Welcome to The Iron Maiden! My name is Leona, and I live in the Greater Toronto Area. With my background as a registered nurse consultant in patient blood management at a Toronto community hospital, in combination with my own personal health struggles, I am an advocate for the early diagnosis and treatment for iron deficiency – hence, the creation of my new blog!
My goal is and always has been to empower my patients to be health care consumers rather than be consumed by health care. As health care evolves, patients must be well informed and willing to contribute to the process that determines the direction their care takes.
Read below for more information on my experiences in the health care industry and my own personal health experiences, including iron deficiency. To read my entire health journey, check out My Story: From the Bottom of My Heart.
Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions on any post.
After graduating from the University of Ottawa, School of Nursing, I worked in Emergency Services for 20 years before a health crisis related to inflammatory bowel disease left me unable to work at the pace I once did. This caused me to switch directions and I entered the field of pharmacology research. After 4 years in this venue, I longed to return to patient care – fortunately, I was able to parlay my research experience into a position in a patient blood management program.
The mandate of a patient blood management program is to optimize patients prior to major surgeries to reduce dependence on blood and blood products. Statistics show that many patients with lower than optimal hemoglobin (less than 130 grams) had iron deficiency – given the luxury of time, many of these patients benefit from iron supplementation. Since beginning this role, my personal health history evolved into yet another area of special interest; after bariatric (weight loss) surgery, I developed iron deficiency related to malabsorption, secondary to bariatric surgery. I quickly learnt that strategies I had applied to my pre-operative patients could easily be applied to patients like myself.
My practice has always been guided by two credos: Nursing is where the science of medicine meets the art of caring and Knowledge is power.