Career Spotlight featuring Anita Fitches
By Lynn Roger, Chief Human Resources Officer
At Bayshore, we continuously embark on a deliberate “Talent Journey” to develop our colleagues and help them reach their full potential. We believe that promoting from within is not only good business, but also reflects who we are as an organization. Throughout the years, we have seen many colleagues start their careers as front-line caregivers and we have observed them blossom into compassionate leaders, who can grow the business and develop others. Today, I’d like to share one of these stories with you.
Anita Fitches – Career Spotlight – An inspiring story of determination and dedication to our communities and colleagues.
In June of 1999, Anita left her role as a Registered Nurse (RN) in a hospital setting to give community healthcare a try. Since her first shift as a community RN at Bayshore, Anita has never looked back. She describes a pivotal moment that solidified her place in community home care.
Anita’s first shift working for Bayshore was filling in for a ParaMed who couldn’t fulfill their palliative shifts. Bayshore came to the rescue! Anita was tasked with caring for a cancer patient who didn’t let many people into her room. Being in the early stages of her career as an RN, with relatively no hands-on experience with palliative care, Anita recognized this was going to be challenging. She decided at that moment that focusing on building rapport with the patient was important. She recalls the night the patient sat up a few times to give her a long hug, even though she didn’t say much.
Anita didn’t realize that while she was taking care of the patient, family members were observing her and were comforted by what they saw. One of the observers, Sandra McGregor, found a career at Bayshore as an RN at Bayshore because of the way Anita had taken care of a loved one. Sandra eventually went on to retire from Bayshore as a Manager of Clinical Practice (MCP), a testament that we inspire others in these special moments.
After working full-time for two years, Anita was offered the MCP role at the Smiths Falls, ON branch, where she supported a team of 30 nurses. It was in this role that she discovered her passion for the business side of healthcare. For anyone that knows Anita, she likes to develop a winning strategy and growing market share was her top priority. At the time, the branch had 25% of the nursing market share, but under her leadership, it grew to over 80%. Anita attributes her success to the team and to an Area Director (AD) who believed in her and gave her increasing levels of responsibility. Although the AD has since retired, Anita remains close friends with them and considers them a valued colleague.
In 2007, Anita became the Area Director for the Brockville, ON branch, assumed responsibility for the Smiths Falls branch, and opened two new branches in Ontario: Belleville and Kingston. Bayshore continued to grow substantially, becoming the number one provider with the Central Local Health Integration Network (known as Community Care Access Centre at that time).
In December 2016, Anita travelled back and forth from Smith Falls to St. Joseph’s Home Care in Hamilton, ON, to learn about their integrated funding models. She also supported them as Senior Director, spending about eight months there every week, only coming home on weekends.
During the same period, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN), a leadership management program with McMaster University, one year of the Master of Public Health program and switched to complete a Master of Business Administration (MBA). She also had three sons and was thankful for the support and flexibility she was provided by Bayshore.
In July 2017, a small group of leaders came together to develop a strategy for partnering with hospitals, and from their dedicated efforts, Integrated Care Solutions (ICS) was launched. Despite some trepidation, there was also a great deal of excitement, and Anita knew that Bayshore would be there to support her. She recognized that this was a risky move, but she was up for the challenge!
Today, Anita is the Managing Director of the Integrated Care Solutions Division, one of the growth engines of the company. Anita attributes her success to the amazing teams she has worked with and the support she had from her supervisors and leaders including Kevin Webster, Bayshore’s Chief Operating Officer, and Stuart Cottrelle, Bayshore’s President. Although she had no idea where her career would lead her, she is thankful that Bayshore has been her home and family.
Congratulations on your new role, Anita!