Getting Started: Stories From The Northern Health Team


Ask Northern Health team members why they started a career at Northern Health, and you’ll hear a lot about learning and professional development.

Registered Nurse Derek Flynn saw a career at Northern Health as a chance to expand his skills as a new healthcare professional – and moved from Calgary to Terrace, British Columbia to get started.

“What really attracted me was the variety of work,” he explains. “There are a lot of opportunities in various nursing fields. You’re trained as a generalist in school, so it’s nice to keep up those skills.”

Mimi Vanderheide relocated from Chilliwack to Fort St. John, drawn to an Administrative Support role at Northern Health: an opportunity to use her previous experience while exploring a diverse range of opportunities.

“I’ve worked in administrative roles before, and working at Northern Health matched my desire to use my previous experience while moving around and exploring new responsibilities,” she says.

Both Derek and Mimi relocated to join the Northern Health team – and were thrilled with the welcome they received.

Derek’s story

Settling in

Derek Flynn
Registered Nurse

Knowing he was pursuing an opportunity that matched his interests helped Derek navigate the relocation process with confidence.

“I’m used to moving, but it’s much more reassuring to know that you have a great job waiting for you in a new location,” Derek says.

From the beginning, the Northern Health team made sure Derek had access to information and local knowledge to help him plan his arrival and settle in, including an orientation package that helped him understand his role and transition smoothly upon arrival.

“I spent the first day in orientation, getting a feel for my unit and working with other team members to assess my skill level and confidence,” he explains.

“The Northern Health staff really encourage you to share areas where you feel you can improve more as well as areas when you’re really experienced so that you can figure out where you fit into the team and progress together.”

For Derek, jumping right into his new role was a great fit.

“It can be difficult adjusting to a new role, but you have a great support system here,” he says. “You succeed as a team, and that’s and great way to work because it gives you the confidence to take on new challenges and work on your own.”

Looking back

Today, Derek is thrilled with the work he’s doing at Northern Health, dividing his time between the psychiatry unit and ER.

“I feel more comfortable and I’m starting to take on more responsibility and learn about different roles,” he says.

Building a foundation of knowledge means he’s already developing new skills for career success.

“Continual growth and learning is my priority at the moment,” Derek says. “The team here recognizes that I really want to learn and they are incredibly supportive of you as you take on more responsibility.”

For someone who moved to pursue professional development, it’s a perfect fit.

“Every day is a new day, and you’re always learning,” he says. “That’s what Northern Health really promotes.”

Mimi’s story

Settling in

Mimi Vanderheide
Administrative Support

Mimi got started at Northern Health shadowing another Admin Support worker, which helped her adjust to the numerous responsibilities of her role.

“There’s so much to know,” she says. “Everyone was friendly and very supportive and made sure I had support when I was taking on a new task or wasn’t sure how to handle something.”

While helping Mimi explore her role, the Northern Health team also made sure she was familiar with the community and her new environment.

“I asked a number of different questions about the amenities in the community, and instead of just giving me directions, the team took me different places straight from work,” she says.

“They put time into getting to know me, and giving me time to get to know them. As a member on the team, I found that really helpful.”

Over time, that initial welcome and integration helped her build relationships with her team, and complete the adjustment process.

“Over the first month you really build relationships,” she explains. “You work with clients and coworkers, relationships start to form and you find people who are like you.”

Looking back

After just a few months at Northern Health, Mimi has fully settled in.

“It’s fast-paced and fast-moving, which is a challenge for me, and I really enjoy a challenge,” she says. “It is quite involving and engaging, and I really love that.”

She’s followed up on her initial introduction to Fort St. John by exploring the community and getting involved.

“There are so many amenities here: courses in the community, opportunities to exercise, a well-stocked library, the cultural centre, hockey and a speed-skating rink and more,” she says, adding that she’s gotten involved in a local writer’s group.

“The support of the community is here in friendships and in opening up different areas of my interest. I feel very well taken care of as far as being part of a community goes.”

“If I could say one thing to myself on my first day at Northern Health…”

“I would say: ‘Relax – and write more stuff down!’”
– Mimi Vanderheide

“Don’t be afraid. Get out there, because everyone is there to support you.”
– Derek Flynn

The right choice

Derek and Mimi came to Northern Health to build careers, and they’re both full of enthusiasm for what they’ve accomplished.

“Northern Health has everything you need to build a healthcare career,” says Derek. “The only limiting factor is yourself. It’s all available and it’s all up to you – those opportunities to learn are crucial.”

Mimi agrees.

“There’s nothing like it. You’re going to experience so much more and learn so much more than you expect, and that helps you grow as a person and expands what you can do in your chosen career.”

“There’s nothing like working at Northern Health.”

Want to learn more? Check out the latest career opportunities at Northern Health here!