What it Means to Staff the Front Lines

As I sit here writing this, Ontario is preparing to enter a Stay at Home Order for the next 28 days. Ontario is seeing cases of COVID-19 surge. Hospitals are under more pressure now than they have been at any point in the past 12 months. Long Term Care is almost on its knees with how much they are having to withstand. To say times have been tough would be a pretty big understatement. 

Our healthcare workers are being praised, rightly-so. Their strength, courage, compassion and selflessness has been unlike anything that I personally have ever witnessed in my short time on this Earth. Sadly, we don’t have anywhere near enough healthcare workers to be able to cope sufficiently, and as a result, many of our front line heroes are beginning to feel the pain. Overworked, understaffed, with no end in sight; It’s little wonder why these incredible souls are needing to take time away from their work, in order to prevent them from burning out entirely. 

That is why working somewhere like Plan A is truly rewarding. Our job is not just to simply place staff. We are not just an office of recruiters making a living. We are an office of passionate people, working tirelessly to help provide support to those who need it the most — our healthcare workers. 

I see the work that my office colleagues put in each and every day. Don’t get me wrong, none of us know what it is like to be in a long term care facility, working to keep residents safe, all the while putting on a brave face for those wonderful people; while not knowing if they will have a safe enough staffing level to maintain the care that is so desperately needed. But what we do know, is that every single time we help to provide a front line worker to a care facility, we are helping to ease the pressure. 

Our recruitment team work day and night (literally) to find the best health care workers out there, so that they can bring them on to the A Team. They don’t rest for a moment, because no sooner do they find one, they know that they need another. The reason they push so hard to find as much talent as they can, is because we want…no, we need, to provide support for those who need it most. One additional PSW in a facility eases the workload for another. One more set of hands is one more resident receiving what is often lifesaving care. The more shifts that we can help to cover, the more breaks those who need them most can have. We have taken up every single social media platform that we can think of, to extend our reach to as far as we can go so that we can find those people who can answer the call and to come and support our staff who so desperately need it. 

Our Owner and our Operations Manager are on phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s not about being a successful business, it’s about making sure that those who are in the thick of it on behalf of Plan A, know that there is somebody here to support them. We can’t do the work that they do, but what we can do is be here for whatever they need. So, if they need somebody that they can vent to, if they need somebody to cry with; or just somebody to talk to about anything that they can possibly think of, they know they can get hold of somebody at any time. Our office hours may say 8:30 – 4:30 Monday to Friday, but we all know that when it comes to our staff, it’s any time that they like. 

Every second of every day, our thoughts are with our workers, and indeed all workers on the front line. How many times have you been discussing the pandemic, and have used the word “scary”? So imagine feeling that way, and then having to spend each and every day surrounded by the virus. Imagine having to be surrounded by it on a daily basis, and because of this, you have to be isolated away from family, friends, your entire network of support. That, to me, is truly terrifying. So if we can be here for them, if we can do everything that we can for them, then you can bet your bottom dollar that we will. So when I look around, and I see the effort that my team puts into each and every task, it fills me with pride to know that we do it because we care, we do it because we can.  

What truly gives you a sense of pride, is knowing that you work for a company that has multiple locations, and each location up and down this great nation is doing exactly the same thing. Yes, this is a business, but if you are ever able to, you should go ahead and spend time with any one of our offices. What you will see is people dedicated to helping people. People dedicated to supporting those incredible staff in any way, shape, or form. When our staff are hurting, we are hurting with them. When they are suffering, I can see the same suffering on the face of each and every member of my team. I know that is exactly the same way in each Plan  A Office. 

Healthcare workers are indeed superheroes. We will do our best to be their sidekicks, and provide them with anything that they may need. That is what it means to recruit in healthcare. That is why this is the best place to be. That is what it means to staff the front lines. It means everything.  

~ James Montgomery, Operations, People and Culture Coordinator, Plan A Kitchener/Waterloo/London

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