Every day is Administrative Professionals' Day at HSNS

By Anne Mason-Browne, CEO

Early on in my career as a speech-language pathologist with Hearing and Speech Nova Scotia (HSNS), I discovered an essential ingredient that helps us deliver quality and efficient services: the expertise and dedication of our Administrative Support Professionals (ASPs).

Every year, HSNS Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists have over 60,000 patient visits and receive more than 35,000 new patient referrals across 35 clinical sites in 24 communities throughout Nova Scotia. Each one of those services and referrals is supported by our ASPs.

In recognition of Administrative Professionals Day, I met with four of our 18 ASP employees to learn more about their work and what it means to them personally. Here is what I learned from that conversation:

They all have unique experiences

The ASPs I chatted with have all been working for over five years at HSNS clinics across Nova Scotia in Antigonish, Bridgewater, Sydney Mines and HRM. The range of services and clinic environments vary from small clinics with under five Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology, and Communication Disorders Technician Staff, to larger sites with over 10 clinical staff. The services range from out-patient hearing and speech services for children and adults based out of community clinic sites, to in-patient and specialized services based in a hospital setting.

The ASPs were each drawn to their careers for different reasons, and the particular skills and talents they bring to HSNS vary. One of the ASPs was drawn to healthcare and opportunities to support analytics and administrative processes. Another had experience in education and recreation and was keen to apply her skills in administration to healthcare and have opportunities to work directly with families. The other two ASPs described leaving their previous administration roles to look for a better-suited work environment and found exactly that at HSNS.

 They find their work personally and professionally meaningful

Teresa (ASP, Sydney Mines) described her first few weeks at HSNS: “I was at an all staff meeting and was so amazed to see how anyone and everyone in the organization has opportunity to be part of important provincial committees and projects. I felt so proud to be a part of that.” She also discussed feeling comfortable coming to work every day. “I feel it’s a perfect setting for me. Yes, there are some routines but there are lots of opportunities to solve problems and help people out. Work has a purpose every day.”

Carla (ASP, Antigonish), discussed the opportunities to develop different skills and make a real difference to services that can help families. “There is so much diversity across the ASPs here; everyone brings different skills and HSNS supports our continued growth both professionally and personally,” she said. “I have really grown as a person since working here and have been able to help by solving problems for staff and the clients. I really feel valued as an employee.”

Linda (ASP, HRM) also commented on feeling valued at HSNS. “HSNS really cares about all its staff. One thing that really made an impression on me was during the pandemic lockdown – it was really hard for everyone, there was so much sadness and a lot of people around me were really stressed. When the Portapique shooting happened, I was so surprised when my manager called to see if I was alright. She didn’t have to do that, but she did anyway. That really stuck with me and meant a lot.”

Vanda (ASP, Bridgewater) commented on how everyone has opportunities to be part of organizational projects and activities and describes the value of the day-to-day opportunities to help a family from their first interaction with HSNS. Vanda knows what a huge difference her work can have on a smooth experience for patients and families. “The thing I’m really impressed with is how a daily routine can make such a difference in providing clinical care. When I pick up the phone, I’m always aware that on the other end of the phone there is a family or client who needs our services and my help.”

Anne Mason-Browne and the admin staff in a zoom call
Top: Vanda Stevens (Bridgewater), Kimberlee Leslie (Halifax), Teresa McNeil (Sydney Mines).
Bottom: Linda Allan (Halifax), Carla Haley-Baxter (Antigonish), Anne Mason-Browne (CEO, Halifax)

They make a difference every day

Each ASP working at HSNS makes a critical difference every day to the families receiving audiology or speech-language pathology services. The client and family experience starts with that first connection. From processing a referral, booking an appointment, helping the clinical team set up a safe and comfortable clinic, or sending a report to someone on the health team – their role is meaningful and important to the quality of care each person receives from HSNS.

We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated and skilled group of ASPs who embrace opportunities to improve ours services and bring their unique perspective and understanding of our client and stakeholder needs. This past year has presented several challenges that were resolved by the skills and creativity of our ASPs, and I so often hear from staff and managers how much they appreciate their contributions.

On behalf of everyone at Hearing and Speech Nova Scotia: Thank You to each of our Administrative Support Professionals. Our work and the patient experience simply wouldn’t be the same without you.