Julie Yeldon started her position as an Intake Care Coordinator with the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) at The Ottawa Hospital Civic campus in November 2012.
The nursing grad already had community work experience as a staff nurse attached to the hospital’s Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant unit.
“Working in a hospital has a more structured schedule than community work, but still allows time in the evenings and weekends for other things,” she says.
Julie’s new career provides the balance she’s been looking for.
“I find working at CCAC has made maintaining a work-life balance a lot easier,” says Julie.
When Julie describes her typical workday, it’s obvious that balance doesn’t mean boring.
On the job
Julie arrives at The Ottawa Hospital between 7:30 and 8 each morning to take care of correspondence and email. She reviews yesterday’s tasks and ensures everything was properly dealt with before prioritizing her time for the day.
“This job is anything but routine. You set your own flow and pace.”
—Julie Yeldon, Intake Care Coordinator
She makes sure to check in with her coworkers to see if there’s a particular area where she can be of assistance. Julie works in a “float position,” and isn’t assigned to a particular floor. “Depending on which floor I’m working on I may need to schedule my morning around rounds so that I’m present when the team meets and discusses plans or discharges a client,” she says.
Working as a Care Coordinator means that Julie is in constant contact with healthcare workers and support staff from various fields. First among these are Julie’s CCAC colleagues, some of whom work on specific floors, while others work float positions like Julie. “We all help each other out and bounce questions, ideas and potential solutions off each other all the time,” Julie says.
Next are staff from The Ottawa Hospital: a diverse team that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists and others. “It takes a very large team of people to admit, treat and then safely discharge a client,” says Julie, “so you usually end up meeting them all!”
Then there are all the external parties a Care Coordinator works with, including community agencies, pharmacy techs and clinics.
“Since our main role is to coordinate the community support when the client leaves the hospital, we liaise with them the most,” Julie says.
Forget the typical
Working as a Care Coordinator means adapting to a changing work environment on a daily basis.
“This job is anything but routine,” says Julie. “It changes from day to day and you set your own flow and pace and will become faster as you go.”
Different tasks have different timelines to completion, so a low-volume day can still be quite consuming.
“Setting someone up to go home with palliative supports in place can take all day,” Julie says, “while working in the Emergency department and setting clients up with IV antibiotics can be quick and might involve working with six or eight people a day.”
The clients are as variable as the work.
“There is no ‘typical client,’ as every client has different needs, different expectations and have had different experiences,” says Julie. “But that is what makes every day interesting and never routine!”
When there is downtime, Julie says teamwork comes into play. “There is never a shortage of clients to be seen, and if one person’s caseload is light that day then we help out someone whose caseload is quite busy,” she explains.
Each day ends with an eye on the next one. “I will usually ensure all referrals I was working on that day are complete and set up,” Julie says, “then take a peek at what tomorrow might look like and note which clients are top priority.”
The right fit
Julie says that her high-volume and dynamic work environment makes careful time management vital.
“In the beginning it can be tricky to time things properly so you aren’t starting a brand new referral and staying late to complete it,” she says.
The hospital has guidelines in place to help CCAC staff manage their time.
“All CCAC referrals are faxed into our portal system,” says Julie, “and a care coordinator in the office triages them.”
Monitoring this portal system helps Julie track who is waiting to be seen and which cases are the most urgent.
“This helps you keep your workload manageable and enables you to get things done by the end of the day,” she explains.
Enjoying your work is a big perk, she adds.
“This job gives you the chance to sit with people and work with them to better their home environment and health,” Julie says. “I am lucky I have already had the chance to try out community and hospital care coordinating and have enjoyed them both!”
For someone who wanted a more organized work-life balance, it’s a perfect fit.
“I really enjoy working at CCAC and I can picture myself staying here,” she says.