Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Provincial Health Services Authority / PHSA was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017) and BC's Top Employers (2017):
- Along with retirement planning assistance, PHSA employees can plan securely for the future with a defined benefit pension plan and phased-in work options to help ease the transition to retirement
- Employees at PHSA's main location can take advantage of a variety of onsite amenities, including a cafeteria (with healthy and special-diet menus), a nap room and subsidized access to an onsite fitness facility (with instructor-led classes such as yoga and belly dancing)
- PHSA makes getting to work easier (and cleaner) with secure bicycle parking and shower facilities (offering one of the most scenic bike rides to work in the country) and supports the annual 3-week long "Clean Commuter Challenge" -- additionally, PHSA partners with "TravelSmart" to help reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicle commutes to work and installed a number of electric vehicle charging stations (as part of a provincial initiative)
PHSA: taking patient and employee experience to a new level
As a large and multifaceted organization, the Vancouver-based Provincial Health Services Authority faces some complex challenges in providing specialty health services throughout British Columbia. The how of PHSA's operation is complicated, but the why is simple. "Patients are at the centre of everything we do," says Arden Krystal, Executive Vice President, Patient & Employee Experience.
It's a recently configured portfolio for Krystal, combining her long-standing corporate and clinical experience with her commitment to continuous quality improvement. This new portfolio became part of a realignment of the executive team, allowing for more emphasis on patients, populations, networks of care, and the workplace experience. "I believe we are entering a new era," says Krystal. "This new structure enhances our capacity to plan, implement and deliver services while stressing the importance of the overall patient experience."
Working with the province's five regional health authorities, the First Nations Health Authority and the BC Ministry of Health, PHSA plans and coordinates the delivery of highly specialized healthcare services. It does this through a network of agencies, services and programs, such as the BC Cancer Agency, BC Emergency Health Services, BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services, the BC Centre for Disease Control, the BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre, and the BC Children's Hospital. PHSA also plays a significant role in health research, developing world-class treatments and technologies for patients, and providing the best evidence for decision-making and effective health care spending.
A key step in PHSA's leadership restructuring was to improve the employee experience - and engage all staff in the process. When PHSA called for volunteers for two new advisory groups, a Patient Experience Council and a Workplace Culture Council, hundreds of employees of all ages and from workplaces throughout BC applied.
Their contributions, such as helping develop a new Mission, Vision and Values statement through the voice of the employees they represent, have been significant and Krystal says more noteworthy recommendations are in the works. "The passion of our people is remarkable," she adds.
Registered Nurse and Program Manager Lynn Coolen is familiar with the passion and dedication of those who choose to work in health care. She's the Manager of the 22-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at BC Children's Hospital. Coolen supervises a team of nurses who work round the clock tending to critically ill children and youth sent to the Vancouver hospital from throughout BC.
"In Pediatric Intensive Care, our teams experience joyful and sometimes sad outcomes," says Coolen. "But we're here to do a job and we always do the best we can for our patients and their families. The people here are fantastic."
While being part of a close-knit team provides a large dose of job satisfaction, Coolen also appreciates the career opportunities that working for a large organization like PHSA provides. She has, for instance, taken advantage of a number of professional training and development programs, including earning an MBA while working full-time.
In addition to online and in-house courses, Coolen has also taken management and leadership development programs that PHSA offers. Crucial to the development and engagement of the organization, course participants come from across PHSA agencies.
"These courses are a fantastic opportunity," Coolen says. "You can connect with others from throughout the province and learn about their best practices."
For Krystal, PHSA's size and scope, plus its strong emphasis on promoting from within, are key factors in helping the organization meet employees' varying career aspirations. "The diversity of opportunity at PHSA is extraordinary," she says. "We really want people to feel PHSA is their employer of choice."
PHSA's specialty careers focus on best care delivery
The Vancouver-based Provincial Health Services Authority has a unique mandate: to provide specialty health services throughout British Columbia. Doing so requires an organization that is large enough and complex enough to handle all its varying responsibilities. For those looking for a workplace where they can make a difference, PHSA offers many diverse opportunities across the province.
Working with the province's five regional health authorities, the First Nations Health Authority and the BC Ministry of Health, PHSA plans and coordinates the delivery of specialized healthcare. It does this through a network of agencies, services and programs, such as the BC Cancer Agency, BC Emergency Health Services, BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services, the BC Centre for Disease Control, the BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre, and the BC Children's Hospital.
"Regardless of your profession, there is a wide range of career pathways you can follow," says Christy Hay, Emergency Department Program Manager of BC Children's Hospital. An oncologist, for example, could work at the BC Children's Hospital or the BC Cancer Agency's Centre for the Southern Interior outpatient facility. "You could move to the Okanagan Valley to experience an alternative lifestyle to that in metro Vancouver, and still be part of the PHSA," Hay adds.
While the goal is always patient-centred care, not all staff deal directly with patients. PHSA plays a significant role in health research, developing world-class treatments and technologies for patients, and providing the best evidence for decision-making and effective health care spending. Front-line teams rely on behind-the-scenes support from corporate services professions, which are as diverse as project management, finance and human resources.
In her job as Talent Acquisition Advisor for Physician Recruitment, Akosua Tomash partners with physician-hiring leaders to recruit the best global talent to PHSA specialty agencies, programs and services. "I really feel I'm having a huge impact on patient care," she says.
Tomash landed her current position after three different positions with PHSA over the course of 19 years and a year away. Her trajectory has ultimately led her to a job she loves. Says Tomash, "I'm not going anywhere soon."
Now a new generation of workers is looking to PHSA for new types of opportunities. "What is most important to this changing workforce is work-life balance, and they're more interested in part-time work," says Hay. "PHSA honours a flexible work-life balance while investing in its employees to reach their highest potential."
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 21, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Provincial Health Services Authority / PHSA was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2016):
- PHSA launched the "Green+Leaders" program in 2009 to promote environmentally conscious behaviour in the workplace, such as sustainable transportation, expanded recycling programs and a number of paper use, energy and waste reduction initiatives -- over 70 leaders participate in the program, hosting outreach events and introducing new initiatives throughout the year
- Over 230 PHSA employees participated in the 3-week long Clean Commuter Challenge last year, comprising over 50 teams who showed their support for sustainable commuting -- on location, the Green+Leader bicycle commuters work directly with the Director of Property and Asset Management to construct new secure bike lockers, shower facilities and change rooms to make riding to work easier
- As part of an overall provincial campaign, the PHSA installed six electric vehicle charging stations and is working with TravelSmart to help reduce the number of single occupancy vehicle trips as well as encourage other commuting options
- PHSA developed "Energy Guidelines" for future building renovations and new constructions -- achievements thus far include: BC Cancer Research Centre (LEED Gold certified), BC Centre of the North (constructed to meet LEED Gold standards and features rooftop garden for employees to use), and the Mental Health building at Children's and Women's Health Centre (LEED Silver certified)
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 9, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Provincial Health Services Authority / PHSA was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017):
- PHSA works with a number of post-secondary institutions to provide internships, co-op opportunities and practicum placements to students in a variety of fields including medical laboratory, cytogenetics, clinical genetics technology, information management/information technology and business administration
- Each year, PHSA places 200 students in its BC Ambulance Service education program for primary and advanced care paramedics, hiring over 70% of participants upon program completion -- additionally, the organization encourages high school students to consider a career as a paramedic through workshops, mock scenarios (with participants responding to calls) and operations field trips
- BC Emergency Health Services, part of PHSA's network, offers paid co-op opportunities for Commerce and Business students studying at University of Victoria or Camosun College -- the 12-week program allows third year students to explore and engage in payroll and billing processes within a health care environment -- additionally, PHSA manages a comprehensive co-op program for information management and information technology services
- PHSA established an Employed Student Nursing program to provide student nurses with opportunities to practice as a registered nurse in specialty areas such as Pediatrics, Perinatal, Oncology or Mental Health nursing -- over 95% of employed student nurses are hired for permanent positions upon graduation
PHSA seeks to develop innovative healthcare leaders
Are you searching for a work environment where you can learn, grow and make a difference - all in one place? B.C.'s Provincial Health Services Authority believes so strongly in that idea that it has updated its mission to reflect it: "Provincial Health - results through caring, leading and learning together."
As an academic health sciences organization, Vancouver-based PHSA stresses knowledge and innovation in all areas of work to provide the best care for patients and families. As a learning organization, with patient care and the patient "experience" as a primary goal, PHSA works to develop patient-centred leaders at all levels of the organization - nearly 25 per cent of PHSA's workforce is under age 35.
"Young people today want to know about the big picture and where they fit in it," says Judy Clark, Executive Director, Talent and Performance. They're also eager to know their options - and with 22,000 employees and a high priority on promoting from within, PHSA offers plenty. "You don't have to leave PHSA to find a full scope of career opportunities," says Clark.
PHSA works with British Columbia's five regional health authorities, the First Nations Health Authority and the B.C. Ministry of Health to plan and coordinate the delivery of highly specialized healthcare services. It does this through a network of agencies, services and programs, such as the B.C. Cancer Agency, B.C. Emergency Health Services, B.C. Mental Health & Substance Use Services, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, the B.C. Women's Hospital + Health Centre, and the B.C. Children's Hospital. PHSA also plays a significant role in health research, developing world-class treatments and technologies for patients, and providing the best evidence for decision-making and effective health care spending.
In 2015, 30 per cent of those hired full-time were under 30 and in many cases PHSA had begun to forge relationships with them beforehand. PHSA is affiliated with a number of B.C.'s universities and other post-secondary institutions and works with them to provide students with internships, co-op placements and practicums.
In addition to staff who deal directly with patients, PHSA needs many others behind the scenes to enable the front-line workers to do their jobs. PHSA is unique in having an in-house temporary staffing services department that offers opportunities to those who want to gain administrative, project management, finance, human resources and information technology work experience within a large healthcare environment. One of the most rewarding aspects about the program is that the organization is starting to witness younger employees progressing in their career.
"A temporary placement not only lets them test the waters - it can lead to full-time employment," says Clark. "We want young talent who would never have considered a career in healthcare to realize that healthcare offers them an A to Z of opportunities."
Registered Nurse Matthew Pixton needed no convincing. He was still in his teens when he decided on the career path that led eventually to his position with the B.C. Children's Hospital (BCCH) - Mental Health Programs. The facility's inpatient units care for acutely psychiatrically ill children and adolescents who have been referred from throughout B.C. and Yukon.
Since joining BCCH in May 2015, Pixton has added to his competencies, including qualifying for the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Emergency unit. CAPE is a short-stay unit that cares for those 16 and under who are in crisis. "You need a sense of compassion and to stay calm under pressure to help and support those who are in such distress," says Pixton.
It's no surprise he relies on BCCH's interdisciplinary teams of youth and family counsellors, child psychiatrists and social workers, as well as other nurses, to help care for his young charges. At the same time, he appreciates the role PHSA has in the workplace culture. "PHSA has allocated the resources I need to work in a safe and respectful environment," he says.