Know Your Heroes: Tim Zhao

Know Your Heroes showcases the many different people and roles that make up #TeamUHN. We celebrate these people, who strive to make the world a healthier place every day.

Name: Tim Zhao
Title: CT (Computed Tomography) Technologist
Number of years working in health care: 16
Hometown: Beijing, China

I decided to get into health care because I had been working as healthcare staff before I came to Canada and health care has always been my dream work.

My role here at UHN is to perform medical imaging exams for patients, training new students and technologists, and participating research and quality control programs.

As a CT technologist my daily routine is to do CT scans for all types of patients, to make sure that all the cases are completed in a timely order and the image quality is good enough to interpret a diagnostic.

As a CT preceptor, I have trained many students and new CT technologists in the department, and to make sure they are competent by the end of their training session.

As a quality assurance lead, my job is to monitor the peer review program and gather feedback on image quality, as a key element of our practice as medical radiation technologists. Every three months, we get together in a forum where I facilitate a presentation and discussion related to our CT image quality control so we can always strive to improve our images.

COVID-19 has affected me by helping me realize how fragile life is and how strong our health workers are when facing challenges like we have faced with COVID. When I see and hear all the stories of people getting sick or even losing loved ones, I also see my hospital colleagues taking extra work and risks.

Second, I see how people help each other during the pandemic. Healthcare workers continue to put our patients first, and our hospital teams are helping each other to accommodate necessary procedures during this extremely busy time. I am grateful for our society, who gave donations and free meals, and supported us through other services.

The thing I love the most about my job is firstly to help people by performing professional patient care and scanning high-quality CT images. Every patient has a different story and every CT scan requires a specific approach to obtain the best diagnostic images. Patients feel comfortable and satisfied with my help and I enjoy offering the best patient care to them.

Second is to train the new staff and help them feel prepared for their future career. I have 16 years of training experience and I have learned to train people by their different capabilities and learning style. Other than the standard CT training, I like to teach people my tips and tricks based on my experiences, and to help them to establish good working habits.

The most incredible thing I’ve seen at work is the pride. I am proud UHN is a world leader for neurology surgery, organ transplant and cancer research. Especially when I participated in some medical procedures that were never performed in other places before.

I can still remember when I helped a radiologist to perform probably the world’s first case of ozone gas joint injection. Instead of injecting regular steroid and anti-inflammation medication, our doctor used a special needle to inject the mixtures of two different gases into the patient’s joint, and pain was greatly released without any side effect. I am so proud of being a team member to perform this new technology.

I’m inspired by Buddhism. I am a pure Buddhist and the philosophy has guided me through my life. It teaches me to be peaceful but remain strong. I am willing to help others with tolerance and understanding. When challenging things occur, I learn to stay calm, try to find a solution, and accept it when I have to, because this is all the basic spirit of our Buddhism theories.

My personal heroes are my entire team of colleagues because they are the unsung heroes who fight shoulder-to-shoulder on the front lines of our medical system to guard our safety and good health. They are ordinary people taking extraordinary duties and doing great jobs to help others. Their diligence, courage and friendship are the greatest asset for our team.

I sometimes worry about people losing their vigilance after almost two years of fighting against COVID. Now when most people have received their vaccination and the government is reopening our cities, we can see more and more light in this long tunnel. However, as healthcare professionals, we should keep staying cautious and professional as we always are. When we see more and more people paying less attention to social distancing in the public, when we feel tired of wearing masks for the whole day, we need to remember this should not happen in the hospital.

I’ve found joy recently from training and helping my daughter in mathematical contests. She is learning so much and progressing rapidly. In October 2021 she joined the Canadian National Mathematical Olympia team in an international math contest and won the gold medal for our country. I am really proud of my little one!

My favourite book is War and Peace. It has always been my favourite book because of the deep thinking and demonstration of history, humanity and romance. Pierre Bezukhov spent his whole life feeling the beauty of this world, to love, help others, serve his country. Meanwhile, Andrei Bolkonsky is one of the most sophisticated characters in literature history and he is also my most favourite character in this book.

My ideal day off is to be in my workshop for the whole day creating artistic woodworking products. I am an award-winning woodworker who has been practising for 15 years and recently made my own YouTube woodworking channel.

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