Leading up to International Women's Day — Monday, March 8 — we're highlighting just a few of the thousands of incredible women who help us deliver exceptional care at Vancouver Coastal Health. Read about all of them in VCH News Stories and see more photos on our VCH Instagram and Facebook.
From practising in the NICU to a community health centre to a parking lot, Amita Matharoo's nursing career has taken her on an unexpected yet rewarding journey.
"After graduating from nursing school, I completed the neonatal and perinatal specialties and practised in the NICU, labour and delivery, and postpartum areas. Then I transitioned to public health and practised as a public health nurse at Pacific Spirit Community Health Centre," she said. "When the pandemic began, I was re-deployed to the St. Vincent's COVID-19 Assessment Centre."
As the clinical operations supervisor, Amita's days are busy ensuring COVID-19 testing at St. Vincent's COVID-19 Assessment Centre goes smoothly for patients and staff alike.
As we approach the one-year milestone of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amita finds strength and motivation all around her.
"This past year has been so isolating for everyone, but working alongside nurses whom I consider my work family has sustained me," she said. "These relationships and the support we provide for one another is simply amazing. I know I can count on my colleagues every day – the good days and the bad."
The admiration goes both ways. Colleagues of Amita's say she's encouraging, compassionate and hardworking, noting that she always rises to the challenge and brings the team along to share in the learnings and the wins.
This uplifting team mentality is not surprising given Amita's ethos. She believes every person we meet comes into our lives to teach us something. "I feel so grateful and lucky to have learned from and been inspired by so many," she adds.
For aspiring nurses, Amita's advice is to let your passion lead your journey. She also shares some wisdom passed on by her general practitioner and one of her mentors.
"Never be afraid to say 'I don't know, but I'll look into it and get back to you'," she says. "Clients and colleagues will appreciate your honesty, integrity and willingness to go the extra mile to help them."
This year's theme and pose for International Women's Day is Choose to Challenge. Posing with a hand held high shows commitment to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world.