What is your program?
Include what year you are currently in. I am a third-year Public Health major, currently also completing a health informatics option and health research specialization.
Who is your employer?
I am currently employed with the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) as a co-op student with the Virtual Care Initiative.
What are your responsibilities in the workplace and what does your work entail?
My role at CIHI has involved co-operating with a team of project leads, specialists, coordinators and data analysts to work on a report that showcases the virtual care initiatives recently implemented across Canada and exploring how virtual care can help alleviate emergency department pressures. I took part in qualitative interviews with provinces and territories, recorded and summarized interview notes, completed drafts for the report and organized data for analysis. I also completed environmental scans and literature reviews, presented a PowerPoint deck to my team on my findings and wrote a 2-page report on my findings that will be shared internally at CIHI.
During my first work term, I worked at the Undergraduate Registrar’s Office at the University of Waterloo as an Admission Support Assistant. During my time there, I engaged with prospective students on their admissions inquiries, completed data entry and worked with my team on several projects related to updating admissions requirements.
What has been the highlight of your current work term?
The highlights of this work term have been the continuous learning opportunities that I was provided with. Between transcribing for qualitative interviews and writing a report, there was never a moment when I stopped learning, whether that be a technical skill or knowledge about a specific topic. This work term has undoubtedly increased my interest in virtual care as well as my program. I look forward to contributing to this field in the future.
How do you think this experience and/or your previous co-ops have helped you develop yourself?
Working at the Registrar’s Office and CIHI have strengthened many transferable skills, such as project coordination, communication and workplace research skills. These skills can apply in multiple fields, as I have been able to during my transition between the Registrar’s Office to CIHI.
How did you overcome challenges during this work term and/or previous ones?
The biggest challenge during co-op was learning how to work on large-scale projects. This being my time working on these projects was somewhat intimidating. As I began working on these projects, two things became very helpful: asking for help when you need it and managing your work based on your capacity. I worked with a great team who were always happy to guide me through a process I wasn’t familiar with, which was a great help for me. By organizing my work into pieces that I had capacity to complete with a given time, I was able to tackle some of the larger tasks. These methods helped me learn as I completed tasks, stayed motivated as I tackled projects and also gained the confidence to take more initiative.