Meet Holly Marusaik, working front desk at CGH to help bolster community

Walking into the Canmore General Hospital, the first thing you encounter is the front desk. For Holly Marusaik, this moment is crucial in setting someone up for the most positive experience possible. When you enter that door, Holly is more often than not the one who greets you.

“They see a smiling face: someone happy to help them out, calm them down” or even “answer any of their questions no matter how minor they may seem,” says Holly, who has worked at the hospital’s front desk full time for more than 17 years.

Growing up in Canmore, Holly sees her role at the hospital as a way to give back to her community. Often, a visit to the hospital can be “hard for the families, hard for the patient,” she says.

For her, offering kindness and taking the extra time to listen and talk to each person who comes in is an important part in making a small town like Canmore feel like a community. She may be a familiar face to some because she grew up in Canmore, but it’s because of the intimacy of the hospital and continuity in her role that Holly starts to build relationships with people who walk through the hospital doors.

“If you're not feeling well one day and you come into the emergency department, I'm probably going to help you. If you're coming back for follow up tests, lab work or C.T. scans due to your diagnosis, I'm here to help you,” says Holly.

Of course, there are millions of tourists travelling through the Bow Valley throughout the year – it’s a popular place for people near and far. So, when visitors encounter a medical need that requires urgent care, the Canmore General Hospital is often where they wind up and Holly is the person with the friendly smile who helps them navigate a medical system that, for international travellers, is a foreign one.

As a result, “I've helped people in emergency situations from almost every country in my 17 years here,” says Holly.

Soulafa Al-Abbasi, Executive Director of the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation, notices how Holly’s positivity shines through each time she arrives at the hospital, where the foundation’s office is located.

“The front desk staff at the Canmore General Hospital are one of the friendliest staff I’ve come across in an institutional setting,” says Soulafa. “Holly perfectly exemplifies this sunshiny, uplifting personality. She loves what she does and spreads her happiness whenever possible.”

Just as Holly sees herself as serving the community through her work at the hospital, she sees how the community in turn helps the hospital thrive. Holly says the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation along with the Ladies Auxiliary have done an “amazing job over the years fundraising and getting us the equipment that we need” at the hospital.

“The hospital couldn't do half of what it does without their support,” says Holly, citing the cancer care clinic along with numerous pieces of equipment purchased by the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation.

For more than 17 years, Holly Marusaik has welcomed patients and visitors at the hospital at the heart of the community she grew up in.

For more than 17 years, Holly Marusaik has welcomed patients and visitors at the hospital at the heart of the community she grew up in.

Soulafa Al-Abbasi