Shairoz, what is your biggest challenge right now?
Our challenge is staffing, like everybody else in healthcare and hospitality industries. We’re really experiencing that in the lab area. We’re finding people are retiring earlier. Workload is high because as people leave and we’re not able to fill their posts, workloads increase. Staff feel they’re at risk because they’re doing so much.
Why do you think we’re experiencing this resource shortage now?
As automation came into the lab, they said, “We’re not going to need so many lab techs, so we’re going to cut down on enrollment.” I think there were ten schools where they either closed or reduced enrollment. The pandemic exacerbated this gap because you still need a lab tech to release a result. You still need a lab tech to do some of the quality assurance reviews. Our population is aging. Technology’s improving, but we’re doing more complex tests. I know there is an MLA or medical laboratory assistant, to MLT or medical laboratory technologist bridging program in development. This will definitely help.
You have several degrees Shairoz, which is impressive! Which program was toughest and helps you the most?
I have to say that the CMA program, it’s now CPA, was the toughest – I needed extra tutoring to get through it. But it’s so robust. It gives you so much information around just how business is conducted. I don’t do as much as someone working in finance, but I look at budgets. I look at variances, and I develop business cases with our finance people. I understand their lingo.
For several years you sat on the board of Bob Kemp Hospice in Stoney Creek. What was that like?
When I first joined, I was a member on the finance committee. I wanted to do something else, so they gave me the chair of the governance committee, which I really enjoyed. I met people from different industries and I could relate to all the issues on the board. It was a great experience.