Cameron Brine, vice president, employee experience at Fraser Health Authority believes that no other workplace has been affected by the pandemic the way health-care has.
“The past few years have really taken a toll on our people,” reveals Brine. “Helping our staff address and mitigate fatigue and burnout is a top priority. In addition to putting well-being resources in place to support our teams, we’re addressing core issues contributing to burnout, such as workload, staffing levels and safety concerns. We’re making changes to shift our workplace culture — to fix the root causes.”
When the pandemic hit, Fraser Health had to quickly change how it delivered care.
“In our critical care units, it was a matter of how quickly we were able to ramp up, bring in people who’ve never worked there before and increase their skills almost immediately when it normally takes years,” says Brine.
“We created new career laddering and bridging programs for our clinical care staff, which provided a lot more opportunities for people to get into different types of work within Fraser Health,” says Brine. “We’re really trying to focus on creating a more multidisciplinary team-based care environment where staff can work together to create the best patient experience possible — where teams not only support one another — but also learn, grow and have the opportunity to explore different career paths.”
According to Jamie Roots, a health informatics lead, Fraser Health’s leadership has always been innovative and supportive.
“I have been a nurse since 2004 and came to Fraser Health four years later. There have always been lots of opportunities, particularly in nursing,” says Roots.
“I was able to take a funded perinatal course and train in a maternity unit. I worked as a maternity nurse while doing tons of teaching with clients and patients, which is my passion.”
Roots shares that while bringing in new nurses and grads is a priority, Fraser Health always looks for ways to provide growth opportunities for existing staff who show initiative in building their careers.
Working in health informatics since 2016, Roots was on the spot in 2020, when her team’s work in electronically managed health-care went from a far-off aim to an immediate must-have.
“We had to learn, right then, how to provide virtual-care services and products,” says Roots, “and set up infrastructure that let nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians and allied health-care providers, continue to care for their clients and patients.”
Both the informatics teams and Fraser Health leadership rose to the occasion, Roots says.
“The leadership was excellent in helping us feel supported. While the hours were tough and the work heavy, we knew we were doing something good for our community, and we felt cared for, too,” says Roots.
“They always strongly encouraged staff to make sure that — even though it could seem impossible — we take our vacations because we needed that time off to be productive and positive. And there was a lot of recognition, official and unofficial,” she adds.
“I remember the manager who created personalized holiday ornaments for our whole team after we finished setting up the COVID-19 test sites,” Roots says. “It was the kind of support that made me feel like I could get up and do this again tomorrow morning.”
According to Brine, ensuring employees have the environment and resources they need to thrive is crucial.
“Health-care is and always will be about taking care of people. To provide the best patient experience, we need to also provide the best employee experience. As the saying goes, ‘cared-for people, care for people.’”
This story was produced by Mediacorp in partnership with Postmedia, on behalf of Fraser Health Authority.