Saaranga Sasitharan

Saaranga Sasitharan, 2014
Saaranga is currently completing her MHA at UBC.

1. Today in healthcare it’s important to…
Remain innovative. It’s also important to be collaborative and be open to different perspectives.

2. What made you interested in medical laboratory science?
I enjoyed the topics that were covered in the BMLSc program and found them generally interesting. For example, some of the topics covered included studying diseases with a focus on human anatomy. I also enjoyed the small class sizes. With fewer than 25 students in my class, I was able to get to know my classmates on a personal level.

3. What are you hoping to change in the field?
Eventually I hope to be in a position where I’m working in health policy development and looking at how we can improve our inter-professional communication and expertise in certain areas.

4. Name the last book you couldn’t put down.
I’m currently reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

5. Who was your favourite professor from the BMLSc program?
Dr. Nimmo taught Pathology 375 in third year. He was an excellent professor, who taught us about different diseases and how they’re diagnosed. The clinical aspects of the course were very interesting.

I also enjoyed studying the laboratory administration course in fourth year. This course taught me practical skills, and it’s also where I explored health administration and learned about the Master of Health Administration program at UBC which I am currently completing.

6. Who was your favourite professor from the BMLSc program?
Dr. Nimmo taught Pathology 375 in third year. He was an excellent professor, who taught us about different diseases and how they’re diagnosed. The clinical aspects of the course were very interesting.

7. What is your favourite UBC memory?
One of my favourite memories is of going to a potluck dinner hosted by Dr. Walker (a professor from the BMSLc program) in third year. Dr. Walker was very much invested and interested in the students learning of the program. This was a great team and colleague bonding experience.

8. Biggest risk you’ve taken to date?
One risk that comes to mind was pursuing my Master’s degree straight from the BMLSc program. Typically, candidates of the MHA program are well seasoned in the field. Pursuing my Master’s degree straight from my undergraduate degree has set me up well to grow in my current career path. It’s also provided me with a network of people from all different fields of healthcare.

9. What advice would you give to current BMLSc students?
I would advise students of the importance of getting work experience or some practical experience outside of your academics. This will enable you to graduate with both a degree and work experience. I would also encourage students to use the opportunity of being in the BMLSc program to build connections and leverage your network.

10. What are the best aspects of your career?
I enjoy the investigative side of my current role – being presented with a problem and figuring out what the solution could be, and if it could improve the overall system. I enjoy that no two problems are ever the same, which keeps me on my toes.

I’m also currently working on the roll out of a caregiver portal, a one stop shop for employees to find information. This project enables me to communicate with many different stakeholders such as franchise partners of Nurse Next Door across Canada and the US, as well as nurses, caregivers and leadership.

11. What are the most challenging aspects of your career?
Some of the more challenging aspects include urgent requests. For example, finding an appropriate caregiver for clients who require care within 24 hours can be challenging.

Another challenge I face is implementing the processes that help make all of our stakeholders’ lives better. There is always a give and take, but trying to find a balance where you can gain adequate buy-in from all parties in regards to process implementation has been a learning curve for me.

12. What is one question you’re often asked about your career?
Being in such a specific role, I often get asked what my exact role entails. However, I find my current position as an opportunity to do as many things as possible, and learn about the company as much as possible.

13. Please name a few of your favourite hobbies and activities
I’ve been practicing both Indian Classical and Bollywood dancing styles since I was 9 years old and continue to do so today.

14. Bucket List Item?
I hope to go Skydiving at some point in my life!

While completing both undergraduate and graduate programs, Saaranga held various volunteer positions as a Welcome and Wayfinding Volunteer and Cardiac Patient Volunteer Visitor. She also co-founded and developed a mentorship program for young BC Tamil students, Paying It Forward, Vancouver Tamil Mentorship Program. In 2015, Saaranga was recognized for her volunteerism when she was awarded the UBC External Graduate Award- Fraser Health’s Volunteer Award Program.

Saaranga works at Nurse Next Door where she is a Procura Product Specialist. Nurse Next Door provides home care services such as personal care, nursing care, 24/7 care and palliative care. As a Procura Product Specialist, Saaranga evaluates central technology systems to see how Nurse Next Door can improve their processes and better leverage resources. Saaranga works to evaluate the system and improve workflows, to increase overall efficiencies.