Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 8, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Northern Health was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2017):
- Northern Health encourages ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for courses both related and not directly related to their current position (to $750 annually), subsidies for professional accreditation as well as a variety of in-house training initiatives including mentoring and apprenticeship programs
- Northern Health supports its new moms with maternity and parental leave top-up payments and also extends parental leave top-up payments to new dads and adoptive parents
- Northern Health helps employees plan for life after work through retirement planning assistance, phased-in work options for those nearing retirement, and contributions to a defined benefit pension plan
A future as bright as the sky at Northern Health
Alexi Robert can't forget the last time she saw the Northern Lights. "It was indescribable," says the registered nurse at Northern Health's Fort St. John Hospital in Fort St. John, B.C. "It was during the summer, and it was literally like a picture. The entire sky was green and purple, and I was mesmerized."
For Robert, seeing the legendary Aurora Borealis is just one of the many benefits of working for Northern Health in the province's beautiful north country. From a career perspective, however, the organization's support for professional development, the potential for advancement it offers, and its collegial atmosphere shine even brighter.
After less than a year with her new employer, the McGill University nursing graduate has already attended a five-day course on palliative care in Vancouver, funded entirely by Northern Health. "You can apply for funding to further your education," she explains. "I was fortunate to get that opportunity, and it was really amazing."
Tuition subsidies of up to $7,500 are available for graduate education, and up to $750 for professional accreditation and courses that support career progression. Northern Health, which provides health services to 300,000 people over a 600,000-square-kilometre area, also offers a variety of in-house training initiatives, including mentoring, internships and apprenticeship programs.
"We offer opportunities for staff to really chart their career paths and learn and grow," says Dr. Ann Syme, Director of HR Planning and Design, Education, and Training. "The end game is really about quality care for our patients and families."
Northern Health's strategic plan, unveiled in March 2016 after extensive consultations with patients, community members, physicians and staff, is built around four key values: empathy, respect, collaboration and innovation. "We are all actively working to weave those values into each employee's everyday work experience," says Syme.
Those values are clearly reflected in Northern Health's close relationship with the communities it serves. It makes a special effort to court prospective employees who are keen on living in the region.
In many cases, it covers moving costs and offers other incentives to relocate there. For Robert, who has B.C. student loans, that means 20 per cent of that debt will be paid by the province after she has worked in northern B.C. for a year.
For young people priced out of Vancouver's sky-high real estate market, says Syme, the more accessible prices in northern communities give young people the chance to buy a home and put down roots.