Ms. Sonia Heppell receives the Dr. Denis Roy Award for Excellence in Nursing

June 4, 2020

The Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) is proud to announce that Ms. Sonia Heppell has received the Dr. Denis Roy Award for Excellence in Nursing. This new award, which was made possible thanks to Dr. Denis Roy and donors of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF), was created to honour a member of the nursing staff who has stood out thanks to the excellence of their work. More specifically, the award acknowledges initiatives that improve practices and the care provided to patients as well as those that encourage and recognize the exceptional work of the MHI’s nursing staff.

The award is an initiative that was made possible thanks to Dr. Denis Roy, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist at the MHI. After receiving a $17,000 grant from the prestigious Persillier-Lachapelle award bestowed by the government of Quebec in June 2018, he created the Fonds pour l’excellence en soins infirmiers which made the Dr. Denis Roy Award for Excellence in Nursing possible.

A nurse dedicated to shaping the future of the profession

Ms. Sonia Heppell is an exceptional nurse with two master’s degrees. She is also one of the first specialized nurse practitioners (SNP) in cardiology and stands out thanks to her skills and the human-centric approach she employs when providing care to patients. With her great diligence and professionalism, she inspires confidence in her patients and colleagues.

Alongside her commitment to her duties at the MHI, Ms. Heppell has held various key roles within the Faculty of Nursing at Université de Montréal, including coordinating SNP internships, all while pursuing her clinical practice at the MHI, a position she has held since 1985.

A nurse dedicated to the fight against COVID-19

On April 23, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Heppell volunteered to head a multidisciplinary team of about 50 people from the MHI to provide assistance at CHSLD Vigi Mont-Royal for a month.

The following testimonial was sent to Ms. Mélanie La Couture, President and CEO of the MHI. It describes Ms. Heppell’s contribution to the success of the mission: “We want to express our profound gratitude to everyone who has supported us since the beginning of our mission at CHSLD Vigi Mont-Royal. There are no words to describe how precious and vital your support has been to maintaining our physical and mental well-being. In closing, we want to add that we are eternally grateful to Ms. Heppell, our guardian angel, who has selflessly organized the mission and who is always on site to welcome, encourage and listen to us.”

“We are proud of the tangible initiatives we’ve created to recognize the excellence of our teams who play an essential role in the daily lives of patients. Ms. Sonia Heppell is a pioneer in her field. Her determination to improve her skills in order to meet the complex needs of individuals suffering from cardiovascular diseases and their family members is an achievement that must be recognized,” said Ms. La Couture.

“I have been privileged to bear witness to Ms. Heppell’s professionalism in her interactions with our patients. Her contribution to our field and profession are proof of her dedication. I greatly admire her and she is a cherished colleague,” said Ms. Anie Brisebois, Director of Nursing at the MHI.

“I am glad that Ms. Sonia Heppell has been rewarded. Her influence on the development and training of specialized nurse practitioners, her contribution to services for patients suffering from heart failure and, most recently, her leadership and extraordinary altruism that allowed a team from the MHI to provide emergency support to vulnerable individuals at a care home make her an inspiring model for the nursing profession,” said Dr. Denis Roy.

“I’d like to thank Dr. Denis Roy and the donors of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation for their generosity which has made this award possible,” added Mr. Alain Gignac, CEO of the MHIF.

About the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation

Founded in 1977, the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation raises and administers funds to support the Institute’s priority and innovative projects and fight cardiovascular diseases, the world’s number one cause of mortality. Its philanthropic events and the contributions of its donors have enabled this leading cardiovascular health care organization to become the largest cardiac research centre in the country. Since its creation, the Foundation has raised more than $283 million in donations. Its 27,514 donors helped make important discoveries and support specialists, professionals and researchers of the Institute to provide care at the cutting edge of technology to tens of thousands of patients in Quebec.