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Guelph HIV/AIDS care nurse a finalist for national award

ARCH clinic manager Deanna Clatworthy in the running for CANAC award of excellence

The efforts of a Guelph and area HIV/AIDS care nurse have earned her a nod from peers throughout the country.

Deanna Clatworthy is a finalist for the Jill Sullivan Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice from the Canadian Association of Nurses in HIV/AIDS Care (CANAC).

“She’s very, very dedicated to her work and to the patients,” said Tom Hammond, executive director of HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health (ARCH) where Clatworthy serves as clinic manager. “It’s so hard to describe how much work she does.”

Clatworthy has worked at ARCH for about nine years, providing support for people in the community living with HIV/AIDS. She also played an “instrumental” role in expanding services to include trans health care and introduced a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) clinic to help protect people at risk of contracting HIV, Hammond noted.

“Deanna works endlessly trying to meet our patients’ needs. Our patient numbers continue to grow and our funding does not,” he said, noting Clatworthy also acts as a “valuable resource” for other healthcare providers in the region and fields questions about HIV prenatal care from local hospitals.

The Jill Sullivan Award of Excellence in Clinical Practice, named in honour of a Canadian pioneer in the delivery of HIV/AIDS nursing care, is handed out annually to a nurse who “consistently demonstrates excellence in the application of skills and knowledge” with patients, explains the CANAC website.

“I’m incredibly honoured. It is an important award. I’m honoured to have my work recognized,” said Clatworthy of being nominated. “During the pandemic, when we’ve all been working so hard, it just feels even more special.”

This year’s award recipient will be announced on Saturday during CANAC’s annual conference, being held virtually this time around.

“The HIV nurses do so much complex care,” said Hammond, who learned of Clatworthy’s nomination just a few days ago. “It was really good timing, because it is Nurses’ Week.”

Until recently, Clatworthy served on the board of directors for the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario – a position she held for five years – and currently contributes as policy and political action officer.

In addition to her duties with ARCH, Clatworthy is team lead on Wednesdays at the Skyjack/Linamar COVID-19 vaccination clinic operated in partnership with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health and works to increase awareness and provide education to the community regarding HIV/AIDS and trans issues.