The Student Experience Committee (SEC) recognized the commonalities in student management and the benefits to centralizing the orientation process to better support patient, staff and student safety. Since its launch in July 2011, the electronic Student Registration System (SRS) has provided St. Michael’s Hospital with a digital record of all students. Furthermore, it allows St. Michael’s to communicate with students and their academic institutions. This has become the gold standard for managing student placements and institutions across Canada have sought out St. Michael’s knowledge in creating similar systems.
St. Michael's Student Registration System (SRS) enables hospital staff to access important information online.
The homepage of St. Michael's Student Registration System (SRS) provides information on how students can access the system.
Accessible data in real time via the SRS served the hospital’s need to communicate time-sensitive messages to students. For example, during a flu outbreak in a ward with many clinical placements, St. Michael’s was required to inform students assigned to that area about how to keep themselves safe and their role as students during an outbreak. All Medicine, Nursing and Health Disciplines students were contacted via the SRS on the day of the outbreak with the necessary instructions to manage their placement. This replaces an inefficient and error-fraught process of individually contacting each student by manually pulling all paper-based registration forms across three different offices within the hospital. Following the creation of the registration system, it was clear that in order to make the student onboarding process an integrated one, student orientation needed to be innovative and easy to access.
Only 77 per cent of the hospital’s students felt prepared to begin their placement upon completing orientation, which identifies a need for improvement, according to early results from St. Michael’s Student Engagement Survey. The SEC reviewed and revised the orientation program to better align with Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network (TAHSN) partners and the needs of the St. Michael’s community.
St. Michael’s Hospital orientation preparation infographic. 77 per cent of students felt prepared to begin their placement upon completing the orientation session.
As a result, orientation was made more accessible through the use of a dedicated Student Centre website. Large portions of the orientation program are now available online to allow students to complete their mandatory training anytime and anywhere, in advance of their placement. Our students can thus come prepared on day one.
Postgraduate (PG) orientation has evolved extensively in the past five years in response to the needs of both trainees and the hospital. PG trainees voiced concerns that the process of orientation, registration, and transitioning between hospital sites presented frequent challenges for individual residents over the academic year. Residents expressed concerns over lengthy registration processes and repetition of mandatory training at each hospital, which took away from their participation in patient care and clinical learning. Even with the orientation provided, some PG trainees felt ill-equipped at their placements.
St. Michael’s was faced with the challenge of effectively and efficiently onboarding 490 residents and 136 fellows over the academic year, bearing in mind their highly active transitory paths, high levels of independence and their schedules.
St. Michael’s brought this question to its students, internal education leaders, external university and hospital colleagues, and the interdisciplinary leadership team at the Student Centre. The hospital sought feedback on how to improve the process and what needs were not being met. After brainstorming and embracing the notion of collaborative practice and education, the model of orientation greatly shifted away from didactic education. To support the PG student experience, St. Michael’s now embraces small group-facilitated learning on items that have been identified as critical.
In response to unmet needs, the hospital now brings residents together at the beginning of each academic year to discuss topics important to their placement – patient privacy, resident wellness, resident safety, collaborative learning for collaborative practice, the use of social media in health care and medication reconciliation. This provides an opportunity for chief residents and more senior PG trainees to support the orientation for first-year PG trainees and clinical fellows who are new to the University of Toronto, and often, to Canada. At the end of the 2015 orientation, one first-year postgraduate student (PGY1) said, “Thank you so much for this opportunity. I was so scared about starting my first day as a doctor, and this orientation has really helped make me feel calm, supported and ready to begin my work!”
The hospital’s Student Engagement Committee (SEC) reviews feedback regularly and discusses modifications to the orientation as a group and with hospital partners. St. Michael’s is proud to be seen as leaders in this area across the TAHSN hospitals.