Ayako shares her unique perspective as a Health Care Assistant (HCA) at Royal Jubilee Hospital.
Victoria Hospitals Foundation: What is your role within our hospitals?
Ayako: I work in the 6 South Bone Health & General Surgery Unit at Royal Jubilee Hospital as a Health Care Assistant (HCA). Being an HCA has many roles. I provide assistance and support to patients who need my help. For example, I assist patients with hygiene activities such as washing, grooming, and dressing. I also help with feeding, mobility, and lift assistance. Also, HCAs must observe and report on changes in patients’ behaviour and conditions to the nurse teams.
VHF: Why did you decide to become a Health Care Assistant?
A: I have always had a strong desire to help people, which was why I spent six years in nursing in Japan. After I moved to Victoria, I always dreamed of working in a hospital because caring and helping people gives me a sense of fulfilment.
VHF: What is your favourite part of your job?
A: I have many favourite parts of my job. First, our orthopaedic unit can get busy with patients coming in and out on a daily basis. It’s a very rewarding experience to see patients being discharged or see them get well enough to move on to another area of the hospital. I love watching my patients smile when they leave the hospital.
Bed bathing, mouth care, changing position, and linen changing are included in my daily responsibilities as well. Many patients and their families really appreciate my help in these areas. Making them happy always gives me satisfaction.
I also love being part of a team. I appreciate all 6 South team members, nurses, unit clerks, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, house keepers, porters, and food servers. No matter how busy they are, whenever I have a question, they always help and support me. Teamwork always results in better quality care.
VHF: Who or what inspires you to care for others?
A: My mother and the 6 South team members inspire me. My mom, who passed away in March, always inspired and influenced my career. She was fighting with cancer for over 20 years, so she always told me about hospital care from the patient’s point of view. She would say, “Don’t do it just as a job! Patients need thoughtfulness and attentiveness. A simple act such as fixing a pillow, smoothening a wrinkled bed sheet, rubbing a shoulder or back, holding someone’s hand, or setting up a TV makes a huge difference in how they feel.” Keeping her words in my mind encourages me to pay attention to every detail when caring for others.
When my mother entered palliative care, I had to go back to Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic. My manager approved my leave request instantly and supported me. Also, I received a very generous donation from my 6 South team for my plane ticket. One of my coworkers often contacted me while I was in Japan to make sure I was okay and to give me updates about work. I will never forget how nice they were to me during that time. I have a lot of role models. I learn from my team how to provide the best care for people.
VHF: What does “Hospital Hero” mean to you?
A: To me, the word ‘hero’ means someone who does something brave, good, helpful—who is greatly admired by people. The frontline healthcare workers and community, during this pandemic, are all heroes. Each and every one of them.
VHF: The past year and a half has been challenging for all of us. Have these challenges motivated you in any way?
A: Yes, it has been a challenging time. In 2020, around spring, when I worked at 7:00 p.m. each night I heard loud applauses, cheers, banging of pots and pans, and horns from outside the hospital. The crowd grew day after day and people brought their kids. At home, I saw the same thing in our neighbourhood: clapping from the balconies, and some of my friends would sometimes call me and let me hear the cheers from their neighbours. I thought it was great way to show their support and appreciation for essential workers. My motivation went up, thanks to the whole community.
VHF: What would you say to current VHF donors and people who are thinking about giving in the future?
A: Thank you for donating! It makes a huge difference in helping our facility equipment and training. Your kindness helps keep us safe and improves our performance and compassionate care towards patients. Thank you very, very much!!
You can support the unsung heroes in our hospitals like Ayako:
Support Island Health’s most critical needs at any given time, right away, when matters most. Thank you!
Recognize a hospital staff member or team with a Caring Spirit Award and donate in their honour.
Show our caregivers your gratitude and encouragement by writing them a short personal message.