There are more than 70 professions in PEI’s healthcare system. Below is a snapshot of what some healthcare professionals had to say about their careers.
For the full interviews, search each profession by name.
Healthcare professionals talk about their careers
Respiratory Therapists work with doctors and other health care professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of breathing-related disorders and provide care to patients.
Josée Jenkins is a Registered Respiratory Therapist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). She graduated from a respiratory therapy program in Quebec City 27 years ago, and worked her entire career in Ontario until she moved to the Island over a year ago.
“In 1989, the demand for this career was high,” says Josée. “Turnover is low now – many of us on PEI are still in the midst of our careers. I would say in the next 10 years, the demand will be huge again.”
Biomedical Engineering Technologist
Biomedical Engineering Technologists fill an important role in the selection and maintenance of the equipment used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients within Health PEI facilities.
Brendon McKenna works at the QEH Biomedical Engineering Department. He took both the Electronics Engineering and Computer Engineering Technology programs at Holland College. “I went away for work after graduation and came back to PEI in 1998 to work at the hospital.
“Health equipment is by far the most advanced equipment I’ve worked on. It’s very high-tech and fast changing. A lot of continuing education goes along with biomedical engineering technology.”
Pharmacists compound and dispense prescriptions and other healthcare products. They also provide consultation to patients and other healthcare providers. This profession has expanded its scope to include prescribing, adjusting doses based on lab tests, and giving flu shots.
Kelly MacDonald has been a pharmacist for 11 years, and works at the QEH. She completed her Bachelor of Science at UPEI, where she majored in Chemistry, and then went on to Dalhousie University’s College of Pharmacy.
“When my classmates and I graduated from pharmacy school, we had many employers to choose from. Right now, it’s competitive and you have to stand out with your personality, enthusiasm, and knowledge. It’s really important to show all three to support your career.”
Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT)
About 120 MLTs work at PEI hospitals in Charlottetown, Summerside, Souris, Montague, and O’Leary.
“Across Canada, approximately 50 percent of MLTs will be eligible to retire in the next 10 years,” says Greg Dobbin, who works at the QEH. “Employment opportunities are already good for new graduates, and will continue for quite some time.”
Chris Campbell works at Prince County Hospital. He earned his Bachelor of Science at UPEI, and then went on to earn an MLT diploma.
MLT training is offered at Nova Scotia and New Brunswick’s Community Colleges.
“If you are interested in this career, visit a lab, spend some time, and take a tour,” says Greg.
Radiation Therapists focus mainly on the treatment of cancer. There are 14 radiation therapists on PEI, all of whom work at the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre.
“I have always wanted to work in a profession that focuses on cancer treatment,” says Kristy Peters.
“In this profession, we have the opportunity to really get to know patients and develop relationships, because we can be involved in their treatment for several weeks.”
Kristy took her education through the University of New Brunswick and the Saint John Regional Hospital, and went to Winnipeg for one year for the cancer-specific part of her studies. She has worked at the QEH for three years. “I’m an Islander, so it is great to be home.”
Health Information Management
Kim Vriends works at the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre.
“We gather information on every person diagnosed with cancer, and produce statistics and patient profiles useful for learning about cancer.”
Kim attended Algonquin College in Ottawa and then went on to a degree at Ryerson University in Toronto.
College diploma programs for Health Information Professionals are offered in almost every province but PEI. Kim attended Algonquin College in Ottawa and then went on to a degree at Ryerson University in Toronto. An option for people already in the healthcare field is to do an accredited program online through the Canadian Healthcare Association.
“There are 15 health information professionals on PEI,” says Kim. “The average age is 50, and so we know we will need more people in the future. Even though there may not be openings in this field right now, there certainly will be in the future. It would be a good field to get into.”