Saskatchewan’s health care providers are the backbone of our health care system – but many classifications are overlooked. CUPE Local 5430 has launched a member profile campaign to highlight the important work our members do – and the challenges they face in the workplace.
Selena Heglund – Unit Clerk
Selena Heglund is a Unit Clerk and Operating Room scheduler in Estevan. In her role at the hospital, she is responsible for scheduling a wide range of procedures, and making sure patients are fully prepared for their appointments. She books operating rooms, outpatient procedures, endoscopies, the mobile cardiac care unit, chronic kidney disease clinics and chemotherapy appointments.
“I absolutely love the patients. If you’re booked for a procedure in the city, it’s quick, you don’t have a lot of time to ask questions,” said Heglund. “But I get to touch base with patients before their surgeries, and when they come in for their pre-ops. I get so many opportunities to guide them through anything they need. Because I’ve been a patient too, I’ve been on both sides of this. I always find the doctor can give you a booklet or a pamphlet, but that doesn’t always help you fully prepare. I get to have a personal connection with patients, and make sure they’re comfortable with it.”
Heglund has been working at St Joe’s Hospital since 2001, and has worked in a variety of positions, including as a Continuing Care Assistant
“There’s no such thing as a typical day for me. It’s just absolutely chaotic. I do every aspect of booking in the hospital,” added Heglund. “The pandemic changed how everything is booked. We were closed for three or four months last summer. And there was a lot of frustration for patients because they had been waiting for so long. And you really felt bad for them because they didn’t have any answers for when they could get their procedures booked.”
“It really bothered us as staff… (and) it really affected our ability to communicate with our patients because we really didn’t have any answers to give them. The doctors didn’t have answers. It slowed everything down and the catch up period hasn’t been fun. Everyone is tired and our nursing staff is so short. It’s a lot, it’s a lot for everyone, and it’s playing a big role in everyone’s mental ability to be there every day and to show up the way we need to,” said Heglund. “I want the public to know that we do understand their frustration, because we have our own frustrations. And we’re not ignoring them. We know they’ve been waiting, we know they’re struggling. We’ve all got to try to get through this together and be patient and kind and take each day as it goes.”