The sound of Von-Sudan Lorde’s pager rings out throughout her work day. She’s a Cleaner on one of Bridgepoint’s inpatient units. Von has been at Bridgepoint for 18 years. She started in the Food Services department and moved to her Environmental Services role 10 years ago.

Von’s role involves a lot of interaction with patients and family caregivers. “Patients and families often connect with the Environmental Service employees who are in and out of their rooms every day,” she says. “I see that patients really need interaction, empathy and love. I’m here for the patients first.” For Von, being there for patients includes being a good listener, talking to patients and reminiscing with them. This can be as simple as enjoying the view of Riverdale Farm and the park  from the patient’s room and talking about memories of the local community.

In addition to working with patients, families and employees on the unit, Von is also well-known at Bridgepoint for getting involved and embracing opportunities to learn and engage with her colleagues. “I think I’ve taken every class, every seminar available at work,” she says. Von is on the Blazing Paddles dragon boat team, volunteered with the United Way campaign; helps out at the annual patient holiday meals and barbecues; and has appeared in posters for the flu prevention campaign and Black History Month.

One of Von’s favourite projects was preparing for Bridgepoint’s big move to the current hospital. When the building first opened, Von volunteered to lead guided tours for visitors and members of the community.

Naturally inclined to help others, Von says she has to be careful not to spread herself too thin. Downtime is important and Von says she enjoys travel, visiting her native Barbados every year to see her family. She’s travelled to England, several cities in the United States and Cuba. This year, she’s planning a Caribbean cruise with friends that she’s known since high school.

The arts are also important to Von, particularly poetry and music. She’s published a book of poems called Reflections. “Poetry is a way of getting in touch with your inner self,” she says.

Von loves expressing herself through singing. “One thing I like to do is call my friends on their birthdays and sing one of their favourite songs.” This gesture matches a philosophy that von brings it to her day-to-day work and the many people she interacts with every day. Her words to live by? “Keep smiling and spread positivity.”

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