I started my career in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) about 12 years ago when I graduated in Belgium as an occupational health nurse. After working there in OHS for about six years, I moved to Victoria to get married and start a new life. I knew it wouldn't be a problem to find a job here as an RN but I really had my heart set on occupational health.

The flexibility of distance learning online allowed me to combine my family and my full-time job with professional development.
- Tine Lathouwers

Luckily, the Department of Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE) at the University of Victoria valued my experience and offered me an entry-level position. My director encouraged and supported me to enroll in the Certificate Program in Environmental and Occupational Health offered through UVic's Division of Continuing Studies. This way I was able to familiarize myself with Canadian legislation and get some "Canadian" experience in the field. The flexibility of distance learning online allowed me to combine my family and my full-time job with professional development.

I truly enjoyed the online discussions with my fellow students, whose diverse backgrounds brought unique perspectives to the courses. The instructors always challenged us and provided valuable insight and feedback when marking assignments. And let's not forget the help from the library staff and the online help desk that I could count on. I opted to do a final project as my final course. It was an amazing learning opportunity that brought all the different course contents together into one report. Presenting my final project, "Mitigation Strategies for the Pottery Room in the MacLaurin Building at the University of Victoria," to the committee was such a great experience after all the hard work I had put in it.

I've been with the OHSE department for almost six years now and I still feel that I have one of the best jobs in the world. My portfolio includes the Ergonomics, Health Promotion and Medical Monitoring Programs. I'm the first point of contact for providing health and safety information and advice to my assigned areas. I'm also a field guide for the UVic School of Nursing and provide practicum placement for nursing students. "It is rewarding to show them how exciting a job in Occupational Health, Safety and Environment can be.


  • Posted March 14, 2008