Office Hours: Tips For Hatching Your Healthcare Career With Northern Health

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Wednesday, January 16th was an egg-citing day at TalentEgg! Ashley Ellerbeck, a Recruiter for Northern Health, joined us for Office Hours to offer advice on hatching your healthcare career with Northern Health.

Ashley answered questions about breaking into the healthcare industry, job opportunities with Northern Health, working in Northern British Columbia, and more!

If you missed the live event, you can read the transcript below:

TalentEgg Hayley

Welcome to Office Hours, TalentEgg-ers! My name is Hayley and I’ll be moderating today’s chat.

Our eggs-pert guest today is Ashley Ellerbeck, a Recruiter at Northern Health!

Over the next hour, you can send her your questions about career opportunities at Northern Health, learn how to stand out to Northern Health recruiters and get tips for successfully hatching your healthcare career. You can start submitting your questions now.

Ashley, could you please tell the audience a bit about yourself?

Ashley Ellerbeck

Sure. I have been a Recruiter for Northern Health for about a year and a half now, and have lived in Northern B.C. for over five years.

TalentEgg Hayley

Thanks Ashley!

Let’s start off with a previously submitted question:

Abhishek, a Microbiology and Immunology student at the University of Saskatchewan, asks: What kind of roles do you have for someone with my background?

Ashley Ellerbeck

We have 25 acute care facilities, most of which have labs. We hire lots of new grads as Med Lab Techs and for other laboratory positions throughout the region. Keep an eye on our postings at careers.northernhealth.ca and check the types of jobs that are posted.

Comment From Ruchi

I am an international Pharmacy student. I am very keen in pursuing a hospital residency in Canada. What are the criteria for selecting a hospital resident? What should I do to stand out?

Ashley Ellerbeck

We have two pharmacy resident positions every year at Northern Health and the process is province-wide. You apply to the program provincially and residents are chosen based on their preference of location and the health authority’s top choice. Essentially, it is a matchmaking process to find the right fit. As far as standing out on your application, I can connect you with our Pharmacy Residency Manager if you would like to email me: ashley.ellerbeck@northernhealth.ca. She can provide some helpful tips for you. We also have summer student working opportunities that you may be interested in – that is a great way to introduce yourself.

Comment From Lin

What kind of training do you provide for new nurses? Is there a set career path?

Ashley Ellerbeck

Northern Health is a great place for new grads. We have many mentorship opportunities that are site specific and can include lengthy orientations in OR, ER, Med/Surg and Maternity. Each grad is paired with a senior nurse and given as much support as needed, for as long as needed.

We do not necessarily have set a career path for our new grads – we train them in multiple departments to give them a taste of where they could go, and then allow them to choose which area they would like to pursue and support them in training. Northern Health has almost 7,000 employees working at dozens of sites, so there is a lot of room to grow.

Also, because many of our sites are rural and our departments are combined, our nurses are trained in multiple departments.

Comment From Guest

Hi, I am currently studying Neuroscience, but I’m considering shifting my focus to Business. It would be great if I could find a job that combines both my passions. Does Northern Health have any internship or job opportunities in business?

Ashley Ellerbeck

We do have many Business Analyst and Administrative positions that work closely with hospital management on budgeting and decision making that could be of interest to you. It could be a great combination for you to work in both business and healthcare.

Comment From shahir008

Hello Ashley, thank you very much for talking to us today! My question is: What kind of experience will I get as a Pharmacy Assistant at Northern Health? And how can I make sure I stand out when I apply?

Ashley Ellerbeck

You are very welcome, I am happy to be here! We have lots of positions for Pharmacy Assistants and Techs so your experience may be more about the lifestyle that you can enjoy in Northern B.C. The best way to stand out would be to tell us why you would like to move to the community in which you are applying. Do your research and find the community that suits you best. At Northern Health, we are all about the right fit, not just for the job, but for the lifestyle. We have so many great benefits to living here, such as outdoor recreation, affordable housing and four seasons. I am confident that you can find somewhere that you would really enjoy!

TalentEgg Hayley

Thank you Ashley!

Here’s another question that was submitted in advance:

Xi Zhang, a Biopsychology graduate from the University of Victoria, asks: What positions are available for recent graduates with some experience working with mentally and physically challenged groups?

Ashley Ellerbeck

We have many positions available in Mental Health and your experience working with those groups would be a great asset. Although most of our positions require a registered Psych Nurse designation or a Support Worker certificate (comparable to a Care Aide certificate), there are some positions that are available to those without these designations. You will just want to read the job description carefully.

For example, some of the positions that require experience and education in mental health are Mental Health Clinician, Life Skills Worker, Activity Workers, Psych Nurse, etc. Again, check careers.northernhealth.ca for postings.

Comment From Norris

Thanks Hayley and Ashley for the opportunity to participate in this dialogue. I have an MSc in Health Psychology and I am very interested in pursuing a public health/population health position with Northern Health. I am curious about what types of roles are available through the departments of Population Health and Healthy Living & Communities, and what skills are critical for the achievement of these positions?

Ashley Ellerbeck

A good place to start would be our NorthernHealth.ca website. Review the Public Health and Healthy Living & Communities sections for an idea of what those departments do and what roles are involved. Off the top of my head, for an MSc in Health Psych, I can only recall Mental Health Clinician positions, but please send me an email at ashley.ellerbeck@northernhealth.ca and I can connect you with our Public Health managers for more info.

Further to your question, Norris, given the large First Nations population in the North, having experience with and an appreciation for the culture would be a definite asset.

Comment From Robert B.

What are some of the benefits to working in a place like Northern B.C. as opposed to an urban area? Will I get the same kind of experience and variety of work?

TalentEgg Hayley

Hi Robert! While Ashley is answering your question, you can check out this article which details some of the benefits of living in Northern B.C.!

Ashley Ellerbeck

Great question Robert! You are actually more likely to get a larger variety of experience in the North because many of our departments are combined, so our staff are trained in multiple departments. In an urban area, you are often one of 10 on a unit. Here, after thorough mentorship and support, you will be working more independently. Therefore, you’ll be making more decisions and acquiring more skills.

As well, in some of our sites we even have acute combined with public health, or acute combined with maternity, so you can take that experience with you and choose which department you would like to specialize in.

Comment From Sarah

Before applying for Graduate Nurse/Registered Nurse positions with Northern Health, should I begin the process of obtaining CRNBC (College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia) registration? Or should I wait for an employment offer to do so?

Ashley Ellerbeck

Great question, Sarah. Yes, it is essential that you begin the process of registration beforehand, as it shows initiative and commitment moving to B.C. A great site (in addition to the CRNBC site) is HealthMatchBC.org, which was created to assist out of province healthcare professionals with their transition to B.C.

If you are coming from out of province and have to write the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE), you can obtain a provisional license in the interim to work.

Comment From Alison 

Hi Ashley and Hayley! My question is: Do you prefer applicants that are local? Or do you welcome applicants from other provinces? I’m studying Social Work at the University of Regina.

Ashley Ellerbeck

We absolutely welcome out-of-province healthcare professionals. In fact, we have many employees who are from all across Canada and around the world. Northern Health values diversity in background and experience. We look for the right person and the right fit regardless of where they come from. We actually just hired two nurses from Manitoba!

TalentEgg Hayley

I think this is a good time for our poll!

Why are you attending Office Hours with Northern Health today?

  • I want tips on applying to the opportunities at Northern Health (55%)
  • I am interested in learning about careers in the healthcare industry (18%)
  • I want to learn about life as a healthcare worker in Northern B.C. (27%)

Comment From Dinesh

How much do marks matter for Pharmacist roles? Do you have a grade cut-off, or do you look at experience, communication and learning skills, and interview skills as well?

Ashley Ellerbeck

For Pharmacy the most important qualification is the hospital residency experience. We do not necessarily have a grade cut-off. We look more at the combination of experience, qualifications and right fit for the community.

TalentEgg Hayley

Let’s hear from another student who submitted a question prior to the event:

Anum Rafiq, a Health Studies student at the University of Toronto, asks: Could I apply for a position with no work experience in the health field (only education)? If not, how could I go about getting the required experience?

Ashley Ellerbeck

Yes, of course! We hire tons of new grads from various programs such as Med Rad Techs, Med Lab Techs, Ultrasound Techs, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Occupational Therapy and Nurses, as well as non-clinical roles in administration and HR.

Comment From Jennifer

I’m a Nursing student at the University of Calgary and am graduating this year. Do you have different requirements for different nursing departments (like ER vs Maternity)?

Ashley Ellerbeck

We hire new grads into these departments depending on our capacity to train, mentor and support them. That being said, we also have needs for experienced and specialty-educated RNs. If you would like to almost guarantee yourself a position in a specialty department (most new grads start in Med/Surg), you will want to look into getting the specialty certifications from institutions such as BCIT or Grand Prairie Regional College.

Also, if you can concentrate your clinical experience or even get a preceptorship in either ER or Maternity, that can help your chances of getting a job as a new grad in these departments.

Comment From Cayleigh

What kind of experience/extra-curricular/volunteer activities are you looking for if I were to apply for a Physiotherapist job?

Ashley Ellerbeck

Wow Cayleigh! Are you a Physiotherapist? They are one of our top in-demand professions so I would LOVE to speak with you! We have a few positions in great communities that would be an awesome start for a new grad. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at ashley.ellerbeck@northernhealth.ca. 🙂

Comment From Cayleigh

Thank you! I am graduating soon and will definitely get in touch!

TalentEgg Hayley

That’s all the time we have for questions today. Thanks for participating in Office Hours and a big thank-you to Ashley for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions! Ashley, do you have any final comments?

Ashley Ellerbeck

Thanks to everyone! If you have any follow up questions please feel free to check out our website at careers.northernhealth.ca or email me directly at ashley.ellerbeck@northernhealth.ca. 🙂

TalentEgg Hayley

If you’re looking for more information on careers with Northern Health, visit their TalentEgg profile. They are currently hiring for over 100 healthcare roles, including RNs, Physiotherapists, Pharmacy Assistants, Social Workers and more!

Thanks again for joining us today TalentEgg-ers! Keep your eyes on our Twitter feed and Facebook page for upcoming Office Hours events!

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About the author

Hayley Mullen is the Community Manager at TalentEgg. After receiving her BA in Philosophy and Postgraduate Certificate in Advertising Copywriting, she worked as Content and Community Manager at a mobile software startup. She loves travelling, celebrity gossip blogs and any kind of dog.