Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 8, 2015)
Here are some of the reasons why Rouge Valley Health System was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016):
- Rouge Valley Health System supports employees who are new mothers with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 93% of salary for up to 35 weeks) and offers an option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence
- Rouge Valley Health System invests in the long-term development of employees with tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions (up to $2,000), subsidies for professional accreditation and financial bonuses for some course completion
- In addition to helping employees save for the future, Rouge Valley Health System offers retirement planning workshops and phased-in work options to support employees' transitioning towards retirement
Rouge Valley celebrates learning and achievement
Registered Nurse Sarah Masita has come a long way since she immigrated to Canada from her native Kenya in December of 2007. Full of personal ambition and determination, she found a perfect match in Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS) - an employer that would support her career development and love of learning.
After taking a job as a gas station clerk and earning a registered practical nursing diploma from Centennial College, Masita came to work at Rouge Valley Centenary hospital campus in Scarborough. While working weekends, she earned a bachelor of science degree in registered nursing from Ryerson University. Thanks to RVHS, she was eligible for up to $2,000 annually in tuition assistance as she worked on that degree and is entitled to a similar subsidy now that she has decided to pursue a master's degree in nursing.
"It gives you a good boost," says Masita. "Rouge Valley really encourages you."
RVHS, made up of Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering hospital campus in west Durham Region and Rouge Valley Centenary, goes out of its way to support employees who want to further their education. "We're a lifelong learning organization," says Kathy Gooding, Rouge Valley's vice-president, human resources. "We hold a Celebration of Learning event annually. It's incredible how many people have earned certificates, diplomas or degrees each year; or who have participated in, or facilitated co-op education programs, or other kind of learning activities."
In May's Celebration of Learning Rouge Valley recognized 324 employees - almost a quarter of the 1,588 people who work full-time at the two hospital campuses. "We have folks who started as clerks in our admitting department right out of high school and have since gone on to become nurses at Rouge Valley," says Gooding.
Rouge Valley also has several social programs to support employees on the job. Gooding says that RVHS is launching an "ability evolution program" aimed at creating a pool of positions that workers can move into if they require accommodation due to work-related restrictions. RVHS managers are also working with their teams to develop action plans to address areas of concern identified in a recent employee engagement
survey, as well as recommendations made by frontline staff.
"We are continually striving to support the needs of our staff, understanding that we have a diverse group who are performing very different roles," Gooding explains. "Staff in a high-pressure unit like emergency or critical care will have different needs than those working in offices, but there are commonalities. Our staff are all working to provide excellence in patient and family-centred care, and we do whatever we can to support our entire team in that effort."
Masita is particularly impressed with the range of professional workshops and Lunch and Learn sessions sponsored by Rouge Valley. She has participated in one-to three-day workshops in which various experts offer advice on such things as working with elderly patients suffering from dementia, and how to work as a team in order to improve patient care.
Currently a member of the staffing resource team, a group of nurses who work on various units and different departments as needed, Masita is always working with new teams and it has proved to be a very positive experience.
"All of us - registered nurses, registered practical nurses, personal support workers, patient support representatives, and others - work together as a team," she says. "Working in a hospital can be stressful, but when there's teamwork you don't even feel it."
Masita also likes management's commitment to effective communication within RVHS. "There is very open communication from top to bottom, but
also from bottom to top," she says.
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Greater Toronto's Top Employers winners, published December 8, 2015 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.