Meet Samantha, Intern at HSO

 

At a speed networking event at the University of Ottawa last fall, about 20 employers and a whole bunch of interns all had five minutes to impress each other. As soon as it opened, I made a beeline for HSO’s table. I’m in the Master of Science in Health Systems program and was interested in what I had read about HSO’s focus on quality improvement and the idea of quality health for all. Plus, I had mused about being a doctor or a veterinarian when I was little—and I had a background in risk management and disaster and emergency preparedness. It seemed like it might be a match made in (standards) heaven. Luckily, HSO felt the same!

I started my four-month internship in January. From my first day, the welcoming and inclusive atmosphere was obvious. Early on, I met with the entire global standards team as well as the VP. And I’m very much looking forward to an upcoming meeting with Leslee Thompson, our CEO, about women in leadership. HSO is growing by leaps and bounds, which creates challenges in managing the pace, but we all have each other’s backs. The noon-hour “meetings” in the gym are a great way to unwind, and HSO’s mentorship program means I always have someone to go to with questions. I loved skipping that lost newcomer feeling.

The real satisfaction for me is the work I’m doing to update HSO’s disaster and emergency preparedness standards and make them even more user-friendly. We’re in the research and needs assessment phase now. Next up are focus groups and interviews. Then, we’ll hold a mock accreditation survey at a local hospital, which will be a concrete way to test what we’re doing and gather results on the ground, from those who are directly involved. It really is quality improvement in action.

I grew up on a small farm in Holstein, Ontario, near Guelph. For many years, I was a server at a restaurant there and then at the Royal Oak after I moved to Ottawa. That’s probably where I get my great multitasking skills, which have come in pretty handy on this job. When I’m not at work, I try to hit the slopes—I’m an avid snowboarder, which happens when you live in Whistler for two years—or I head out to listen to live music on the weekends. I enjoy all kinds of music, with the Arkells being a particular favourite.

But right now, I’m focused on making the most of this internship. I know how hard it can be to land a job in health sciences, and this one offers so many opportunities to apply my knowledge and see real results. And I’ve been fascinated by all the ways the concept of people-centredness plays out across the program—it’s such a clear touch point. In fact, I’m considering doing my master’s thesis on it. So thanks, HSO!

HSO and Accreditation Canada – Two organizations on a mission

HSO and AC are close affiliates, working together to develop and deliver world-class standards and assessment programs to help bring quality health care to all. Employees of both organizations enjoy the same benefits, flexibility and work-life balance. HSO and AC are People Powered, with driven, passionate individuals at the centre of everything we do.

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