Friday, December 11, 2020

Marla:  Hello!  My name is Marla Rosenblum and I am the Administrative Services Coordinator for Staff Council.  I am very pleased to be speaking today with Staff Councilor Rubia Ruiz. 

Hi Rubia and thanks for joining me today.  It’s been just over 6 months since you joined Staff Council.  And I can only imagine that given the pandemic, that these past 6 months have been extra challenging for you as a staff member who works in the health Care enterprise.

To start off, can you please share a bit about your time at the University of Iowa and what your current role entails?

Rubia: I’ve been with the University for 6 years. I am now part of the frontline team at the Iowa River Landing. We handle the patient check-in/check-out process, scheduling, any provider concerns, and ensure patients are treated like they are part of the family. We see quite a few patients pretty often, so that makes it easier.

Marla: Thinking about your time on Staff Council. What has been the best aspect of your experience in serving as a councilor thus far?

Rubia: A chance to learn about many initiatives that impact staff and our role in making those changes a possibility. Learning Catastrophic Leave policy improvements were influenced by staff council, or that we have the ability to volunteer in our community in university sponsored activities as part of our job without taking paid time off. I’m sure there are other initiatives they’ve brought to pass, but being a part of a team that has the resources to talk to the right people to get it done, and have those people be receptive to our thoughts. It’s very encouraging to see.

Marla: When you joined staff council back in June, you were provided a mentor, an experienced councilor, who was happy to help you come up to speed as a new councilor.  What was that experience like and how did it help you?

Rubia: My mentor was really helpful and it was great knowing I could reach out to someone as needed.  She was able to walk me through what Staff Council really is and the different ways we bring change. We represent almost 8,000 P&S Staff and there is power in that. I also got to learn what a research manager in health care does, so that was an added bonus.

Marla: Unlike your day job which is patient facing, your experience on staff council has been fully via remote interactions such as Zoom meetings.  What has this experience been like for you?

Rubia: Zoom meetings have actually been really convenient for me and my team as I work in IRL. Zoom makes it much easier to join a meeting than traveling to main campus for monthly staff council meetings. I am told so much is missed because we don’t have the ability to meet in person, but I don’t have that reference point right now and everyone has been open to my questions and when I seek guidance, I have a group of people more than willing to walk me through what I need. I really appreciate that Staff Council doesn’t stop, we are always working on ways to ensure the employee experience at the University is a good one. Change takes time and  we aren’t letting a pandemic stop  usfrom getting things done. We get creative.

Marla: is there anything else you would like to share before we wrap up?

Rubia: This is a hard time to be in healthcare. I rely on my team to get me through the hard days and am grateful, the people I work with care about their role and making sure we do our job as best we can. My roles as a Staff Councilor carry a similar theme.  As a staff councilor, we advocate for staff,  In my role at IRL, we advocate for patients, we try to ask the hard questions to make sure all thoughts are heard. There is so much going on right now, and having a team that is willing to get through it all has been the best part of being at IRL.

MR:  Thank you so much for your time today and the insights that you shared