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Michener Institute honours St. Michael’s Hospital’s interprofessional education program

Toronto, November 22, 2012

By Emily Holton

The Student Cafe team
The St. Michael’s Student Café team.

The St. Michael’s Student Café team has been awarded the Michener Institute Award for Clinical Interprofessional Collaboration and Education. It was presented at the Michener's annual Faculty Development Day earlier this month.

Lu Liu, a radiological technology student at St. Michael’s Medical Imaging Department, nominated St. Michael’s for the award.

“When my Michener classmates and I were discussing the interprofessional education we received at different clinical sites,” said Liu, “the quality and complexity of the program at St. Michael’s stood out.”

Traditionally, interprofessional education involves one or two on-site observations and/or interactions with healthcare professionals from different disciplines. The learning curve can be steep, and the impact of short, isolated sessions is likely to be limited.

At St. Michael’s, students are “primed” in strategies for interprofessional collaboration before the first observation/interaction. Early in their clinical training, students are invited to attend monthly interprofessional education events and our unique “Student Café.”

The interprofessional education series brings in speakers from across disciplines to talk about specific interprofessional issues that students are likely to encounter.

The “Student Café” model brings together small groups of students from different health care fields, and encourages them to share stories of their clinical experiences. Topics are diverse, ranging from how to approach difficult conversations to dealing with death and dying. The program is in its second year.

“It was the perfect platform to give and receive feedback: a low-pressure, friendly environment,” said Liu. “In my humble opinion, these sessions allowed the students to really understand interprofessional collaboration and bring the culture of collaboration and friendship forward into their professional careers.”

The Student Café team wasn’t the only St. Michael’s winner at the Michener awards: Abeer Al-Jabar (diagnostic medical sonographer) won the Excellence in Clinical Teaching and Supervision Award, and Jeanette Chee (nuclear medicine technologist) won the Clinical Values in Action Award.

The winners were all nominated by Michener students.