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Get to know #TeamQHC

Quinte Health Care is comprised of ultra-talented and dedicated people with a diverse set of interests and skills. Get to know them better in this monthly highlight of #TeamQHC members!

Meet Sarah Lawrence

Registered Pharmacy Technician - NHH

What's your role here and how long have you been at QHC? 

I am a Registered Pharmacy Technician and I am the one and only pharmacy individual here in North Hastings so I carry out all pharmacy duties as needed here. I have been here in Bancroft for 12 years next month. 

What do you like about working here at North Hastings Hospital? 

It's a team, but it's also like a family. So that comes with good and bad because there are family dynamics, so we get along very well up here until we don't, but we always reconcile and get on with it. Yeah, it's a family. 

What do you enjoy about your role?

I love it because I have a very unique role, especially when it comes to the pharmacy itself. I work very closely with the nurses and the doctors -- they are the ones that I see day to day; I love that about my role. I still have Belleville and Trenton as my liaisons to call and get stuff figured out as well.

With the past couple of years being more stressful than normal, what do you do personally to relieve stress after work?   

We have a little cabin on the York River and it's way back in the middle of the woods, so we spend a lot of our weekends in there. We retreated there especially during COVID. It was one place we could go that had a change of scenery, a change of pace, and you could kind of forget about the world and just enjoy. There's very little cell service there, which is also lovely, so we go there often with our daughters and enjoy our time there. 

Do you have any other hobbies? 

In the wintertime we downhill ski with the girls and we curl as well. Our cabin is a nice place to get up and get away, so we do lots of relaxing and lots of reading.

We also forage while we're there too. We collect different things to make teas with and I actually have a tea business on the side. I also make botanicals and we have all kinds of natural skin care products. We have a little store downtown Bancroft called Cedar&Co. Botanicals, it's just across from Scotiabank.

Do you live in Bancroft?   

Yes right in town. My husband and I got married in 2004 and I arrived here just a little bit before that, so I've been here for almost 18 years. I have roots here. I was born in Bancroft, but then my family moved away when I was really young and I grew up mostly in Campbellford. Then I got married and moved back here. 

What do you enjoy about Bancroft?   

This is a great place to come, it's a small town, so it's very family oriented. There are a few times you come across people and you're like, no, I don't know you, but for the most part, everybody knows everybody. I love that aspect of the town, especially having teenagers, since everybody is keeping their eyes on your kids. My kids walked downtown last week, and a few people said to me, "hey, I saw your kids downtown."

One of the doctor's daughters is in my daughter's class and they are best friends. They're on soccer teams together, they do music festivals together, so life happens here in the hospital and we're family here, but we are also family when we're out in the community. There's lots to do in this town and lots of families and friends around. Lots of lakes, tubing, water-skiing or just swimming. 

What would you say to a student or someone else who might be interested in what you do as a career?   

Many times I've had nurses say to me that they wish they had known that pharmacy was an option. If you're in healthcare in this role, you're part of the hospital team, but you're not as hands on with patients, especially when it comes to the messy stuff. You can still be part of the circle of care, but you don't have to be injecting and cleaning.

Funnily enough, my kids aren't too into blood and I'm not either. There are times that I see things and smell things here and I can just keep walking and go and count some more pills.

I think it's good too for people to know that there are a whole swath of opportunities in a hospital, and I love working in a smaller hospital where there's a lot more interaction with the doctors and nurses all the time.


Meet Natalie Hart

Team Lead - Oncology - BGH

How long have you worked here at QHC? 

I've been nursing for 28 years. I graduated in 1994 and came to QHC in 1998. I've worked in a variety of places at BGH. I started on WCA 3, then went to Medicine Quinte 5. I did some time on Rehab and then went back to Quinte 5. After that I went down to Emerge and then I came to Oncology. During that time, I did some teaching at Loyalist as well. Before I came to the hospital I did some home care nursing, so I've done a few different things.

How long have you been in Oncology?

I've been here since 2007. When I started, we were on Quinte 4 and then we moved downstairs in 2012. As you can see, we continue to grow and change as volumes continue to grow. We want to continue to expand and keep care closer to home.

What do you enjoy about working in Oncology and with the team? 

It's a real close-knit team and everyone works really well together. We all have the same goal and that's to make things better for the patient.

I love people and Oncology is the most team focused area I've worked in. You really have a lot of autonomy here as a nurse and you can do so much. The nursing power is huge here and there's constant learning.

I think the exciting part about oncology is we get to know our patients really well. We have a relationship with our patients because we see them frequently. When I worked in Emerge, you'd see a patient once and then send them down the road, whereas here we see the care through and get to know our patients and their families fairly well.

Cancer care itself never stays the same, which is the exciting part. In cancer care we are always hopeful of what's coming and what's new, and there are so many new things happening with new drugs and new technology to treat cancer. 

What would you say to a student or individual who's looking at health care as a potential career choice? 

We always need nurses of course, so if you enjoy working with people and enjoy getting to know people, certainly become a nurse.

In Oncology itself, if you enjoy constant learning and you really want to specialize in something, this is an area where you're very active in patient care. There's a lot of coordinating care and a lot of teaching, with lots of supports for the patient. So as a nurse, I think it's a great area to work in. However, usually you would already need a background in nursing to work in Oncology. Most of our nurses would need to have to have a medical or critical care background.

We do have different roles here as well like our drug navigator, social worker, pharmacists, pharm techs, and other roles in our department that make up some key parts of our team. So there are a lot of different roles available not only here but in a hospital at large as well.    

What do you like to do for fun on the weekends, any hobbies? 

I grew up in the Ottawa Valley in a small town called Pakenham. I moved here to go to school, so I don't have a lot of family in the area, but I have a lot of great friends.

I'm at that stage in my life where we're kind of transitional. My kids are all grown up, so I'm starting to find out what can I do now that my kids are growing up, but I'm also a Nana now too, so that's kind of fun.

On the weekends I enjoy getting outside, so in the wintertime I enjoy cross country skiing or skating. I love hockey and there's a fun women's league that I'm a part of, though I haven't done much of that during COVID. In the summertime I like gardening, going for walks, and we do a lot of glamping. I'm not much of a camper.

We live just north of Belleville and we have a property that's more spacious, we have trails carved in the woods where I can do my cross country skiing and walking, so I'm very grateful for that. 

Any secret superpowers or hidden talents? 

My superpower is that I'm a nurse.


Meet Lynn Thibedeau

Fund Development Coordinator - TMHF

What's your role at TMHF? 

My official title is Fund Development Coordinator, but basically I'm an office manager, so I handle anything logistically. I take care of the database, so I handle any donations that come in that have to be posted, and we process tax receipts and letters and take care of the reconciling for the bookkeeping. It's a full-time job and it includes a lot of little things.

I'm retiring at the end of December and coming back part-time. There's a new employee coming in so she's here three days a week to shadow. I think now I really realize how many little things there are that we need to keep track of, so when I do go to two days a week, it’ll help the office still run smoothly.

We have two interns this year so that helps us as we have big events coming up, but normally it's just the four of us, so it's a small and close team.

How did you get your start at the Foundation?

I've been here almost 15 years. I worked at the Foundation on a smaller scale during one of the campaigns and I knew Wendy (Warner) outside of the hospital, so she asked if I wanted to do this part-time. I started just as a position opened up and it developed from there.

Before working here, I was working at Metro and I lived in Belleville. I worked at the A&P in the Bayview Mall and when that converted, a few of us transferred to the Trenton store when it was A&P, and then it converted to Metro so I was working there part-time. I ended up moving to Trenton and have become very much part of the community here.

I think that's what I've noticed working at the Foundation, you get to know the donors really well, and they're usually leaders in the community as well and there's a whole network of people, so it's very fascinating.

What do you like about working with your TMHF team?

We're all very good friends and even though my job is the office tasks, if Wendy needs help, we all help. If Paula or Lindsay need help, then we're all there. We work as a team in all aspects, so that's good.

It's a small office, even the hospital itself is like a small town, you meet someone in the hallway you say hello and they get to know you. When we approach our staff to volunteer for events, you get to know them that way and there's pretty good turnout from the staff at the events as well.

I really enjoy working with the team here. It's a beautiful environment not only in the office, but also in the hospital too. 

What do you like to do for fun after work and on the weekends?

I have some extracurricular things like ball hockey. I'm also involved with Bearcat girls’ hockey, so during the week it's the hockey and work. I'm a season ticket holder with the Belleville Sens, so I go to a lot of the games.

Other than that, I have two grandkids, so my other hobby is going and visiting them, and I have a son who lives in Toronto. During the worst of the pandemic, I was basically by myself because the kids are all grown up. That kind of helped with my decision to retire, just to give more freedom to go and visit family.

What would you say is your hidden (or not so hidden) talent?   

I'm not very fluffy, I'm direct, and I'm organized. I can juggle a lot of things at the same time, which I need to do in this role. I could be reconciling something in the books and a billion other things can come up, so I have to be organized. I'm not outgoing, but I can greet people and help people out and do my best to make everybody comfortable.


Meet Bette-Anne Smith

Administrative Assistant - PECMH 

How long have you been at QHC? 

I have a little bit of a history here. I started here in 2008 and I was the education assistant for six years, helping with all the mandatory onboarding, training and new hire orientation. Then I left for a little bit to pursue other things and about four years ago I was brought in to cover for a maternity leave in education, for the person that replaced me. Through that a permanent full-time job opened up in Human Resources, so I took that and did that for a couple years. Then this position opened up, so I've been here a year and a half in this role.

I like sharing that story because it just lets people know that there's lots of opportunity here and I have never been without an opportunity. I've loved all the jobs I've had and if I was to stay in one job, that's fine. But when there's been other opportunities that have kind of opened the door for me, I've jumped.

I also spend time working in Trenton, so I really enjoy meeting people, which has been great.

Are you naturally more of an extroverted person?

I'm really not, I'm by definition more of an introvert and I get energized when I'm on my own. But I have no problem meeting people and spending time with people, and I love being in environments that give me that opportunity to help and support, that's what I like to do in my career. I like supporting with orientation and education and helping new hires find their way, I enjoy that.

What would you say to a student or someone else who might be interested in healthcare as a career?

Healthcare opens many, many doors. I have a Psychology degree, so I didn't set out to be an administrative assistant, but it's just the way the path led me and it's sort of as a natural fit for my skill set. But having said that, having a Psychology degree also helps with writing things, dealing with people, being open to change, looking at opportunities and not shying away from them.

How are you enjoying working with your teammates in the various roles you've had at QHC?  

I've enjoyed it very much and I've always enjoyed the groups that I've worked with. Every department I worked in, I felt like we were supporting each other. There have been stressful times obviously, and it kind of ebbs and flows, but I’ve always felt like my coworkers and my colleagues were there for me and I was there for them. I've never felt abandoned in my roles and it's always been really good.

I have very, very strong friendships with some of my colleagues, we are really close, we continue to stay in touch even if they no longer work here.

Do you live in the area? 

I live in Belleville and we have a summer place on West Lake, so it's pretty handy. We've been in our home for 16 years, and this is the longest we've been in one place as a family. We love this area.

Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy? 

I love to work out and to walk, and I just love that it's warmer since I love being outside. I love doing things around the house and renovating. My middle son is a carpenter, so he has helped me with a lot of projects I've worked on. I always have a project on the go.

I also love to cook. Now that I have two daughters-in-law, we just love to be in the kitchen and try different things, which is fun. I'm not afraid to try different things and enjoy trying different cuisines. There are a lot of good restaurants in this area of the county especially.

I've also been enjoying watching chick flicks with my daughters-in-law. Being a mom of boys, I've watched a lot of action movies and gore and all that stuff, which doesn't bother me. But now with two girls in our lives, they have a running list of all the movies we want to watch together.

Any plans on travelling?   

We're planning a trip to Puerto Rico soon, which will be nice. But we're enjoying the cottage in the summer. 

Any superpowers or hidden talents?   

Well, I love to sing, I grew up singing and I do that a lot in different areas, churches, different events, whatever is happening.