Anyone working in health care will remember how it felt to work with their very first patient. Fear, nervousness, excitement and even dread represent the broad range of emotions that novice health care providers feel as they enter the field.
Clinical placements are often the first time Michener’s students get to work directly in a healthcare facility, clinic or laboratory. After months of simulation – where they work with patient models, manikins and simulated cases – students arrive at clinical sites ready for the opportunity to work directly in the healthcare system alongside clinicians and other health care professionals as they would after graduation.
Helping Michener’s students through the transition from the classroom and simulation to clinical practice are clinical coordinators and educators: a network of partners from different hospitals, labs and clinics from across the country who play an integral role in training the next generation of health care professionals.
Anna Nikolajewski, a recent respiratory therapy graduate, credits Sunnybrook Health Sciences centre clinical coordinator Sandi Ellis for making her placement a positive, enlightening learning experience.
“She made my transition from the classroom and simulation at Michener to the new clinical environment less stressful because she provided me with the support I needed to be successful,” says Anna in her nomination of Sandi.
Sandi was one of nine clinical educators who were recognized with an Excellence in Clinical Teaching and Supervision Award at Michener’s annual Clinical Educators’ Day last week.
Over 140 clinical educators from 55 sites across the country joined Michener for talks on mental health and diversity as well as program-specific information sessions. The day was highlighted by presentations from the Clinical Recognition Program.
“This program celebrates the accomplishments of our clinical partners, while fostering a culture in which they are recognized for the impact that they have on the education of Michener students,” says Don Bartlett, Manager of Clinical Education Relations at Michener.
Clinical educators provide not only practical instruction, but also resources for supportive and positive learning.
“Sandi encouraged and created opportunities for enhanced clinical education and interprofessional collaboration,” Anna wrote in her nomination.
For Sandi, this means a job well done.
“If my students leave knowing the importance of teamwork, then I know I’ve accomplished something.”
A theme across the nominations was the sense of support that clinical educators provide to their students, making them feel more comfortable during their placements, and setting them up to be confident and successful health care professionals in the future.
“My clinical educator provided me with all the supports that I needed during my clinical placement,” said Mazeed Sumon, a fourth-year radiological technology student, of Rose DiLeo, a radiology clinical coordinator at Toronto East General Hospital.
“Though it was my first experience in a hospital, she made everything seem manageable.”
“We connect with the students when they first come to clinical,” explains Rose. “This means learning what their fears and anxieties are, and any challenges they had while they were at school.”
For Rose, this is key to exceeding the objectives and competencies required of clinical placements, by providing the feedback and support needed to transition into their new role.
But of all of the lessons that clinical educators pass down, the most important still emphasizes patient care. When asked what her best piece of advice is for her students, Rose says it all comes down to the patient.
“Be focused on your patient,” says Rose. “Be true to who you are and why you originally came into this profession. Never forget why you chose this field and continue to be the best that you can be.”
Excellence in Clinical Teaching and Supervision Award
Brigette Todd, Clinical Coordinator, Southlake Regional Health Centre
Katherine Reise, Clinical Coordinator, The Hospital for Sick Children
Kerry Maddix, Clinical Coordinator, R.S. Mclaughlin Durham Region Cancer Centre
Michael Brayford, Clinical Coordinator, PRHC
Michelle Baczynski, Clinical Coordinator, Mount Sinai Hospital
Michael Iwanow, Clinical Coordinator, Toronto East General Hospital
Robyn Klages, Clinical Coordinator, William Osler Health System
Rose DiLeo, Clinical Coordinator, Toronto East General Hospital
Sandi Ellis, Clinical Coordinator, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Excellence in Clinical Teaching and Supervision Award for a Team
Peggy Larin and Steven Smith, Clinical Educators, Rouge Valley Health System – Ajax/Pickering
Pamela Greco, Orest Shklar, Priya Patel and Connie Martins, Clinical Coordinator and Clinical Educators, St. Michael’s Hospital