Stacy Boehlau

Staff Profile: Stacy Boehlau - Communications Officer Medical

April 18, 2024

18 April, 2024



| By: Par:

Sneha Tailor

Meet Stacy Boehlau, a Communications Officer Medical in Ornge’s Operations Control Centre (OCC) based in Mississauga, Ontario. Stacy is the recipient of the 2024 Telecommunicator of the Year Award. In the last year alone, she processed nearly 2,200 patient requests including 1,800 non-urgent transfer requests representing 48% of our non-urgent patient volumes.

Ornge CEO, Homer Tien, presenting the Telecommunicator of the Year award to Stacy

We spoke to Stacy about her role at Ornge, the team she works with, and any advice she has for someone aspiring to become a Communications Officer.
What is your position with Ornge and how long have you been with the company?
My position at Ornge is COM – Communications Officer Medical. I started working part-time for the Ministry of Health at the Medical Air Transport Centre (MATC) in 1994. Eventually I became full-time at MATC and continued on when MATC transitioned to become the Ornge Communication Centre (now known as the Operations Control Centre).
Can you describe your professional and/or academic background and how you got into this field of work?
Prior to working at Ornge, I worked for a Medical Staffing Agency that provided nursing and personal support services in Ontario. At that company, I held the position of Staffing Coordinator and then became a Supervisor. After working there for about five years, I decided to go to Centennial College to take the Prehospital and Emergency Care program.
After graduating in 1993, I found it difficult to find full-time work as a paramedic. At one point, I was working three part-time jobs. One of my college classmates had been hired with MATC as a medical call taker. She told me they were looking to hire a second call taker so I applied and was hired. Working at MATC was a great way to use my paramedic training and I was eventually hired on full-time providing the job stability I was looking for.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Currently I work the non-urgent medical desk. In that position, I am responsible for booking the non-urgent and next day calls. The shift is from 8:30 until 18:30, four days per week. A typical day will start with reviewing the pending transfers for that day to gather any missing information in the calls, obtain patient updates and re-confirm receiving beds. I will also take new incoming bookings. Requests for service for the non-urgent desk can be placed by hospitals, nursing stations, long-term care facilities and Home and Community Care.
After the call taking process is complete, the calls are sent to the Transport Medical Physician for review for urgency and level of care. The calls are placed onto the Long Term Planning (LTP) queue. The LTP comes on duty in the evening and will make all the flight and ground arrangements for each transfer. The calls are then sent to the Standing Agreement (SA) planning queue. The SA planner will follow the calls the next day and manage any changes to flight plans.
How have you learned to handle stress in your role?
To help deal with stress, I focus on staying as organized as possible. I rely on checklists to make sure important information is not missed. Re-checking calls is important as well to prevent errors.
Outside of work, I focus on staying healthy and active. I enjoy long hikes with my family and do a lot of reading. Watching humorous movies helps as well, laughing is a good stress release.
What are some things that you wish people knew about your role?
The non-urgent desk processes just over half of the calls done in the OCC. The volume is steady each day and non-urgent calls can incur delays in service that can be frustrating for sending facilities and patients. It also adds an additional challenge for staff in the OCC to keep up to date on the large volume of non-urgent requests while trying to service the more acute emergent and urgent calls.
Tell me about the team of people you work with.
Within the OCC, the team I work with includes the Operation Control Manager, Transport Medical Physician, Rotor Wing planner, Fixed Wing planner, Standing Agreement planner, SWOP (planner that covers breaks for other planners), and Long Term planner. There are usually three to four COM’s that will book all the emergent and urgent calls.
Outside the OCC, the team would extend to include the pilots and paramedics as well as stakeholders from Nursing Stations, Hospitals, Long Term Care facilities and Home and Community care.
Can you tell me about a memorable day you had here and why it stuck with you?
A day that has stuck with me would be the day 793 based in Moosonee crashed. I think about that day often. It is a reminder of the risk that our pilots and paramedics take each time they go on a mission to transport a patient.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is when I take a repatriation call for a patient that had been transported with Ornge as an emergency and is now stable enough to return to their home hospital. It is also great to read the "Patient Story" and hear how Ornge has made a difference in lives of patients in Ontario.
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become a Communications Officer at Ornge one day?
Anyone aspiring to become a Communications Officer at Ornge would need to be willing to put in long hours and do shift work. Having a medical or aviation background would be an asset. There are many staff at Ornge that come from different backgrounds but those that are successful tend to be good at managing change. The OCC is a fluid environment where plans may change drastically in a short period of time.
Qualities to have that may make one successful at this job would be empathy, active listening, and resilience.  

At Ornge, our staff work every day around the clock to ensure the patients of Ontario receive the best care available. Learn more about the people behind #teamornge.


Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
 Security code