Mary Ann Lo loves being a nurse, a profession she’s gained a lot of experiences in for quite awhile. She has a strong background in pediatric critical care and pediatric cardiac critical care, and has worked at BC Children's Hospital for the past 14 years in the PICU. Mary Ann has also travelled around the world doing humanitarian work where she mainly focuses on cardiac surgery and pediatric cardiac surgery.
“During COVID, I really didn't get to do very much of my humanitarian work. So, I was home quite a bit and I realized that there's so much need for help and I just didn't really know how to get myself out there,” said Mary Ann. “Eventually I did get calls from three different health authorities to help with COVID vaccinations or COVID-related work and I chose Northern Health, thinking that less people would want to go up North and [there would be a] higher need for help. I also chose it because I really like the North and it's an area that I haven't really explored.”
Mary Ann travelled to several different places in the Northern Health region doing vaccinations, and it was in Prince George where she met Heidi Johns, a Regional Manager of GoHealth BC, the travel resource nursing program. Heidi told Mary Ann about GoHealth BC and how she would be a great fit for the program. At first, Mary Ann was hesitant, since her background was in pediatrics. But after giving it some thought, her interest grew.
“I thought about how much I loved the North and my experience during the vaccinations was so positive,” says Mary Ann, who met with Heidi again over breakfast and decided to give GoHealth BC a try “So here I am now. I've been with GoHealth BC for over a year, and it's been incredible. I have learned a lot; I did a lot of studying on my own because I wanted to be prepared for this job. I have to thank Heidi for this in every way. It's been very positive.”
Because of her background in humanitarian work and love for travelling, Mary Ann prefers to work in more remote locations where she can provide care to smaller populations and work with Indigenous people.
“There's something very special about working in small communities; you feel like it's not really a job. It's more like this is my extended family,” Mary Ann said. “I've done a bit of work on Haida Gwaii with the Haida Nation, and I've done quite a bit of work with the Tahltan Nations in the Dease Lake area, which is very remote, but I really love my job. I feel really blessed to be doing this.”
Mary Ann believes adaptability is a key skill for anyone interested in joining GoHealth BC.
“Even though we get a lot of support from the team, it’s important to have the ability to adapt to the environment,” said Mary Ann. “A lot of times we go into locations where they’re short of nurses. You really have to work hard. But you know how I look at it? In these small communities, they are like your extended family. The main reason we're there is to be a nurse and to help the local team and the community."
“I would recommend GoHealth BC to anyone that is able to travel and devote that part of their life to this program. I have nothing but wonderful things to say. And then another side of the adventure is going to different locations and getting to see different parts of BC. It's an adventure!”
To learn more about GoHealth BC and to see if it’s a right fit for you, visit GoHealthBC.ca