Seventy UHN employees reached their 25 years of service milestone in 2008. On Monday, October 26, these staff members will be recognized for their hardwork and commitment at the 25 Year Long Service Dinner at the Delta Chelsea Hotel.

Among these employees is Harish Verma, Patient Care Assistant, 4A Vascular Surgery Unit, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. Harish emigrated from India in 1978 where she worked as an architect, specializing in residential design. Unable to find a suitable job in her field in Canada, Harish turned to healthcare and truly found her calling. She has worked in almost every corner of the hospital, including the oncology clinic, operating room and Medical Day Unit, since joining UHN in 1983. While working in the Medical Day Unit in the late 1980s, Harish cared for some of the first HIV patients in Toronto.

"I help nurses look after patients by assisting with changing and hygiene," says Harish. "Usually I will see between 26 and 28 patients each day."

"I like working side by side with the nurses and meeting patients from different cultures and learning about different countries."

UHNews spoke with some of the other recipients to find out what 25 years of service means to them:

Gary Walsh imageGary Walsh, Manager, Materials Management, UHN
"The reason I have stayed at UHN for over 25 years is because it's a wonderful place to work and learn. I have made great friends over the years it's the people that made it a great place to work. At the end of the day, knowing that you played a role in helping provide patient care makes it all worth it."



Barbara Stubbs imageDr. Barbara Stubbs, Family Physician, Toronto Western Hospital
I started at the Toronto General Hospital as an intern.I did my training in family medicine in 1981–'83. At that time, the hospital had the reputation of being the ultimate centre for excellence. I had come from the Wellesley Hospital as a clerk, so joining the very big Toronto General was intimidating. 

What impressed me was the quality of the patient experience. I could see that patients were getting excellent care. It was very exciting. I also stayed because of the incredible support I got from my colleagues and the culture of mentorship not only from my family medicine colleagues, but also from staff at all levels. I've learned that the culture of an organization does change over time. When we merged Toronto General and Toronto Western, family medicine was taken out of the General and put into the Western in 1996. I've learned to be adaptable and resilient in the face of change.

Elizabeth John imageDr. Elizabeth John, Anaesthetist, Toronto Western Hospital
I like what I'm doing and the people I work with. I didn't have a reason to leave. It has been the same people for all these years. Sure, people have come and gone, but some of us are still here. Lots of changes have taken place since I started working here. Some changes I like; others I am not so keen about. We have been through a lot—like the time Toronto Western was planning to close down and merge with Toronto General. That was the rumour. We ended up merging, of course. After all these years, I am still learning. There are things happening in medicine and technology all the time.

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