Toronto nurse named Canadian Oncology Nurse of the Year Known as innovator and leader, inspired by her patients, selected by panel of oncology nurses


Calgary (October 22, 2016) — Angela Leahey distinctly remembers the very first oncology patient she encountered as a new graduate over 25 years ago.

“I’ve never forgotten her – her name, her husband, how sick she was and the conversation we had about her treatment, her life, and her death,” she says.

That patient, along with countless others since, directed Ms. Leahey to continue a 23-year career in oncology nursing and ultimately the leadership role she now holds, designing programs that focus on meeting the needs of patients and their families.

It also led to Ms. Leahey being selected as 2016 Boehringer Ingelheim Oncology Nurse of the Year.

Ms. Leahey is the Professional Leader in Oncology Nursing and Manager for Advanced Practice Nurses in Oncology and Palliative Care at the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. She is also the Regional Lead for Oncology Nursing in her area.

She was nominated by her peers for her lead in developing the Nurse Triage Role and Teletriage (a live voice nursing phone line) for cancer patients, initiatives geared toward quickly identifying patients in distress and with the greatest need for nursing resources both in clinic and while at home.

“I believe the patients should always guide us,” Ms. Leahey says. “Increasingly today we are engaging patients in the discussion about their care and I love that. I want oncology nurses to work together to share what we hear from our patients so that we can offer them a better experience during such a difficult time in their lives.”

The fifth annual Boehringer Ingelheim Oncology Nurse of the Year award is presented at the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO/ACIO) Annual Conference, taking place this week in Calgary. The award recognizes the unique contributions of an oncology nurse who consistently demonstrates the highest level of nursing excellence and leadership.

“This award allows us to recognize Angela Leahey for her exemplary commitment to advancing oncology nursing practice excellence through innovation, collaboration, advocacy, and inspiring leadership” said Tracy Truant, President of the Board of CANO/ACIO. “She has consistently focused on optimizing high quality person-centred care; most recently by refining telephone-based triage and care systems to align nursing resources with high risk and unmet patient needs. We applaud Angela for her outstanding and ongoing commitment to our profession. We are enormously proud of all the nominees and their deep engagement to improve oncology nursing practice for the benefit of patients and families, and their communities.”

The criteria for the 2016 award included an emphasis on contributions to advancing oncology nursing and/or health system transformation. Nominations were submitted by healthcare professionals, cancer patients, survivors and members of the community-at-large and were assessed by a panel of Canadian oncology nursing professionals who watched for exemplary service in oncology nursing excellence, oncology leadership and advocacy.

“We are pleased to recognize Ms. Leahey for the fifth annual Boehringer Ingelheim Nurse of the Year Award, and we acknowledge all the passionate and caring nurses like her who were nominated,” said Richard Mole, President & CEO, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. “The direct impact they make on the lives of patients and their families is invaluable. It is clear from Ms. Leahey’s work that she is a skilled innovator and leader, and it is nurses like her who help move this specialty forward.”

The winner is awarded $5,000 towards further education and professional development.

CANO/ACIO will present a webcast of the 2016 award ceremony on October 22, 10:00 am - 10:45 am MDT / 9:00 am - 9:45 am PDT at


CANO/ACIO is the national organization that supports Canadian nurses to advance oncology nursing practice excellence through practice, education, research and leadership for the benefit of all Canadians. Our vision is that CANO/ACIO is a driving force nationally and an influencing force internationally in advancing excellence in cancer nursing across the cancer control spectrum. For further information on CANO/ACIO, the conference and awards please visit

For more information contact:
Anita Webster
604 732-7035