Introducing an HHS security professional
Marina Jarrett’s longtime fascination with law enforcement dates back to her school years, including earning a law and security diploma from Mohawk College and bachelor’s degree from Laurier University, with a focus on criminology.
“I wanted a career in law enforcement where I could help others, that was also exciting and challenging,” says Jarrett, a Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) security professional for 15 years.
Jarrett is sharing more about her role to help promote Healthcare Security and Safety Week taking place internationally from Oct. 8 to 14. The week celebrates security and safety professionals working in health care, and the vital role they play in keeping hospitals and health-care facilities safe.
Hamilton Health Sciences’ security professionals provide 24/7 coverage to multiple sites, and are supported by contract security partnerships.
What is a security professional?
Security guards, called security professionals at HHS, are responsible for ensuring hospital policies are followed, and hospital sites are safe for patients, visitors, staff and doctors. These licensed professionals are trained in non-violent crisis intervention and de-escalation; equity, diversity, inclusion; and first aid and CPR. Their work includes responding to emergency code situations, reports of criminal activity, workplace violence prevention, supporting safety plans and monitoring video security systems. Their focus is on prevention and risk management, to avert any potential problems and stop any issues from escalating.
“We always try and put ourselves in other people’s shoes, and treat people the way we, or our family members, would want to be treated if we needed help.”
Jarrett has worked at all HHS hospital sites over the years, including McMaster University Medical Centre where she met her husband Kevin. “We were both working in security there at the time,” says Jarrett, whose husband is now a Hamilton police officer.
Jarrett is currently based at Hamilton General Hospital, the HHS site she has worked at the longest.
Keeping our hospitals safe
When Jarrett joined HHS 15 years ago, she planned on gaining experience for a future career in policing. “It’s something I still occasionally think about,” says Jarrett. “But I’ve grown very attached to HHS. Working here has become a huge part of my life. It’s where I met my spouse. I also became a parent during my time here. And I’ve made a lot of friends here over the years.”
When people think of places where security professionals work, shopping malls, airports, stadiums and casinos might spring to mind. “People often wonder, `Why would a hospital need security?’” says Jarrett.
But consider that hospitals see patients and their loved ones during times of serious injury or illness, and intense stress and emotional upset.
Hamilton General Hospital, where Jarrett works, is the trauma centre for central south Ontario, with critically-injured patients arriving by ambulance and helicopter. “We’re part of the HHS team that’s supporting people at the worst time in their lives,” says Jarrett.
“As security professionals we’re part of the patient care team, helping people connect with the right supports during their time of crisis. We always try and put ourselves in other people’s shoes, and treat people the way we, or our family members, would want to be treated if we needed help.”