Helping Others From Personal Experience
Rachel Salazar has always had a passion for helping people. Every day, she brings that passion to her role at The Oncology Institute, where she has been an operations manager for almost three years.
“Knowing that I am helping people during some of the hardest times of their lives is my favorite part of this job. Whether it’s a patient or an employee, just making their days a little better is rewarding.”
As operations manager, Rachel serves three TOI clinics in the Los Angeles area. At the clinics in Whittier, Downey and Lynwood, Rachel works hard to ensure some of the busiest TOI clinics are operating smoothly and efficiently.
“It’s my job to find the best systems for making these clinics run smoothly from training employees to cleaning the occasional toilet. I wear a lot of hats.”
She discovered her passion for helping others early in her career. Rachel started out in the healthcare field at just 18 years old, working in medical records. Since then, she has served a number of different roles, always making sure her work goes back to helping patients.
“I was just one of those people that learned the job by doing the job. I had so many great mentors along the way that showed me the ropes.”
Her leap to The Oncology Institute began after the biggest trial of her life. Rachel’s mom was diagnosed with liver disease in 2015 causing Rachel to leave her full-time position at the time.
“When she was coming home from appointments not having recalled what they told her, I knew I had to take a step back from my professional role and help take care of her.”
For three years, Rachel took care of her mom while she waited patiently for a liver transplant. Her mother’s light-hearted spirit and sense of humor kept Rachel going through this difficult time.
“Even when she wasn’t feeling well she was still cracking her jokes. That is definitely where I get my sense of humor.”
Despite being away from work, operations were still at the top of Rachel’s mind. Going to her mom’s appointments and staying involved in those daily healthcare conversations allowed her to take a closer look at customer service and how each clinic operates.
“I never wanted to say that I didn’t spend enough time with my mom. And taking care of her during this time had me constantly thinking about process improvement.”
After four years of waiting, Rachel’s mom was finally next in line for a liver transplant. She received a new liver in October 2019, greatly improving her quality of life. Rachel was now able to return to the workforce following her mom’s improvement.
Not long after, Rachel accepted a job at TOI in July 2020
“My mom was a walking miracle. She went from not being able to speak well to driving by the time I began my position at TOI.”
Rachel has dedicated that same level of service to the employees and patients that she sees every day. She says watching her mom experience liver failure and the long wait to receive a transplant helped prepare her for a career in health care.
“I just treat every single person like my mom. That’s the level of care they deserve.”
And for those with a passion for helping others and hoping to get into the healthcare industry, Rachel has some advice.
“Enjoy what you do. If you enjoy your job, it will make it a lot easier. Don’t go in for the money, go in because you love your job.”