Jenn De iuliis – Woodstock Hospital
- Written by: Neil Cote
- Produced by: Andrew Wright & Andrew Melson
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
The hospital might be of fairly recent build, but diagnostic equipment doesn’t last forever. So Jenn De iuliis explains while overseeing the replacement and upgrade of one of the most sensitive and expensive facilities at Woodstock Hospital in Southwestern Ontario.
“It’s all about how you and your team take the hospital’s mission to heart and best serve your community,” she tells Blueprint in January. “You’ve got to do what’s right for the patients.”
A growing community between Toronto and London, the Woodstock area relies on its community hospital for the bulk of its healthcare. The three-story, 350,000-square-foot facility provides echocardiography, MRIs, CT scans, mammograms, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, bone-mineral density and general X-ray imaging.
However, depending on the software required, imaging equipment generally lasts between seven and 15 years and most of Woodstock Hospital’s was installed upon its opening in November 2011. So “it’s turnover and upgrade time,” De iuliis says. “A very eventful five years awaits.”
Seeing the needs
Hired in late 2021, De iuliis had an eventful enough first year as director of diagnostic imaging, spending much of 2022 overseeing replacement one of five general X-ray rooms, around one-third of the ultrasound fleet and an echocardiogram machine. She proceeds with those projects as well as replacement of mammogram suites and small to modest upgrades in just about every department that uses imaging.
This year she’s starting planning for a CT replacement, which includes a look at the infrastructure to accommodate a mobile CT trailer. Eventually, she’ll work with a facilities crew to assemble a tunnel or awning needed to house the mobile trailer.
An ultrasound technologist before ascending into management with another healthcare provider in 2009, De liliis says she knows what makes these machines tick, albeit she’s supported by a staff of 70. Ideally, little or nothing goes to waste, as the old systems are disassembled into parts or passed on to other countries, private clinics or universities.
As has been the case with most anything construction-related, the hospital has endured supply shortages. That’s had De iuliis nurturing relationships with vendors or collaborating with the Purchasing Department to get around shortages.
“Little chips from China have been late in arriving. The same goes for little pieces of metal that connect equipment, tracks for X-rays and the tubing we need for procedures,” she says. “It definitely affects how quickly we can get something done.”
Then there are staffing issues. Imaging technologists are in demand, and De iuliis acknowledges how hard it is to recruit. With the province funding MRI training of two staffers at Woodstock Hospital, she’s optimistic about everyone’s workload being at least a little reduced by autumn.
As a youngster in Southern Ontario, De iuliis aspired to be a veterinarian but the time and expense had her looking at other pursuits. Those became medical imaging technology and Diagnostic Medical Sonography at Mohawk College in Hamilton, where she graduated in 2005.
“I’m such a dork and just love medical imaging,” she says with a laugh. “I never get bored with it and I’m able to help people by providing doctors with the means to help them. I’ve also been able to grow into a management role that’s been so satisfying.”
It didn’t take her long to ascend there, De iuliis honing her skills for around four years as an ultrasound technologist at Diagnostic Radiology Services and Cambridge Memorial Hospital. In 2009 she became Chief Sonographer at Medical Imaging Centre Inc., and one year later rose to regional manager.
She held that post for seven years, providing leadership at four Ontario imaging clinics and even weighing in on a new builds. Afterward she spent four years as a clinic manager for Cambridge Medical Imaging, and then came to Woodstock Hospital when COVID-19 necessitated precaution in all departments.
“I had been with private diagnostic clinics since 2009 and was ready for a change,” De iuliis says. “I wanted back in a hospital setting. The private sector gets to be so exhausting with turnaround in ownership and the need to constantly re-educate new owners.”
That said, her Woodstock Hospital responsibilities would seem exhausting too, De iuliis also in charge of recruiting and interviewing, working with finance and purchasing and leading meetings in addition to directing diagnostic imaging and staying atop technology’s ongoing evolution.
But, as she says, it’s all part of being a cog in Canadian health care—and making a difference in one’s community. An advocate of lifelong learning, she earned a master’s degree in health leadership last year from British Columbia’s Royal Roads University and expects to enroll in another master’s program, this one for healthcare administration.
Juggling these responsibilities never seems too much for this married mother of four children who range from a 21-year-old daughter to a 2-year-old son. The latter was an infant when De iuliis opted for Woodstock Hospital, but she assures family life hasn’t suffered.
“COVID, the master’s program, a baby, a new job—it’s been an exciting time here,” she says of her year-plus at Woodstock Hospital. “And there’ll be a lot more excitement as we proceed with replacements and upgrades. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. IV 2023 Edition here.
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