After more than 57 years with the Laboratory Medicine Program, Berit Cameron will be retiring on May 27, 2022. Berit has worked in a variety of administrative roles over the years including hematology, surgical pathology, liver, and gastrointestinal pathology.
Berit started out working in Pathology at Princess Margaret Hospital on Sherbourne Street in 1965 where Berit was given the option of working in Health Records at Wellesley Hospital or Pathology.
“Pathology was my first choice,” Berit says. “During orientation, I was taken around to see some of the labs and I was very impressed when I was introduced to the surgical lab where I watched one of the PA’s dissecting a specimen – I knew this would be an interesting career choice.”
When Berit started, there were no cell phones, no computers and no subway.
“We didn’t have email, and we used a standard typewriter – so there’s been a lot of changes. Back then if I had a memo, I’d have to wait a day or part of a day to get that notice over to somebody – now you just send it instantly by email – it’s great,” she laughed.
Berit says the lab program had just six pathologists when she started and now there are well over 30 – all with specific subspecialties. Berit spends her busy days fielding calls and emails, doing research and constantly troubleshooting as quickly as she can.
“Because it’s patient care, it’s not something you can leave overnight. Often the patient needs to be treated the next day so you have to follow up right away and find out what’s happening with the specimen, find the status, follow through. But, it gives me pleasure, knowing I’m supporting the patients,” she says.
She emphasizes the critical role that administrative professionals play in the lab.
“We provide a lot of support to the pathologists, and I don’t think they could do without us for a lot of things.”
Over the course of her career, Berit transcribed thousands of micro and gross descriptions, resulting in her having a great knowledge of medical and pathological terminology.
Berit has left a lasting impact on the colleagues she’s worked with over the years. Dr. Rajkumar Vajpeyi has worked with Berit since 2003.
“When I started, she was already a pillar of the department, he says. “She is an institution within an institution! Berit has been a pleasure to work with, reliable and knowledgeable about all aspects of the workings in the department. I will miss her cheery disposition and ability to navigate the daily issues and irritations that confront pathologists.”
Berit says it’s hard to leave behind 57 years of wonderful experiences and memories, but is also excited for this next chapter in her life.
“I am looking forward to continuing travelling, spending time with my family and catching up with friends. I plan to rejoin a badminton club and in the fall. I will also be enrolling in a Norwegian language course to improve and become more articulate in my Norwegian language.”
Berit’s use of the Norwegian language is something that Dr. Jan Delabie, Division Head, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology will particularly miss.
“I will miss Berit. We shared our stories about Norway whenever we met in corridors. She is the only person I could speak to in Norwegian at work and keep the language and memories of Norway alive,” Dr. Delabie says. “Berit is a very kind, respectful and diligent person and has been a valued member of the UHN community and LMP for well over 50 years. That is quite an achievement in view of the demanding environment. I will very much miss her ‘vennen min’, ‘god dag’, ‘ha det bra’, ‘hvordan går det’ whenever we met. ”