Q&A With A Recent Grad Community Care Access Centre Team Assistant

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The health care system is vast and providing access to quality health care is a team effort.

While most students and recent grads probably tend to think of health care jobs in terms of nurses and doctors, there are dozens of other roles that involve working both behind the scenes and on the front lines of care.

One of those roles is the Community Care Access Centre team assistant.

“I’ve learned how to manage an office, coordinate staff and be a point of contact for the organization. I have increased my knowledge on health administration and how the Ontario health care system actually works.” —Maricris Fernandez, team assistant, Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre

Case managers/care coordinators help people like you, your parents and grandparents navigate the health care system and ensure they’re receiving the services they need, yet team assistants are often the first point of contact.

They greet you at the front desk, maintain your health information, help case managers access facilities and supplies, book home visits, and conferences, among other things.

Maricris Fernandez, a recent graduate of the health studies program at York University, has been a team assistant at the Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre in downtown Toronto for the last two years.

“The role has grown in the two years that I’ve been here. The CCAC is great because they are willing to train you, help you grow, and provide support. It is a great learning opportunity. I was very fortunate to find this role,” she says.

Keep reading to find out what it’s like to be a team assistant at a Community Care Access Centre.

Q. In your own words, what is a Community Care Access Centre?
A. The Ontario health care system is divided into 14 geographic areas and for each one there is a Community Care Access Centre. The Community Care Access Centre manages the resources to provide services specific and responsive to that community. The CCAC will help people navigate the health care system with a customized care plan with services that meet your needs.

Q. What is a day in the life of a team assistant at the Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre like?
A. While you can find me at the reception desk triaging guests, walk-in clients and staff requests, you can also find me throughout the office suites. I help set up meeting rooms, monitor security settings, building temperature and manage monthly maintenance projects.

To learn more about starting your health care career at a Community Care Access Centre and to view job openings in your area, please visit CCACJobs.ca

At the beginning, my role comprised of reception duties – answering phones and triaging inquiries or requests. As the team evolved and we began to capitalize on each team member’s skills and talents, I began to take on projects to improve the efficiency of our work processes.

The inventory database is an example of one the projects I helped develop. The organization supplies staff with basic office supplies, such as pens, paper, headsets, etc. The inventory database was put in place to ensure there was a consistent supply of office necessities.

Q. What is one thing that surprised you about being a team assistant at a CCAC that you didn’t know before you started?
A. I started in this role during a challenging job market. As a recent grad with limited work experience, I took the position with the confidence that it was a full-time, stable opportunity in an organization related to my educational background.

The team assistant role is an awesome opportunity to learn. I have increased my knowledge and grown as an individual.  I’ve learned how to manage an office, coordinate staff and be a point of contact for the organization. I have increased my knowledge on health administration and how the Ontario health care system actually works.

Q. How do team assistants relate to case managers?
A. As a team assistant for facilities and administration I support case managers by ensuring meetings are set up, ensure they are equipped with necessary supplies and respond to any building issues or equipment the may have.

TalentEgg TipTalentEgg Tip: Click here to check out our video blog with Central Community Care Access Centre case manager Aneeta Permaul – she walks us through “A Day In The Life” of a case manager, and offers advice for students and recent grads just like you!

Other team assistants work more closely with case managers to fulfill patient referrals, process services, order supplies and update client files. For example, team assistants for the finance department provide financial resource support.

Q. How did you know this role was right for you?
A. At the beginning, I did not know if it was right for me. It took time to get used to the role and organization. I learned the role was right for me when I started taking on more projects, applying my skills, learning and seeing the results. I enjoy coming to work every day and meeting new challenges, interacting with the staff and the various stakeholders of the organization.

Q. What advice would you give to students and recent grads who are about to start their careers in health care?
A. I would advise them to take on co-op and volunteer positions, not to close themselves off from these opportunities. Job descriptions are great when you’re applying for them – they give you an idea of what the organization is like. However, participating in a co-op or volunteer position will give you better insight into whether or not the industry, organization and environment is right for you.

You can’t look at a job as your last job. It is a learning opportunity.

About Community Care Access Centres

Community Care Access Centres connect people with the care they need, at home and in their communities. CCACs help people find their way through Ontario’s health care system, understand their options and connect them to quality community based health care and resources.

In total, there are 14 CCACs in communities across Ontario that are funded by Local Health Integration Networks through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. This means that CCAC advice and services are covered by OHIP.

To learn more about starting your health care career as a case manager/care coordinator at a Community Care Access Centre, please visit CCACJobs.ca

 

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