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Career Growth: Helping Patients by Helping Staff

I’ve been a physiotherapist for nearly 30 years now. For the first 16 years I worked in private practice treating people dealing with a variety of challenges including those who had been in car accidents, work accidents and people dealing with chronic pain as well as supporting “weekend warriors”.

Career Growth: Helping Patients by Helping Staff

After that, I spent a few years exploring running my own practice and doing contract work. While I enjoyed the challenge of building up a business and being my own boss, I found it wasn’t as rewarding as I’d hoped.

Then I found home care and Carefor. I stumbled into it, really. My personal circumstances required a steady paycheque and steady hours at the time and Carefor offered those.  I really didn’t know anything about homecare or Carefor.  I soon realized that both were a good fit for me and over the last seven years I’ve seen that Carefor is a people first organization looking to grow through taking care of its people.

Switching to homecare from private practice was a tremendous learning opportunity.  Our clients have a remarkable breadth of conditions that they are managing, so we need a broad base of knowledge to be able to help them. Beyond that, Carefor supported staff development by providing on the job time to be mentored by other staff or providing time for staff to meet to discuss some of the challenging situations our clients faced.

Our Allied Health team (which physiotherapists are a part of) has almost doubled since I first began to work for Carefor.  It became clear that having a team member dedicated to supporting staff in keeping up to date and adopting best practices was needed, so the Professional Practice Lead (PPL) position for the Allied Health Team was created.  I applied and was selected.

While the position was created to support our team in applying best practices, the role goes beyond that. The PPL also gets to support the staff in pursuing their own professional development goals as well as playing a role in re-thinking how we meet the healthcare needs of our clients in the changing landscape of home and community care in Ontario.

The provision of healthcare in Ontario has suffered through the years through “silo-ing” of supports.  This can be felt acutely in the homecare sector.  I would love to play a role in connecting people and by connecting people, connecting those silos. Jovie Velasco, the PPL for Nursing, and I hope we are that link at Carefor. Through initiatives like interdisciplinary Best Practice groups and Carefor Rounds we can begin to strengthen the connections in the team.  If we have a stronger team, we’ll have better communication within the team and provide better care to our clients.

Taking on the role of PPL within a compassionately run organization has been a revitalizing time for my career.  Just like many other healthcare providers, I found the early days of the pandemic to be a tremendous challenge.   Stepping into this role where I am supporting other healthcare providers and influencing improvements within the organization has re-energized me.  I am no longer counting the years to retirement.

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