October 11, 2014 |

de Souza Designation is the symbol of nursing excellence in oncology and palliative care

Etobicoke, October 13, 2014- de Souza Institute, an innovative centre of learning dedicated to improving cancer care by supporting excellence in oncology nursing, would like to celebrate World Palliative Care Day by recognizing registered nurse Valrie Hursefield of William Osler Health System with the distinct honour of being the third de Souza Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) in Ontario.

de Souza Designation is recognized by nurses, employers, patients and their families, policy makers and the public as a symbol of cancer care nursing excellence. de Souza Institute offers four designations – de Souza Nurse Associate, de Souza Nurse, de Souza APN and de Souza Scholar.

Valrie Hursefield, a Clinical Nurse Educator in Palliative Care Medicine at William Osler Health System, had been working towards her de Souza Nurse Designation since 2011.  In obtaining this designation, she successfully accomplished her CNA palliative care specialty certification, earned 4.0 de Souza course credits, and completed 150 hours of a clinical fellowship, focusing on the development of advance care planning provider training material and a patient education booklet.  These materials will be routinely utilized in clinical services at William Osler Health System, supporting greater patient involvement in health care delivery and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.


“I am truly passionate about positively influencing patient care outcomes and ensuring patients have exceptional experiences,” said Valrie. “This designation has provided me with in-depth knowledge and experience so that I can provide expert consultation to other nursing staff and implement patient care improvements.”

To date, 6000 nurses have participated in de Souza Institute courses and workshops. In just over six years, the Institute has resulted in an 80 percent increase in nurses achieving specialized certification in oncology and hospice palliative care.

“de Souza Institute congratulates Valrie on being the third de Souza APN in Ontario.” said Dr. Mary Jane Esplen, Director of de Souza Institute, “By earning the de Souza Nurse Designation, Valrie is ensuring that patients at William Osler Health System have access to the best quality care.”

Valrie is joining fellow colleagues, Lollita Rahaman and Komal Patel, in receiving her APN designation. It is to be noted that all three de Souza APNs come from William Osler – this is a testament to the organizational commitment to workforce training, support and continuously striving for high quality care at William Osler.

The demand for nurses with expert skills in health care is continuing to grow. Over the next 10 years, Ontario will see a 40 percent increase in the number of people living with cancer; many of them will require specialized palliative care in hospitals and in the community.

“We are proud of Valrie’s accomplishment,” said Joanne Flewwelling, Executive Vice President, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive, William Osler Health System. “The need for high-quality palliative care services in our community is growing and we value having highly experienced and qualified nurses at our hospitals providing exceptional care to our patients.”

For further information about de Souza Institute visit


About de Souza

Established in 2008, de Souza Institute in partnership with University Health Network, Cancer Care Ontario and funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, provides ongoing educational support, professional development and career counseling to Ontario nurses caring for cancer patients and families.

de Souza Institute is providing nursing excellence by delivering innovative continuing education and mentorship programs; helping nurses to achieve national certification, and supporting nurses in self-care and career development.