July 20, 2022

Raelene Hunter reflects

As Raelene Hunter, Health Information Services (HIS), Clerical Supervisor, prepares to retire from Northern Health, she reflects on all the change she has witnessed over the years. She recalls the days when patient records were kept in compactors in the basement at PANCH. “The compactors were so full and heavy they used to close on you!” says Raelene.

“There were two doors in the basement which led out to Bell Street. We would come in some mornings and there would be strangers wandering around not knowing how to get out.”

She also recalls, “two cleaners who would hide in the compactors and knit!”

Raelene commenced working in HIS at PANCH in December 1989. She says, “At PANCH, the department was on two floors – the main floor and the basement. There was a small lift to send trolley loads of patient records between the two floors.”

In Raelene’s time, the department has changed its name a number of times, from Medical Records to HIS, Client Data Management (CDM) and back to HIS.

Raelene has seen HIS move from using a paper medical record to scanning medical records into CPF, using Tracer Cards (to track the location of the paper based medical record), different patient administration systems including HOSPRO and IPM, and now to Electronic Medical Record (EMR).

After 33 years, Raelene leaves with a store house of memories. She remembers the days baked goodies used to be supplied in the canteen for morning and afternoon tea, and huge Christmas lunches that included seafood.

Some memories still cause her to chuckle. “The basement at PANCH used to flood after heavy rain, so we soon learnt to bring rubber boots to work if it had been raining.”

Despite the challenges – coping with change, being one – Raelene says the highlights of her time here include, “Working with a wide range of staff members and seeing them grow within their roles and working and learning from some great managers.”

High on the list is the introduction of computers, and “being part of the transition from paper records to scanned records.”

“I have worked with Terri Fiorenza and Trish Savino for about 25 years. I would like to thank them for their kindness and help over the years. Also, past and present managers for their help, guidance and understanding – it has been appreciated. And lastly, all the amazing staff I have worked with over the years – thank you,” shares Raelene.

Terri is grateful to have found a wonderful colleague and friend in Raelene, saying, “Raelene has been instrumental in leading the HIS clerical team through many changes, including a hospital relocation from PANCH to Northern Hospital, transitioning to a new medical record scanning system and implementation of a new patient administration system. Personally, Raelene has been a great friend and will be missed. I remember sharing many morning teas together at PANCH, and how we now reminisce on the ‘good old days’ at PANCH. I would like to wish Raelene all the very best for her well-deserved retirement.”

On behalf of everyone at Northern Health, we join Terri in wishing Raelene all the very best.

Picture shows Raelene Hunter in the foreground with her colleagues.