Healthcare VA is Runner-up at VA Awards for All-Ireland 2014

[Author: Lisa Nolan, Aslan Virtual Admin]

Date: 27-May-2014 12:30

A Healthcare VA (Virtual Assistant) was announced as the runner up at the All-Ireland VA of the Year 2014 Awards ceremony sponsored by on Tuesday 20th May in Dublin.

Lisa Nolan is a nurse and midwife with qualifications and experience in I.T., Executive Personal Assistance and Legal Secretary in Irish Law.  She has been working as a VA for over 13 years and established her own VA business (Aslan Virtual Admin) in 2011.

"A VA is a Virtual Administrator or Virtual Assistant who provides remote office support to businesses and individuals on a freelance basis from his/her own office space, whether it's for short projects or on a retainer basis" explains Lisa.  "VAs are widely used in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and Asia and there is a growing number now in Ireland."

"Virtual Assistance is an efficient and environmentally friendly way of working for both the freelancer and the client" she adds.  "There are a lot of small companies, sole traders and professionals who just can't afford to hire staff on a permanent basis, but who still have admin work that needs to be done.  Wages, equipment, office space and overheads like rent, heat and light are some of the biggest expenses for sole traders and small businesses, but if they use a VA they only pay for time worked and out of pocket expenses.  They don't have to register as an employer or pay employer's PRSI and additional wages for temps during Annual Leave, Sick Leave or Maternity Leave.  The hours are agreed beforehand so the client can tailor their admin support to suit their budget, for example if business is slow."

Lisa firmly believes that VAs are one of the hidden foundation stones for our economic recovery because they are such a cost-effective and highly productive workforce.  She points out that bad weather and traffic jams have no effect on their productivity and that many VAs contribute to their local economy through income earned from international clients.

Like many of her colleagues in this sector, Lisa's VA career started out by bringing work home from the office (with the approval of her employer at the time) because she could get much more done there.  While many VAs work from their own office, Lisa stresses that the term 'working from home' is just geographical.  "A VA's role shouldn't be confused with an idle hobby.  The VAs that I have met are incredibly experienced and operate to the highest standards professionally.  Many of them have come from senior positions in companies and have additional skills in areas such as PR, HR, event management, marketing, website design and graphic design.  They are also business owners in their own right, so they have a wealth of knowledge and experience for their clients to tap into."

With a background in nursing, Lisa's niche is health so the VA services she offers via her website are tailored for health professionals.  Most of her clients are in private practice and use her services so that they can focus on patient/client care.  Lisa has a special interest in health literacy and the use of technology and tools to promote patient engagement.  "I believe there is enormous potential for Healthcare VAs to help reinforce their clients' health promotion activities through social media, which is where patients are seeking information" Lisa explains.  "Accurate information posted online by medical experts can inspire patients to be fully informed, engaged, motivated and empowered to manage their health better."  With this in mind, Lisa created a range of healthcare admin packages called "Filling the Gaps" which aim to help Healthcare Professionals enhance their patients' health literacy.  There is also a range of templates available to download from her website, all either free or low-cost and reusable.

Lisa says she is pleased to see that there are a number of industry standards in the VA sector now which service to promote excellence and reassure clients that their VA adheres to best practice in terms of data security, confidentiality, etc.  The VA Awards are a symbol of these standards, so Lisa was thrilled to be the runner-up in the All-Ireland category and is immensely grateful to the organisers and who work tirelessly to promote and support VAs.  While PAs who were nominated for their own award brought their bosses to the ceremony, Lisa brought her first business customer Gráinne Lynch, MD of HealthEvents, as her guest – so the health sector was certainly well represented at the Gala Dinner.

So, what now for the future of Aslan Virtual Admin?  In addition to expanding her client list, Lisa says she has plans to expand her "Filling the Gaps" packages and also has a couple of books to get out of her head and down on paper.  With more ideas than she has time for, perhaps it's time she considered hiring own VA!

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