With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, CHEO suddenly needed many staff to redeploy from their usual jobs into new roles so that we could continue providing the care that matters to families. Noémie Ntahonkiriye, a patient service clerk (PSC), was one of hundreds of staff who volunteered to take up whatever challenge was required.
“Figuring out all the new things each of us had to do could get a bit chaotic,” says Noémie. “But when you see a smiling child it’s always nice and makes it all worth it.”
As a patient service clerk, Noémie was already a Jill-of-all-trades, but redeploying from her usual clerk role gave new meaning to the word “variety”. Whether scheduling virtual clinic appointments, answering families’ questions, escorting patients and family caregivers from the main entrance to where they need to go, or being onsite at the Brewer Assessment Centre to register children and youth for COVID-19 testing, there was always something new and challenging to keep Noémie on her toes.
“Variety is one of the things I like most about my PSC role,” she says. “My job always stays interesting and I’m learning a lot.”
It is an unprecedented time right now and anything but business as usual. Noémie has taken it all in her stride. When the pandemic broke, she answered an in-house survey highlighting her skills and was selected for two new pandemic response roles — supporting children and youth at the Brewer Assessment Centre and escorting patients and families at CHEO to make sure they stay comfortable and safe — jobs she had not previously trained for.
In addition to these two new redeployment roles, Noémie continued as a clerk wherever she was needed but added additional duties like supporting families when she rearranged their care from in-person to virtual appointments. Noémie’s flexibility in adapting to new environments, a key skill of any PSC, helped her thrive in all these new challenges.
No two days are the same for Noémie — whether she is providing support to different clinics throughout the week or working in CHEO’s scheduling centre booking appointments for families, each day brings fresh tasks to tackle. Typical of CHEO staff, Noémie wants to help wherever it is required.
“I’m not a doctor or a nurse, but helping families by giving directions on where they need to go, explaining how our referral system works, or booking an appointment that matters to them is really rewarding work,” she says. “Every day at CHEO makes me feel like I am making a difference. It is a really rewarding job.”