Kristie Chamberlain and Kerri-Ann Dexter work so well together, they liken themselves to colleagues in an operating room. “Hand me that screwdriver” one electrician will say to the other and they immediately know which kind the other needs.
Their paths to becoming electricians at the IWK followed a similar route. Chamberlain, a hairdresser for 14 years and in the army reserves prior to that, was looking for something more to help provide for her daughter. “I did my schooling in two years part-time at Nova Scotia Community College while working full time as a stylist,” says Chamberlain.
Dexter also took her schooling at the community college. Both had contract positions at Twin City Electric and worked on projects onsite at the IWK. When a few job openings came up for full-time work, they both jumped at the chance.
“We work on a variety of things in the run of a day,” Dexter says. “Motor controls, running data, patrol, generators. We really need to be on our game if something in a clinical space breaks.”
Chamberlain and Dexter both say they enjoy the atmosphere at the IWK and they really like their co-workers. On the jobs where they have to go into patients’ rooms and clinical spaces, their interactions with patients are always positive.
“I think they’re often more comfortable and maybe a little more at ease when we show up,” Chamberlain says. “And they always smile and make comments like ‘it’s so cool you do this kind of work.’”
For the kids, and themselves, they decorate their tool carts with sticker collages. Chamberlain has covered hers with photos of her dog and says, “The kids love looking at them and that makes me smile.”
Chamberlain has been with the IWK four years and Dexter for one year. They’re both red seal journeymen, and therefore can supervise apprentices.