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Vanessa Tan

Health Sciences

Organization
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Experience Details
Semester
Spring
Year
2022
Application and Interview Tips
  • Come prepared with an understanding of hand hygiene policies by reviewing the informational material provided by the organization

  • Practice speaking and presenting in front of an audience

  • Practice data entry skills by using Microsoft Office, PowerPoint, and Excel

  • Become a problem-solver, communicator, and team player!  

Preparation
Previous Experience

I have previously worked with Fraser Health supporting COVID-19 Immunization Centres as a Health Unit Aide, which allowed me to gain experience working with an organization based in a professional public health environment. Even though my past Co-op experience revolves around promoting primary prevention initiatives, this position is the first opportunity that I had to learn about the prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) at the primary care level. My coursework from infectious diseases, epidemiology, and statistics in the PQHS concentration allowed me to apply these disciplines to various aspects of work responsibilities.

During my Experience
Day to Day

As strange as it may sound, aside from checking morning emails, I always look up the weather forecast on my phone before I leave the house. Taking daily precautions to ensure personal and road safety amongst an unprecedented pandemic and BC’s weather conditions is essential given that Fraser Health is responsible for delivering health services across Burnaby to Hope. 

On a monthly basis, I visit acute care and long-term care facilities in the community to perform observational audits. The goal is to measure the hand hygiene compliance rate and identify factors that reduce the effectiveness of hand hygiene. In addition, my role also involves providing constructive feedback and reminders to healthcare workers to consistently practice hand hygiene when interacting with the patients and their environments. 

After I finish my audits, I head back to the office to compile the data collected into different reports that are used to succinctly summarize audit information to present to unit managers and my supervisor for an update.

Learning and Adaptation

My key learnings involved gaining greater insight to the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) department at Fraser Health. Many people see hand hygiene merely as hand-washing, but it is so much more than that especially during an outbreak. Many other important factors outside of nurses and physicians can impact patient and visitors’ health and safety. This includes onsite construction from facilities management, delivery of food services, or daily housekeeping that operate on standard precautions and guidelines set by IPC to improve quality control.

Reflection & Tips
Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

I love that my work is not only meaningful at reducing HAIs, but it also gives me the opportunity to provide education, awareness, and practice for hand hygiene in different healthcare settings. I have always had a personal interest in occupational health and safety, so this position was an amazing opportunity for me to learn more about potential career paths. I enjoy working with my supportive coworkers every day and getting to meet different people at hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Reflection

I still have four months of this Co-op placement left and I am excited for what is to come. I hope to improve on my communication, data analysis, and time-management skills.