“Scoring” a dream job at HHS McMaster Children’s Hospital
A passion for hockey inspired the Blashkiw family to move halfway around the world, from Australia to Port Dover, Ontario. And McMaster Children’s Hospital’s (MCH’s) stellar reputation motivated Tegan Blashkiw to apply to work there as a registered nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
“There are hospitals closer to Port Dover where I could have applied, but I really love pediatric care,” says Tegan, who moved there one year ago with her Canadian-born husband Zach and their three sons, Finn, 8, Bede, 6 and Jude, 3.
Tegan started her job search while still in Australia, and was especially interested in MCH.
“And when I started looking for work after moving here, I always heard great things about MCH,” says Tegan, who has a post-graduate degree in pediatric critical care and worked at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
“People would share their stories about giving birth at MCH, or having their children cared for there, and said it was an excellent hospital.”
MCH is home to world-class pediatric care, including one of Ontario’s fastest-growing kids-only emergency departments, Canada’s largest neonatal intensive care unit and a wide spectrum of specialized care.
“I would absolutely recommend Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster Children’s Hospital as a great place to work.”
Tegan joined the staff at MCH in August with a temporary licence to work as a registered nurse while finishing the College of Nurses of Ontario requirements needed to nurse in Ontario permanently.
Moving halfway around the world
Tegan’s husband Zach was working as a teacher in Australia when they met. Zach grew up in Binbrook, now a part of Hamilton. He played hockey and developed into a talented skater who went on to teach power skating and hockey development before launching his career in education.
The family was living in the small Australian New South Wales community where Tegan grew up. But Zach missed life back home and wanted his family to experience Canada, including one of this country’s favourite pastimes — hockey.
“We had three little boys who were half-Canadian and didn’t know much about that side of their ancestry,” says Tegan. “And my husband, as crazy as it sounds, missed Canadian winters. He grew up playing hockey and always had a dream of teaching our boys to skate and play.”
Tegan had no qualms about moving to a new country. “I love travel and adventure, so moving to Canada appealed to me.”
In Canada, their middle child, Bede, was especially keen to visit the Port Dover rink. “Bede was on the ice within our first week of moving here,” says Tegan. “He had never skated before but he was busting to get on the ice. We were still jetlagged when we went out to shop for his hockey gear.”
Imagine your career, here at HHS:
MCH work culture
Tegan has taken to the Canadian health-care culture at MCH much like Bede has taken to hockey. “Working in a hospital here is very similar to Australia,” she says, adding, “I really like McMaster Children’s Hospital and I enjoy the people that I work with in the PICU. But we need more of them. I would absolutely recommend Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster Children’s Hospital as a great place to work.”
One noticeable difference between nursing in Australia versus Canada is having respiratory therapists on staff.
Respiratory therapists assess, care for and monitor patients who have difficulty breathing to ensure they get the support they need. This includes inserting breathing tubes, managing ventilators and breathing masks, and monitoring medication.
“In Australia we don’t have respiratory therapists,” says Tegan. “As a registered nurse in Australia, we did this work with a doctor. That’s a big difference between the two systems in my opinion, because it’s really nice to have the support of a respiratory therapist.”
Recruitment fast facts
- HHS is a community of 18,000 staff, physicians, residents, researchers and volunteers that proudly serves southwestern Ontario residents. As of November 2023, HHS had 2,134 physicians, 1,261 residents, 650 volunteers and 14,100 employees.
- We’re hiring staff across all of our sites, which include McMaster Children’s Hospital, McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton General Hospital, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, St. Peter’s Hospital and West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.
- In-demand roles include nursing (particularly critical care and oncology) and allied health roles such as respiratory therapy, diagnostic services, labs, pharmacy and social work.
- HHS is in the running for Canada’s Top Employers for Young People Award, with winners to be announced in early 2024. HHS received this national award in 2023 and 2022. This award is organized by the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project.
- In November 2023, HHS was named one of Hamilton-Niagara’s Top Employersf or the third year in a row. This annual competition is organized by editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
For more information on working at HHS, including job postings, please visit our career site.