Wendy Sherry is going to retire...eventually
Wendy Sherry, the MUHC’s Nurse Clinician for Organ & Tissue Donation, has opted for a progressive retirement which will be complete in 2026. Amazingly, she would’ve been eligible to retire back in May 2020—so why is she staying the extra years?
Back to the start
When Wendy was 21 years old, her first job as a newly graduated nurse landed her at the bedside of patients at the end of life.
“It required empathy. I cried a lot with my dad when I first experienced the passing of some of my dear patients. My dad helped me find healthy ways to deal with it,” shares Wendy. Looking back, she feels that the conversations she was having helped her mature.
Twenty-one years later, Wendy accepted a 10-month replacement position as a nurse in the Organ & Tissue Donation Program at the MUHC. At the time, she did not know much about donation. Wendy decided to investigate the topic and draw up an extensive list of questions. She ambitiously sought mentorship. Thus began her leap into the world of organ donation.
“Two weeks in, I was invited to my first team meeting. The nurse I was replacing, Lisa Goulet, looked at me over her shoulder on the way into the meeting and said, ‘By the way, you’ll be co-chairing the next meeting.’ I also had an internationally renowned doctor, Dr. Sam Shemie, tell me that we needed to have an organ and tissue donation intranet page. I’m thinking, ‘I know nothing!’”
Wendy laughs at the memory now, heartened by how it all worked out through perseverance and proactivity.
Strong motivation, stronger emotional resilience
Wendy describes the Organ & Tissue Donation program as “a hidden jewel” within the MUHC. And polishing that jewel, so to speak, has required a lot of emotional resilience. Among her healthy habits for stress relief, Wendy picked up a beloved childhood activity: swimming. She also pours into her spirituality, taking time to check in with her beliefs and the ways in which her career shapes them. She’s amassed a beautiful collection of funky earrings and enjoys wearing shirts with statements on them.
Spending quality time with her family is also a huge part of Wendy’s well-being. “We make sure that the fun stuff in our lives gets done. It’s important not to dwell on work once you’re home with your family. Instead, we should strive to count our blessings.”
Wendy adds that talking things out with colleagues is essential. “Thank goodness for Teams, where we can see each other’s faces as we speak,” she says. “Engage in active listening and shut out everything else. Talk honestly with your colleagues and share how a patient’s case is turning out and how it’s affecting you.”
Passing the torch
Wendy is thrilled that Andrew Chan, who previously worked as an ER nurse at the Royal Victoria Hospital, will inherit her position once her retirement starts. Andrew has been working alongside Wendy since early 2023, and Wendy says that their synergy is strong. She describes Andrew as bright-minded, thoughtful, and energetic.
“I’m beyond excited to have Andrew on board. He’s already having an impact. He’s got initiative. We’ve sat together and had discussions about the deeper topics of life that are involved in our job.”
Andrew speaks highly of his cherished mentor, too. “I have big shoes to fill. We take things one step at a time and it’s going super well. I’m very happy to be part of the team.”
The MUHC is grateful for Wendy’s outstanding commitment to discovering, organizing, and improving the donation process. She’s made her mark on the MUHC, and also, on the entire province of Quebec. Congratulations Wendy on your (almost) retirement!