“Even though you might be stressed about work sometimes, you’re happy to do it because everyone is so grateful,” says Afia.

“I find that because of the mindset that we’re all doing this together, it makes us happy to come in and do the job.”

It’s a job that’s critical to protecting the nearly 250 residents living at Canterbury and it is with great appreciation that we thank Afia and all Canterbury staff for their tireless efforts. Canterbury has not had a single case of COVID-19 within our walls and we have the dedication of our staff to thank for that.