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Students show off what they learned during their co-op at St. Michael’s Hospital

Toronto, January 19, 2016

By Rebecca Goss

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Posted by St. Michael's Hospital on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

After four months of hard work, high school co-op students from across the Greater Toronto Area shared their experiences at St. Michael’s Co-op Fair on Jan. 15.

The co-op program through Volunteer Services takes on approximately 60 students a year. Students are placed in many areas of the hospital during co-op, including the Medical Daycare Unit, Pediatric Clinic and Finance Department. Each of the students prepared a poster or PowerPoint outlining the work they did and what they took away from their experience.

“Co-op teaches you about how important it is to be professional,” said Joanne Ong, a Grade 11 student from Madonna Catholic Secondary School in North York who worked in the Microbiology Lab. She said that her favourite part of co-op was the microbiology team because it was so open and inclusive and helped pull her out of her shell by teaching her how to be inquisitive.

Sandy Gobin, the student coordinator for the co-op program, said every year she was impressed by how much the students learn and grow.

“I love seeing them go from A to Z, expanding not just in knowledge, but in maturity and confidence as well,” Gobin said.

The students are also given the opportunity to see different areas of the hospital outside of their placement location. Educational tours are many students’ favourite parts, where they can see the labs, various health disciplines and departments they wouldn’t have seen if they stayed only in their assigned area.

Learning how many different professions are involved in the hospital was the most eye-opening part for Marcia Chikwanha, a Grade 12 student from St. Joseph’s College School in Toronto. The Pre-admission Facility, where she did her placement, wasn’t even on her radar before co-op.

“I didn’t even know it existed!” Chikwanha said.

Dan McHenry, who has worked as a co-op teacher at Richmond Hill High School for 14 years, said he was impressed with the quality and breadth of experience that his students were exposed to.

“The students learned that there are roles beyond physicians and nurses,” he said. “Their supervisors really opened the students’ eyes. They put so much work into the students. They were the keys to success.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.