Cheryl Bourgeau: Inspired by an unexpected new challenge

Cheryl Bourgeau: Inspired by an unexpected new challenge

Cheryl Bourgeau came to Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) last year excited about a change.

Twelve years ago, after an exciting career as an RN in medicine and critical care, she made a swerve to focus on occupational health and safety.

“I’m really happy with the change in the work environment that I’ve come to at Arnprior Regional Health – everyone has been so welcoming and supportive,” said Cheryl, Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator, ARH, who was previously at a larger hospital. “Working at a smaller hospital has allowed me to be involved in different groups and tables with added responsibility closer to the frontline—which I really enjoy.”

Cheryl explains she has a natural affinity for occupational health and is motivated by the desire to support managers and employees.

Cheryl Bourgeau, Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator, ARH.

“I really get my satisfaction from working directly with people – helping them understand their health, personal responsibility at work and supporting them when they are struggling – while following the policies and procedures,” said Cheryl.

Inspired to do everything possible during COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 outbreak in March brought the importance of Cheryl’s role in greater focus and she had no hesitation stepping up to do what was needed to keep staff and managers informed as the science and public health guidance evolved quickly.

“I felt very needed and valued as I took on the challenge,” said Cheryl. “I focused on what was important. And what was important was being there to answer staff and managers’ questions, so everyone felt safe and supported.”

Cheryl adds: “To be needed and valued in a role was something I was looking for with the job change to a smaller hospital. I got that here, and it inspired me a lot during the COVID outbreak.”

Better prepared for a potential second wave

Coming out of the spring experience, Cheryl believes what will be important during the next wave is a focus on communications and education.

“We also don’t have to start from ground zero,” said Cheryl. “We already have tools in our toolbox, and we are ahead of the game this time.”

With the fall, the second wave of COVID-19 will likely lineup with the start of the flu season. Cheryl and the team have already begun plans to double up the focus and support to best manage and protect staff’s health and safety.