Faces of HHS: Michele MacDonald

Michele MacDonald is a drug access facilitator at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. She has been working at Hamilton Health Sciences for nine years.

Favourite colour: pink/ book: The Wings of the Dove/ vacation spot: Cuba/ music:jazz/ animal:cats/ food: Italian and seafood/ holiday :Thanksgiving

Tell us about your role.
Drug access facilitators assist a number of people and departments – patients, physicians, pharmacy, social work, nursing, finance – in the access and distribution of oncology drugs. We work with private and public programs such as the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan, Trillium Drug Program, third party insurance plans, industry sponsored patient support programs, and compassionate programs.


What made you enter your field of work?
I was looking forward to a career in nursing back in 1983 when during my 1st year I had a stroke and was unable to continue.  I ended up getting married and having 2 daughters and pharmacy technician was one of the courses I could do in night school which allowed me to be home during the day for my girls.  I have always wanted to do something that helps other people.

What do you love most about your job?
I love my job because everyday I come into work and go home knowing that I have made a patient’s day less stressful by doing whatever possible to obtain the oncology drugs needed for their treatment.  I love being an advocate for our patients.

“I couldn’t imagine doing any other job.”

Describe one of your most challenging days at work.  The challenging days are almost every day!  A typical day we are not only receiving up to 10-20 new referrals a day, but we would still be sorting out the previous day’s referrals.  Multitasking is so crucial to our job.  It can take anywhere form 1 day to 2 weeks to complete a referral.  There is constant follow-up in all aspects of our job from calling patients, programs, emailing physicians, ordering and tracking our compassionate patients’ medications, to being paged to clinic and so forth.  But I wouldn’t trade this job for anything.  It is so rewarding.

What is one thing you wish patients/colleagues knew about you?
That I do understand what they are going through, having been a breast cancer survivor just recently.

What are your short and long term career goals?
My short term goal is to come to work every day and just do the absolute best I can for our patients.  My long term goal would be to retire from this position.  I couldn’t imagine doing any other job.

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