Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 31, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why Ottawa Hospital, The was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2022):
- The Ottawa Hospital conducts quarterly wellness pulse surveys to help measure the well-being of staff and physicians and recently launched an online tool called the Wellness Navigator, a centralized source of health and wellness resources and services available to employees
- The Ottawa Hospital helps employees plan for life after work with retirement planning assistance services as well as phased-in work options when nearing retirement -- and offers the security of a defined benefit pension plan
- Along with being a major teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Ottawa, the Ottawa Hospital offers training and development for individuals at various stages of their careers, from tuition subsidies for employees interested in job-related courses, to summer employment and paid internships for students and new grads
Purpose and people unite at The Ottawa Hospital
As a Queen’s University nursing student, Maryann Towns completed her clinical-placement hours at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) from January to May of 2006. When she graduated that June, she was hired as a new nursing grad, with her sights set on becoming an operating room (OR) nurse. “My career goals quickly progressed as I was offered an amazing learning opportunity,” she says.
One of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals, TOH provides patient-centred care with an emphasis on tertiary-level, complex care and specialty care, primarily for residents of Eastern Ontario and patients from Nunavut. In 2006, Towns was included in the first new graduate initiative where her perioperative certificate was fully funded by TOH, then offered a full-time nursing position there in the OR.
“I’m a helper and a fixer, so I loved it,” says Towns, now clinical manager of the intensive care unit (ICU). “Being an OR nurse was rewarding because you make quick, intense connections with your patients.”
After working at TOH for a year, Towns moved to British Columbia, returning to Ottawa in 2010 – and to TOH. “I wanted to continue to be part of a collaborative, multi-disciplinary team, and to keep learning at a world-class trauma centre,” she says. “There are so many continuous learning opportunities, cutting-edge technology and role progression – this is why TOH was the hospital of my choice.”
Moving into a management and administration role in 2013 helped prepare Towns to take on her current position managing the ICU in May 2021, at the tail end of COVID-19’s third wave. “I was looking for more of a challenge and to be part of the decision-making for my team, my colleagues and our patients,” she says. “I like the encouragement from our leaders to think outside the box and be a bit disruptive.”
President and CEO Cameron Love is one of those open-minded leaders. Hired in 1998 as a planning co-ordinator, he has held several positions in different departments and programs over more than two decades. “After two or three years, I knew I wanted to stay, because there are great teams here who are making a significant difference in people’s lives,” he says. “As opportunities came along, I never turned any of them down.”
When COVID-19 arrived, everyone at the hospital had to pivot and innovate, including TOH senior leaders who worked with community partners to set up quickly a testing centre in the community. The centre required a director, multiple managers and co-ordinators. “There’s so much opportunity to learn more and to reorganize change-leadership development, which I’ve fully supported,” says Love.
Managing the care of TOH’s people throughout the pandemic has been a priority for Love and the other senior leaders, who recognize that stress comes in all forms. “If your parents are in a nursing home and you can’t visit them because it’s locked down, if you’re homeschooling your kids – the pandemic really drove home that we need to consider all of life’s pressures when supporting our team members,” says Love.
A robust TOH staff-wellness program – one that offers access to physical exercise, healthy food choices, psychological support and more – has helped alleviate some of that stress. “If our people feel healthy, supported and engaged, patient outcomes will be better,” says Love. And although there’s no question that working through the pandemic has been tough at times, there have been unexpected silver linings.
“COVID-19 has created opportunities for people to broaden their leadership experience and embrace new challenges,” says Love. “It never ceases to amaze me how engaged our healthcare leaders and front-line staff members are, and how everyone steps up to help solve problems.”