Curing women’s work life woes with dose of empowerment

May, 13, 2019

Hemas Hospitals’ Heads of Nursing and Human Resources speak about their journey to the top of their respective trades and how the premier healthcare provider is helping its female employees realise their full potential.

At Hemas Hospitals, women play a starring role across all layers of the Group, from doctors and nurses right through to administrators and attendants. Their involvement has not just helped Hemas’ Hospitals in Wattala and Thalawathugoda operate but thrive and grow into pioneering institutions.

Two women who are prime examples of this are the Group’s Head of Nursing, Dorine De Souza and Head of Human Resources Priyanthi Silva.

De Souza handles the hospital’s nursing care, quality also overseeing Hemas Hospitals’ nursing school and managing a long list of daily administrative duties.

“I have been working at Hemas for the past 10 years. I did not stop after getting myself qualified as a nurse rather and continued my education up to masters’ level which I believe as a key success factor in my career.

“Even though the life of a nurse is filled with challenges and stress, it is a special job and a calling. So I feel privileged to have been put in a position to care for the thousands of patients whose treatment I have aided.”

Priyanthi’s job of managing the Human Resources needs of Hemas Hospitals, presents its own set of challenges and like Dorine, she tackles them in her own inimitable way.

“Whenever I have to resolve a particular problem with an employee I try to be as empathetic as possible. Sometimes they come to you with their problems so you have to be a resource to them. I think one of most important aspects of this job is trying to understand an employee and be as accommodating and helpful as possible while being partner of the business,” she says.

Priyanthi’s journey to Hemas Hospitals has taken a circuitous course, with her first posting being at a cement manufacturing company, an environment she described as nearly entirely male-dominated. However, she says that experience armed her with plenty of confidence in her ability to adapt to unfamiliar circumstances. Before joining Hemas Hospitals she held a Senior Management role at JKH.

Both Dorine and Priyanthi cited the challenge of maintaining a balance between the responsibilities of their family with their work schedules. Fortunately for both women, they were blessed with families that were supportive of their career aspirations.

“I feel that for women, juggling family and work life is a major challenge. When I had my son, I had to carefully manage my time to make sure that I was fulfilling my duties as a mother as well as my responsibilities towards my company. I think this is something that a lot of working women have to deal with,” asserted Dorine.

Priyanthi reiterates this point, adding that most women’s career paths are not as linear as their male colleagues.

“You have to continually play with your work cycle. When your children are small there is so much to do, but as they grow up and settle into a schedule then you can allocate more of your resources and energy to work,” she explained.

Priyanthi said that Hemas Hospitals addresses this constant change in its female employees’ lives by offering them flexibility to plan their work around their family commitments.

This is a lot harder to accomplish in the profession of nursing, with the demands and duration of work much harder to predict.

“Work starts very early and sometimes it can carry on until late into the day. The demanding nature of the job means that once some nurses get married or have a child they do not just leave their jobs but exit the career altogether,” said Dorine.

The programme focuses on educating nurses in different advanced specialties including neurosciences, orthopaedics and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Hemas Hospital plans to build capability and expand its clinical programs to super-specialised areas in gastroenterology, neurology, urology, cosmetics and subfertility.

To equip nurses with knowledge and skills we conduct many local and international programs such as in partnership with Maniphal Global Education Services to encourage them to stay and program in their nursing career.

Hemas Group promotes women empowerment under its 360 you employee value preposition. Significant policy improvements have been done in four pillars of 360 you; Excellence and Balance, Empowerment, Wellness and Uniqueness. Hemas Group must be pioneer in this area as a truly Sri Lankan Company.

Flexi hours, extension maternity leave, introduction of paternity leave, company sponsored medical leaves and voice of women forum of female leaders are a few to mention. Hemas Hospitals has been very much aligned with Group initiatives to promote women empowerment.

Indeed empowering and facilitating the career progression of all the women within the Hemas Hospitals group is a responsibility closely tied to the organisation’s own progress. This is why the Group remains firm in its belief that as it continues to ascend to new heights, so should the women who play such a fundamental role in its daily operations.

Photo caption: Hemas Hospitals Group’s Head of Nursing, Dorine De Souza (left) and Head of Human Resources Priyanthi Silva