Hi! My name is Hussain Ali Naqvi and I'm a 3B Honours Health Studies co-op student. I wanted to share my co-op experiences in the healthcare system and the lessons I've learned on my journey to becoming a physician!
I was most recently employed by BioIntegral Surgical. They are a medical device company that designs and manufactures vascular and cardiac implants, such as grafts, stents and other devices implanted during surgery. Previously, I spent my first two co-op terms at the Region of Peel, Health Services department where we designed policies, conducted assessments and improved health outcomes/programs in long-term care and regional clinics.
While at BioIntegral Surgical, my main role was to work in clinical research and regulatory affairs. I worked closely with the medical director of the company, conducted research on cardiac surgeries and how the company’s implants can further improve health outcomes for patients across the world.
I assisted the medical director in clinical research on the company’s implants by improving designs and leveraging evidence-based best practices. I also coordinated with regulatory bodies across Europe – most notably certified bodies that lead audits – on behalf of the European Union and various countries when proving the safety and efficacy of the medical implants.
While at the Region of Peel, I worked as a Health Planning and Improvement Analyst, where my main projects included improving the health status of patients in Long Term Care and enhancing healthcare workflows. Primarily, I would liaise with long-term care residents and staff in identifying areas for improvement to reduce mental health concerns and improve care delivery.
I was also tasked with leading literature reviews and analysis on various developmental measures such as adding new services into Long Term Care and devising solutions to some pressing problems faced by stakeholders. Another one of my key projects – as per the Region’s strategic objective – was the implementation of a Region-wide electronic medical record system, where I worked with various stakeholders to identify implementation methods.
The highlight of my current work term at BioIntegral Surgical would be having the opportunity to proceed through a company-wide audit by a regulatory body for all of Europe! Understanding and learning about the various complexities that accompany audits, as well as ensuring accurate documentation, recording and communication with auditors has certainly been an eye-opener into the realm of medical devices.
While working at BioIntegral Surgical, I’ve garnered the ability to handle multiple tasks at once, conduct research on complex medical conditions and interact with numerous members of the care team to devise thorough and accurate care plans for patients. Particularly, working in the medical device industry has taught me the importance of medical research and how clinicians must constantly innovate and act upon evidence-based best practices to adequately care for their patients.
Alternatively, at the Region of Peel, much of my exposure was understanding how care team members can work together, operate under best practices and integrate efforts to improve patient health outcomes. Working on the social determinants of health and understanding the disadvantages of marginalized communities – particularly in light of the pandemic – was highly effective in informing me of real-world factors affecting patients' lives.
This co-op offered me systemic insights into the operations of healthcare and how patients' health outside of the clinic – through health promotion – should be addressed just as well as clinical care.
In light of my growth and endeavour in this position, I will be working at the Canadian Institute of Health Informatics in my upcoming co-op term to understand more about the healthcare system and how physicians can improve outcomes through a system lens. My co-op experiences in health systems and clinical research have further motivated, educated and inspired me on my journey towards becoming a physician.
While the pandemic brought forth its waves of lockdowns, I was a part of the critical transition period and re-orienting of healthcare services from an in-person to virtual format at the Region of Peel. This meant working in changing environments with complex stakeholders, addressing new problems and juggling multiple tasks daily. I believe my main support systems were my supervisors, managers, and co-workers with whom a great deal of insight and mentorship in dealing with turbulent conditions was reciprocated back and forth.
The structural support provided by management to co-op students and other employees was highly effective in increasing communication, adjusting to remote work and improving workflows. It’s my understanding that whenever a workplace or a team faces difficulty, changing structural support systems to best match the needs of workers is a critical and effective measure to ensure continued success. I wish to take this insight with me into the practice of medicine, incorporating a wide range of stakeholders and care team members to collaborate effectively and work together to enhance patient outcomes.