Health Care Office Administration, Fanshawe College
What are the roles and responsibilities in your current position?
As a medical secretary, I provide support to all the healthcare practitioners in the clinic, but most importantly the patients. Being the first point of contact is the most important whether it’s a new patient or a patient of 10+ years. We are the friendly voice/face that the patient first hears or sees. It is my job to help ensure the patient feels safe and leaves with no questions unanswered. Along with working with our community members, it is also one of my duties to work with local healthcare agencies to ensure our patients receive proper healthcare and follow-up on new & existing referrals or tests. As busy as the phone lines may get, I may be needed to assist a physician in the exam room, start a blood pressure check on a patient if our nurse is busy, or even just sit with a patient who is nervous. The duties within my position is very broad. I do everything from greet patients, book appointments, complete all the paperwork behind the scenes, and process the physicians daily billing. Working in the healthcare profession, I have a strong passion to ensure I advocate for not only our patients, but all Indigenous individuals, that we receive the same care within our health system.
What barriers did you have to overcome to succeed?
I was nervous to apply to the HOA Program at Fanshawe College being that I was a single mother of 2 and was unable to secure funding to pay for tuition and books. After being accepted into the program, I found out 2 weeks before the start of the program, that a bursary I had applied for was going to be covering the entire cost. After that point, everything fell into place. The duration of the program I faced many obstacles. I quickly had to figure out a balance of “home life” and school. I graduated on the Presidents Honour Roll with one of the highest averages in the program and end up finding a job that I absolutely love!
Working in healthcare for nearly 5 years now, I’ve seen many barriers for our community members accessing healthcare, such as something as simple as transportation. Many individuals won’t attend a local hospital because of ongoing racism and discrimination. As more cultural safety/awareness training programs become available, it makes for indigenous individuals to gain trust with our healthcare system and be our own advocate.
Having a solid support system, whether it be family, friends, or mentors play such an important role in your path. Remember: You have more people than you know, cheering you on and wishing you all the success!
What is your advice for healthcare students?
My advice to students pursuing healthcare or current, be sure you are passionate of your healthcare career choice. Do your research, ask questions, and talk to professionals in the same field. It’s important to understand what your potential day-to-day work load looks like.
It was very important to me to have a support system during my healthcare education journey. It’s nice to have those encouraging words, support, and an ear to listen.
Healthcare education can be very demanding, but at the end of the day, it’s one of the most rewarding fields to be in. Just to know you’ve helped someone, even if it’s a simple task such as picking up the phone to listen to a patient needing to talk to someone. But also, never forget to take time for yourself.