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Delia Palmer, a Black Woman, stands in a hospital office hallway. She is wearing a black shirt and a coral coloured blazer.
Delia Palmer held a variety of HHS nursing leadership roles before becoming a chief of interprofessional practice last year. Now, she encourages others to become leaders as well.
February 21, 2024

Being an example of support and inspiration for generations to come

Delia Palmer is a Chief of Interprofessional Practice at Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre (JHCC). She works with hospital leaders, staff and physicians to improve patient outcomes and staff wellness by collaborating with a variety of other health care professionals. Together, they provide the highest quality of care in a variety of hospital programs.

While Palmer is in a leadership role at HHS, she describes her role as more of a supporting one.

“How do I support an individual to be their best, whether it’s in career development or just wanting to be the best nurse they can be,” says Palmer. “Each of us is part of the larger puzzle. We work collectively to serve the community. It’s a challenging role with a little bit of everything, but it’s very rewarding.”

Forging a path for others

Palmer began her career at HHS in 2001 as a staff nurse, providing care for patients across several departments. She also held a variety of leadership roles such as admission nurse, dedicated discharge nurse, charge nurse, unit leader, clinical leader and clinical manager before becoming a chief of interprofessional practice in June 2023. She says she has always had a passion for people. “It’s what drives me and fuels me,” says Palmer.

“I encourage my colleagues and others to share their stories about their personal and professional growth. Each journey is different, but there’s a purpose behind it and others can be inspired by it.”

“I’m particularly proud of being a member of HHS and the positive relationships I’ve built over the years, especially those relationships that are mentoring relationships,” explains Palmer. “I feel like others have made a path for me and encouraged me to keep going. The road to becoming a leader in our complex system is not easy – there have been lots of challenges – but it’s about perseverance because it’s worth it.”

Now that she’s fully embraced her role, Palmer enjoys sharing this perspective with colleagues, either through one-on-one sessions, larger team meetings or other opportunities to connect and share ideas for improvement. “I keep encouraging people to do the same. It’s not so much a matter of race, but it’s something I try to do for all persons,” she says.

“I encourage my colleagues and others to share their stories about their personal and professional growth. Each journey is different, but there’s a purpose behind it and others can be inspired by it.”

Inspiring future generations

When asked what Black History Month means to her and how she chooses to celebrate or observe, Palmer is considered in her response, acknowledging it’s a topic that means many things to many people. “Black History Month is a comprehensive term,” says Palmer. “It’s a purposeful time to celebrate this rich heritage we have and reflect on our legacy as Black people so that the next generation and each successive one after that are inspired.”

Palmer expresses a heightened sense of pride and responsibility during Black History Month. She says it’s important to her that people within her realm of influence are inspired by Black Excellence.

“From the past, the present, even those who are looking to be great leaders in the future,” says Palmer, “I celebrate personally by being reflective and appreciative, share with my family and community, sharing stories and information about significant contribution of Black people specifically as a community and as a whole.”

From sunrise to sunset

In reflecting on the significance of Black History Month, Palmer provides an intriguing perspective on life itself and how she wants to be remembered. “I agree with the concept that everything has a beginning and an end. For me, it’s about what you do with that time in the middle,” explains Palmer. “Every sunrise is a new opportunity to reattempt, to retry. It shows me that time is limited, it’s what we do with the time we have that really matters.”

“In my sunrise to sunset, what am I the answer to?”