When professional nursing graduate Jamie Chow joined the busy, bustling emergency department at Mount Sinai Hospital (MSH) several months ago, she was the rookie – and the youngest member of the team.
At first it was a bit overwhelming, she admits, though thanks to some strong mentorship and coaching from leaders and teammates, she’s been able to play an integral role on her team, helping provide exceptional patient and family-centered care.
Like in all care areas at MSH, all members of the team – new or experienced – are encouraged to support and teach their colleagues. This nurturing approach not only builds the best health-care professionals, it translates into the best attention and care for patients and their family members.
“I choose to work at MSH because there is an emphasis on continual learning and teamwork,” says Chow. “I am constantly exposed to different nursing techniques, and that is really encouraging for a new nurse.”
One of Chow’s colleagues and mentors is Donald McRae, also a professional registered nurse, and part of the MSH family for 22 years. He says the relationship is mutually beneficial between young gun and old hat.
“When I started working here, I was struck by the fact that everyone was respected for the skills they brought to the workplace,” says McRae. “I share more than two decades of experience with my colleagues, but I also learn so much from new staff, like Jamie.”
This year, MSH was recognized as one of the Top 50 Employers in the Greater Toronto Area for the second year in a row. Leslie Rodgers, Director of Human Resources, says it all starts with the attitude of staff as team-oriented individuals who care not only for the patients – but for each other.
From an organizational perspective, the hospital has been putting best practices “people” policies in place to ensure that feedback from staff through surveys and otherwise are weaved into strategies to create a workplace second to none.
“We must have satisfied staff to have satisfied patients,” says Rodgers. “Our staff tell us that ongoing education, lifelong learning, tuition assistance and mentorship opportunities are all extremely important to their work life and sense of professional well-being.”
That means making a conscientious effort to not only attract new employees with the right stuff for the future, but also keeping those valued employees who treat patients and their teammates with intelligence and kindness today.
“We are moving towards a much more proactive approach to recruitment and retention,” says Rodgers. “It is important that we build relationships with our employees and develop meaningful ways to work together and within the greater community.”
As a teaching hospital, Mount Sinai offers student placements in medical, clinical allied health, scientific and corporate areas. By integrating learning within the daily routine, seasoned professionals are able to share their knowledge with students, who in turn bring their fresh ideas and innovative approaches.
“It is important that students participate in all levels of the organization,” says Rodgers. “They may not realize it but they often teach the staff as much as they learn from them.”
Whether a recent graduate like Jamie Chow, or a seasoned veteran like Donald McRae, it is the staff that are the people, heart, face and spirit of Mount Sinai Hospital. “Recruitment is more than sourcing,” adds Rodgers. “It is about ensuring that we attract and retain the best people with the brightest minds and biggest hearts.”