Sometimes, what may seem like a conventional career path turns out to have its share of surprises.
For proof, just look at Eric New: Early on, despite his youth and the fact that he had never worked in the healthcare system, he landed a supervisory role in Housekeeping at the Jewish General Hospital, based on his personal qualities and his clear potential as a professional.
Then there’s the fact that while working the evening shift at the JGH, he met the woman he would eventually marry.
Today Mr. New has advanced to become Section Chief of Hygiene and Health, a CIUSSS position in Housekeeping that he has held since 2015. Based at Catherine Booth Hospital, he is in charge of the orientation and supervision of employees in more than a dozen facilities. He also ensures that best practices are implemented in cleaning the CIUSSS’s spaces and equipment.
In the process, Mr. New makes certain “that standards are met and that employees are up to date on the latest products and processes in Housekeeping and Laundry,” he says. “I work under the direction of Brian Bick, Chief of Service, and together, we’re a strong team with a common vision of our CIUSSS.”
Originally, Mr. New met his manager, Stephen Simoni, when both of them were working in the private sector. Mr. New’s efficiency and respect for deadlines were so impressive that after Mr. Simoni found a new job at the JGH, he suggested that Mr. New join him.
Mr. New was successful in moving to the JGH in 1999, and soon after his arrival at the age of 21, he was urged by Mr. Simoni to apply for a supervisory role. “I knew the JGH had taken a risk in hiring me,” he admits, “but looking back, I think the key factors in my favour were my potential, my ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment, and the fact that I was never afraid to take on difficult tasks.”
He also credits the influence of Toni Nappi—JGH Chief of Housekeeping and someone whom Mr. New considers a mentor—for having a major impact on his career. “It was working with people like Mr. Nappi that helped me realize that Housekeeping is a necessary aspect of health care, since it helps ensure that hospitalization can conclude well.”
As a junior supervisor on the evening shift, Mr. New became acquainted with Sharon Dubiel, an Assistant Head Nurse and, later, his wife. “For the first two years, we were mostly focused on our respective careers,” he recalls, “but we knew we had to make some sacrifices.” Although Ms. Dubiel now works elsewhere, they both continue to share ideas on improving patient care and meeting the necessary standards.
Over the years, Mr. New has played a significant part in several major projects. Among them were two large-scale transfers of patients—from the Henri Bradet Residential Centre to the JGH in 2017, and from Catherine Booth Hospital to the JGH in 2019. However, without question, the greatest challenge was the move of several JGH departments to Pavilion K in 2016.
“Today, when I’m involved in similar projects, I think back about what I learned from those earlier projects,” he says. “All of them have had an impact. I always think carefully about what worked well and how these elements made the project easier.”
Mr. New sees himself and his team as “one big family that makes sure patients receive the best care.” For this reason, he takes each task seriously, but he is also proud of his ability to balance this approach with humour.
“There’s a time and place for humour,” he explains. “A lot of people think I behave really seriously at work, but I do understand the need for all of us to take a break and let our guard down. After all, I’m human, just like everyone else.”