Sprott Shaw Hero Highlight: Garland Burlando

This week’s Sprott Shaw Hero, Garland Burlando, experienced personally just how life-changing the healthcare field can be, and through that experience, shifted career paths to become a healthcare hero herself.

Before becoming a Medical Office Assistant (MOA), Garland was an Early Childhood Educator specializing in infant and toddler care. After having her son, she no longer wanted to work in that field as she wanted to do more with her life.

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At the age of 28, she nearly lost her life after having her son, not through childbirth, but through a surgeon’s negligence. By going through that traumatizing experience and many other health scares, she genuinely understands and can relate to her patients. Since becoming a Medical Office Assistant, Garland can personally feel her patients’ frustrations and fears, and does all she can to reassure them and give them peace of mind.

Education Journey to Becoming a Medical Office Assistant

Since Garland previously had experience in the early childhood education industry, she bridged the knowledge and training gap from that industry to the healthcare industry by enrolling at Sprott Shaw. In 2018, she graduated from our Maple Ridge campus as a student in our Health Unit Clerk program.

For Garland, her education at Sprott Shaw taught her how to be prepared for anything in the field. Through late nights and early mornings, Sprott Shaw prepared her for the hard work and dedication required to succeed in her position as a Medical Office Assistant.

Her time at Sprott Shaw was a learning experience and curve that helped her to become the compassionate Medical Office Assistant she is today. Her teachers and the campus director, Robert, were an amazing support system.

A Career as a Medical Office Assistant

Since graduating from Sprott Shaw, Garland has been working as a Medical Office Assistant for nine months now.

As a Medical Office Assistant, an average day for Garland starts at 9 AM. She starts by checking in her patients and making sure the Doctor has all the patient’s labs, imaging, and paps. As one of her responsibilities, she inputs the patient’s information into the system to book them in for the operating room and make sure that all the documentation, bloodwork, consultations, and all other pertinent information are in the package.

Garland’s job is rewarding and fulfilling in many aspects. Her favourite part of the job is helping her patients. In cases when the news is not so delightful or a patient has tested positive for cancer, she takes pride in knowing that she helps in the process of booking the patient as fast as she can into surgery. The most incredible part of her job is when she gets to see the patient’s level of joy when the doctor says the cancer is all gone, and in cases when it isn’t all gone, she appreciates that she can be there for them, comfort them and bring them hope by reassuring them that not all is lost.

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Not only does she get to be with prenatal patients and support them from the beginning to the end, but she also gets to help cancer patients, which hits very close to home for her. Her grandmother passed away while she was finishing up the last few months of her study at Sprott Shaw – and so, she made a promise that she would do everything in her power to help and support her future patients.

Working amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has been a learning opportunity through this difficult time for Garland. Her offices have taken precautionary measures for the health and safety of the staff and patients. During this time, she has found that her patients have been very understanding towards many of the centres’ health and safety policies and procedures. Some things that have changed since the pandemic is the increased level of sanitization in the offices and the need to wear masks during her entire shift and in some cases, googles, too. She applauds all of the doctors, staff, and patients for their diligence in how they are working together to try and stop the spread of the virus.

When asked for a few last words, she said, “thank you to all of the amazing staff at the Sprott Shaw Maple Ridge campus for aiding in my success. I couldn’t have done it without you. I [also] couldn’t have done any of this without the love and support of my amazing family.”

Thank you, Garland, for always caring for your patients and comforting them in times of need.

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