Pharmacy, Health And Safety Grads Hatch Their Careers At Their Community Hospital


When you or your loved one is in the hospital, occupational health and safety isn’t the first thing you think about – but it’s a critical component to the operation of any healthcare facility.

Effective training and strict adherence to health and safety procedures ensures that diseases aren’t spread to other patients or the general public, and that both staff and patients alike are kept safe while they work or during their treatment.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to gain experience while serving my own community at the same time.” —Amy Ha, Health and Safety Assistant, The Scarborough Hospital

As a Health and Safety Assistant in the Occupational Health and Safety department at The Scarborough Hospital, Amy Ha (left) has worked on the hospital’s eyewash station assessment initiative, processes all the inspections for the Joint Health and Safety Committee, and updates the hospital’s tracker for compliance.

“Currently, I am reviewing all policies, procedures and protocols in the hospital relating to occupational health and safety in an effort to improve employee well-being,” she says.

She is a recent graduate of the Public Health and Safety program at Ryerson University and, after applying to The Scarborough Hospital online, was hired into her current role in August 2011. Her education has been critical to her success at the hospital so far: “I apply my educational background on a daily basis as there are specific regulations that must be followed in health and safety.”

Amy says she chose to start her career at The Scarborough Hospital because it’s her community hospital. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to gain experience while serving my own community at the same time.”

Fourth-year University of Toronto Pharmacy student Janet Lui (right) is completing her third practical placement at The Scarborough Hospital’s Pharmacy, and she has also volunteered at the hospital in the past, for the same reason. “TSH is my community hospital and I really wanted to be part of helping my community,” she says.

As a Drug Access Navigator, she helps cancer patients get the expensive oral medications they need that aren’t covered by OHIP, the Ontario government’s health insurance plan.

“I meet with patients to see if they have drug insurance and if they need to be enrolled in Ontario’s Trillium Drug Program,” she says. That program helps people pay for their prescription drugs if they don’t have private health insurance, or if their insurance doesn’t cover 100% of their prescription drug costs.

“I also ensure that forms and letters are written to the Ontario Exceptional Access Program for medications that require a physician’s note in order to be covered by the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, and there are compassionate drug supply programs from different drug manufacturers that I help patients access,” she says.

“In addition, I work with the oncology doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to ensure that the patients get the appropriate drugs they need in a timely manner.”

She says her colleagues provide plenty of learning opportunities as well. “I always feel like I could ask anyone for help, and everyone is always warm and friendly. The nurses, pharmacists and doctors all work together for the good of the patients.”

Working in the Oncology Clinic isn’t always easy, but Janet says it’s encouraging to know that she is making a difference in people’s lives.

For example, she recently helped a family apply for a compassionate supply of medication that helped lower the risk of infection in their family member while she underwent chemotherapy.

“The patient was hospitalized for an infection before starting chemotherapy and almost did not make it,” she says. “I helped the family apply for a compassionate supply of medication from the manufacturers so that she would have a lower risk of infection. The application was approved and the patient’s daughter, who was distraught over the matter, was extremely grateful.”

The Scarborough HospitalLearn more about current and upcoming career opportunities: visit The Scarborough Hospital’s profile.