Seniors Care — Sheena Park
Alumna Story - Sheena Park
Originally from the Philippines, Sheena Park (nee Sibug) moved to England, where she studied and then worked for several years as an emergency nurse. She transitioned into clinical trials, working as a clinical research nurse coordinator focusing on phase one trials in medical oncology.
After moving to Canada in 2019, Sheena leveraged her nursing and clinical research skills to take on the role of Clinical Research and Trials Coordinator with BC Cancer. Thereafter, she worked as a Clinical Systems Analyst, a key player in the Clinical and Systems Transformation (CST) project across three British Columbia health authorities. When she learned about the Master of Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP) degree at UBC, she saw it as an opportunity to gain a valuable credential and advance her knowledge of health-care leadership.
“What got my attention was its combination of nursing practice with business courses,” she says. “I am passionate about nursing care, and I have always been interested in business.”
An integrated curriculum
The MHLP Seniors Care curriculum encompasses a wide variety of topics. Sheena had never worked directly in residential geriatric settings, and she says she learned a lot about the complex dynamics that contribute to health in older populations. She particularly enjoyed a course NURS 542 on the social epidemiology of aging that looked at the impact of social isolation and loneliness on health outcomes.
The business courses offered through UBC Sauder School of Business were a definite highlight, encouraging Sheena to stretch herself as a leader and think of leadership in new ways.
“I’d always thought of my leadership style as that of being a servant leader, but through the courses – and organizational leadership in particular – I came to realize that you need to adjust your leadership style depending on the context.”
Another valuable course focused on project management, which equipped her with practical tools to methodically and successfully address system-wide organizational challenges. The business summer camp, an intense three-week course that covers six core business competencies, was also valuable in giving her a solid foundation in finance and accounting, marketing, organizational behaviour and human resources and other business areas that contribute to organizational success.
A new position at BC Cancer
After finishing her coursework in December 2022, Sheena began a new role as Regional Accreditation Lead for BC Cancer, preparing the organization for the Accreditation Canada surveyor visit in early May 2023. It’s a cross-functional leadership role where she is responsible for strategic planning and collaborative execution with her counterparts across the organization.
“The skill set and systems understanding I gained from the MHLP – along with the practical professional development workshops offered by UBC – have contributed to my abilities to be an effective leader,” she says.
Sheena is also pursuing her Certified Health Executive (CHE) certification, the only designation for health-care leaders in Canada. The MHLP program encouraged students to apply for certification by providing complimentary Canadian College of Health Leaders student membership and offering financial sponsorship to students to cover some of the CHE application costs.
“I saw the CHE as a valuable designation that demonstrates my capability to lead health-care organizations, work for transformation change and implement sustainable health-care practices,” she says.
Launching her own business
Sheena initially worked full time while doing the MHLP in Seniors Care, but scaled that down to only taking on casual shifts so she could focus on her school work and also invest time in her business, AllCare Nursing, which provides one-on-one customized care to individuals and staff placements to partner organizations in the Lower Mainland.
“My company provides a valuable service to people who need quality care, helps organizations function optimally by retaining talent and enables internationally educated health-care professionals to work within a health-care setting, thereby maintaining and growing their competencies as they strive to get registered in BC,” she says.
She credits one of the Sauder courses she took in the MHLP – Building Brands with Purpose – as validating her vision and approach for AllCare Nursing, where she aims to build a successful company that also raises awareness of the positive social contributions of internationally trained health-care professionals.
Reflecting on health-care leadership
Sheena is focused on building her skills and career as a health-care leader, being a strong mentor for others, and making a difference in the quality of patient care.
“I think a good leader is someone who is highly adaptable and who takes a strengths-based approach to challenging situations and difficult choices,” she says.
“As a leader, it’s not so much about managing deliverables as it is about influence. It is about empowering every member of your team and bringing out the best in them – both in the midst of unprecedented change, like we experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and during everyday challenges.”
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