Imagine you’ve been waiting more than 30 years to build a house. Now at last you’re able to do it. You consult your family and together plan what will best suit everyone. You decide on the size and layout, design the structure to allow the utmost comfort and accessibility, create landscaped walks and gardens, install windows that maximize natural light, choose the most serene colours and textures, and incorporate all the latest technology you need to function efficiently. When it is finally built, will it not be the perfect home?
Essentially that’s what William Osler Health Centre is doing right now, building the perfect home – a 21st century hospital – for our patients, families, volunteers, staff and physicians.
For more than three years, the health centre has been immersed in setting the groundwork for this massive project, a task that involved dozens of community and internal consultations, intensive design planning and site preparation. Currently, the focus is on equipment procurement and developing best practices and protocols to fit the new site.
Construction on the one million square foot hospital situated in Brampton began in October 2004 and is on schedule to be completed in July 2007 and open in the fall of 2007. (The overall redevelopment project also involves substantial renovation of Osler’s current facilities – Etobicoke Hospital in Toronto and Peel Memorial Hospital in Brampton). Aside from its sheer size, the new hospital will dramatically increase access to health services for residents in the region. It will have 608 beds, accommodate 90,000 emergency visits and 160,000 ambulatory care visits per year and offer a myriad of services, including advanced diagnostic services, high-risk obstetrics, and expanded dialysis, cancer and cardiac care.
It is no surprise then that recruitment at Osler will soon be shifting into high gear. The health centre will require hundreds more health professionals as it takes on the challenge of being one of the largest and most comprehensive community hospitals in Canada.
In addition to the draw of the new hospital, working at Osler offers health professionals a range of benefits, including competitive compensation packages, access to advanced technology (such as digital diagnostic imaging and electronic emergency department information systems), and many opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Nurses can benefit from Osler’s commitment to improving the quality of nursing life through recognition, advancement, and ongoing education. Brenda Elsbury, Chief Nursing Officer and a Vice-President of Patient Services, said, “Our vision for nursing at Osler is to provide high quality holistic care for patients and their families and to create a supportive workplace for nursing staff.”
The health centre has a policy of involving staff nurses in decision making, holding monthly nursing forums and promoting from within whenever possible. Another plus is the availability of full-time employment that provides comprehensive benefits and a predictable work schedule. A few years ago, Osler had a 40-60 ratio of full-time to part-time nurses. Today, almost 70 per cent of the RNs are full-time staff.
High patient volumes and many specialized programs also allow family physicians and specialists plenty of scope for maintaining and advancing their expertise. For example, there is a surgical training program linked to the University of Toronto, various specialized paediatric clinics, high-risk neonatal programs, a medical trainee program, and hospitalist opportunities.
“In many ways, our programs go beyond what is generally available in most community hospitals,” said Dr. Ian Smith, Chief of Staff. “Given our location in the Greater Toronto Area, the volumes we deal with, and the new hospital coming on board, we will have the ability to offer even more specialized care in the future.”