Tips From A Northern Health Recruiter Who Hatched Her Own Career In Northern B.C.

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Northern Health Recruiter Ashley Ellerbeck is passionate about hiring new grads for the health authority’s more than two dozen hospitals, 14 long term facilities, and many public health units and offices across two thirds of British Columbia.

The province’s population is aging and Northern Health is looking for even more young healthcare professionals to help them provide and improve healthcare services.

“With the positive, supportive work environment I also feel like I have the opportunity to grow and advance professionally at a rate unheard of in other parts of the country.” —Ashley Ellerbeck, Recruiter, Northern Health

However, Ashley is a young professional too. She knows the difficult choices that new grads like you have to make as you start your careers.

Why did she choose to start hers in northern B.C. with Northern Health? The opportunities: “The affordable lifestyle here in the north has enabled me to get ahead financially – leaps and bounds above where I would be elsewhere,” she says. “I have been able to invest in real estate at a young age and I am enrolling in a master’s program in the fall, all while being able to travel overseas and all over the province.”

It’s not all about money, either. Ashley says she has tons of free time to go skiing, fishing, camping and many other new activities she never would have thought to try before. Plus, she loves where Northern Health is taking her career. “With the positive, supportive work environment I also feel like I have the opportunity to grow and advance professionally at a rate unheard of in other parts of the country,” she says. “Moving to northern B.C. – and, more importantly, joining Northern Health – is by far one of the best life decisions I have ever made.”

Now that you know why Ashley is living and working in northern B.C., keep reading to find out which healthcare professionals Northern Health hires, how to be a rockstar during the application and interview process, and how Northern Health helps new hires relocate and settle in.

Which healthcare professionals is Northern Health interested in hiring?

Ashley: Northern Health generally hires new grads into almost every type of position, including Nurses, Practical Nurses, Care Aides, Physical and Occupational Therapists, Medical Laboratory/Radiation/Ultrasound Technologists, Speech Language Pathologists – the list goes on! It depends on the site and our capacity to orientate, train and mentor our new grad hires because we want to ensure they are fully supported throughout the process.

What is the application and interview process like?

Ashley: First, find out which roles are available by visiting Northern Health’s profile on TalentEgg.ca. Then, create your profile on Northern Health’s website, which only takes a few minutes, and you are ready to apply. Our site also includes tons of information and links to our community pages so you can research the best fit for your lifestyle.

Candidates’ experience with the interview and hiring processes can vary significantly based on the individual hiring manager’s methodology. However, Northern Health Recruitment is working diligently to ensure hiring manages utilize leading practices to ensure a timely, “fit for the role and organization” hire.

How should new grads prepare for job interviews at Northern Health?

Ashley: New grads should expect to answer questions based on their experience in their practicums or employed student positions as many of our questions are behavioral as well as clinical.

When searching for the right fit for our organization, we focus on teamwork as it is a huge component of any healthcare profession. Our nurses, for example, will be working directly with doctors, rehabilitation professionals, practical nurses and home care professionals, just to name a few, so solid communication skills are essential.

Another important component in the interview is determining if northern B.C. in general will be a good fit for the individual. Someone with an active lifestyle and a desire to be an inclusive member of the community will be more likely to stay and enjoy their experience.

One of the best ways to show us that you are serious about joining our amazing team is to spend a little time researching and deciding where you would like to live. Each and every one of our communities are unique, so we want to make sure that you have carefully chosen the best fit for the lifestyle you want and are prepared to relocate.

Living in northern B.C. means experiencing incredible scenery every single day, such as this glacier
Living in northern B.C. means experiencing incredible scenery, such as this glacier, every single day!

How does the process work for someone who doesn’t already live in northern B.C.?

Ashley: Northern Health is a fantastic place for new grads relocating from other areas because northern B.C. is renowned for its friendly, welcoming atmosphere. This especially applies to new healthcare professionals. Working on smaller teams ensures that our new grads are supported and are not lost in the mix as starting with their first day, they are considered as an integral part of the team.

For most positions, our managers can conduct interviews over the phone or by video or teleconference as we often hire out of province professionals. Northern Health is proud to have one of the most competitive relocation packages available. Our relocation policy is determined on a case-by-case basis and is dependent upon the occupation, how long the vacancy has been open and the location of the position.

Many of our locations have temporary housing for our new recruits to help them settle in to the community. Our communities also have many clubs for activities such as hiking, running, dragon boating, running, art, photography, etc., which make it easy to meet new people and feel like an important part of the community. Our healthcare professionals are also often encouraged to take part in some of our Aboriginal celebrations as they soon become highly respected members of the community and play a very important role in their day to day lives.

Ashley travels around northern B.C. in style! Have you ever flown in a seaplane?
Ashley travels around northern B.C. in style! Have you ever flown in a seaplane?

What kind of training does Northern Health offer its employees?

Ashley: Our training and mentorship programs are highly variable according to occupation and location, but our new grads are given as much training and support as they require. Generally, our grads are paired up with a senior employee who acts as a mentor after they receive their official orientation, which often lasts several weeks. The mentorship relationship is lead by the new grad who specifies which areas they would like support in and generally lasts six to 12 months.

Our sites are a fantastic opportunity for new grads to be cross-trained and gain experience in many different aspects of the occupation as many of our sites are a one-stop-shop facility. For example, in some of our smaller locations, our new grad nurses often receive training in maternity, emergency and multiple-level care and can choose to pursue further training and support in the specialty of their choice.

Northern Health is hiring for numerous entry level healthcare jobs across northern British Columbia. Visit Northern Health’s profile to learn more and apply.

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About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.