Dr. Rania Hiram is a paediatrician and former Chief of Paediatrics at RVH. She has lived just outside of Barrie for nearly 20 years. When she’s not at work caring for our region’s youngest patients, she’s busy with her own children or outdoors enjoying all that this region has to offer.
In honour of International Women’s Day, Dr. Hiram sat down for a Q&A to share more about her work and the impact that your donations can have on paediatric care at RVH.
Why did you choose to live and work in Simcoe Muskoka?
When I graduated residency, I looked at many sites to start work and RVH and Barrie stood out among all the other places. I love the area and the hospital and am grateful to be practicing here.
What activities do you do for fun outside of work?
I have a busy life outside of work with 3 kids and lots of activities. I enjoy skiing, hiking, water sports, biking, running, and travelling.
How long have you practiced in your field?
I have been working at RVH for 17 years.
Why did you choose this field?
I fell in love with paediatrics when I did my rotation in medical school. I love working with kids. They are so much fun. I also enjoy working with families. I found that I had the greatest sense of reward and accomplishment in this field. Kids can get so sick so quickly but with the right care, they often can make a full recovery and lead amazing lives.
What does a typical workday at RVH look like for you?
My days are variable. Most are spent between my office, subspecialty clinics and looking after patients in the hospital, including emergency patients and premature newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
In which departments at RVH are you responsible for patients?
I am responsible for pretty much all patients from 0-18 who present to the hospital with medical needs. This includes the outpatient clinics (I specifically do asthma and diabetes), paediatric inpatients, Emergency Department and NICU.
What kind of care do you provide?
I provide comprehensive paediatric care to children in our region who need it. This includes looking after patients with a wide range of medical issues.
How is your work changing lives?
With my expertise in the field of paediatrics and the resources that we have at RVH, I am able to diagnose, treat and improve the lives of kids and their families, and do it in our own community so that these families don’t have to drive for hours to receive this specialized care.
How has the pandemic changed your practice?
Virtual care was very difficult for both doctors and patients. In the past 1-2 years, we have seen that the pandemic has also greatly increased the volume of patients and the acuity of their needs. This has been the busiest year of my entire 20-year career in paediatrics.
What are the areas of greatest need for paediatrics?
Our biggest issue is space. There’s just not enough of it. We’re also experiencing a shortage of trained staff and allied health personnel. In the Emergency Department, there is no comfortable, child-friendly area for kids who are coming in for emergency care. And, of course, we have equipment needs.
Why are these needs arising?
They are arising because the needs of the population are becoming more complex. We are trying to do more here locally instead of sending patients to tertiary care centres. The standard of care in medicine has also shifted significantly since the hospital was built, in terms of infection control, confidentiality requirements and moving toward family-based healthcare. This changes what is needed from the space and has put significant strain on our current configuration.
What would an expansion of your program allow you to do?
It would allow us to deliver the care in a much better way and make parents and families more involved. It would allow me to practice to the full scope of my knowledge and provide care for my patients closer to home.
Why is that important?
With the recent surge in paediatric illnesses, we have had to look after our local patients closer to home as other centres have been surging as well. It is crucial that we are able to provide safe, effective care locally while meeting the best standard of care and to give parents the best experience possible during a difficult time in their lives.
How does working with your patients make you feel?
I absolutely love my job and my patients and families. I feel so proud to be able to help them and get so much reward from what I do.
Have you received excellent care from a member of our talented care team? You can make a gift in their honour, helping to provide much-needed funds for ongoing needs like new equipment, technology, enhanced spaces and more. Make a donation in honour of your care hero!