Training efforts help with recruitment, doc says
For Dr. Lynn Boissonnault, being able to complete her training at Health Sciences North has been a “great opportunity.”
Not only is the second-year family medicine resident able to stay with her husband and three kids, who live in Sudbury, she said the experience she's received at the hospital has been top-notch.
“As an example, when we're doing labour and delivery, we're delivering the babies,” Boissonnault said.
“We're not standing in the corner, as we maybe would be in a bigger centre. When we're working with the surgeons, we're doing the first assist. We get amazing clinical experience here.”
Health Sciences North will receive $3 million over the next two years to support medical learners such as Boissonnault. Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci made the announcement Feb. 11 at a press conference at the hospital.
The funding will go toward paying for additional costs incurred by the hospital as it trains medical learners, explained Dr. Chris Bourdon, the hospital's vice-president of medical and academic affairs.
These costs include the administration of their placements to ensure they're meeting all of the objectives of their respective programs, as well as the medical and office supplies students use while treating patients.
Health Sciences North accommodates up to 70 medical school students and medical residents a day.
In a given year, roughly 1,000 students in other disciplines, such as nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech language pathology, will have placements at the hospital.
Although there's a cost associated with training medical learners, it's important to have them around, Bourdon said.
Since the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) produced its first class of graduates three years ago, Health Sciences North has been able to recruit close to 100 physicians, he said.
“If you look at them, more than three quarters of them are from NOSM,” Bourdon said. “That cost is making a huge difference in being able to recruit and retain physicians.”
Health Sciences North CEO Dr. Denis Roy said the funding recognizes his vision to turn the hospital into the “Harvard of the North,” with a mandate to teach and conduct research.
“We believe in the value of both,” he said. “Not only do they enhance patient care, but teaching and research help attract some of the best minds in health care.”
Bartolucci said the province values the “indispensable services” Health Sciences North provides as it trains medical learners.
“It also demonstrates the importance of continuing to invest in our health-care system and in preparing the health-care professionals we need for the future,” he said.
“By supporting the teaching hospital, we are ensuring that the resources are in place to meet the health-care needs in our community.”
Because of Health Sciences North's expanding role in training doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals, it plans to build a 20,000-square-foot Learners' Centre on the hospital's campus to meet their needs.
The facility will include classrooms, video teleconferencing rooms, seminar rooms, on-call rooms for residents working at the hospital, a lounge, individual work stations, lockers and storage.
Roy said the Learners' Centre will cost up to $20 million, and could be completed in the next three or four years. He said he expects the hospital will get the go-ahead from the province next year to set the project in motion.
Bartolucci said there will likely be a funding announcement for the Learners' Centre when the contract for the project's construction is awarded.
Meanwhile, the hospital is developing some interim space for medical learners at its Ramsey Lake Health Centre site. These renovations are scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer, Bourdon said.
A small addition is being constructed near the emergency room and existing space is being renovated so there's more on-call rooms and conference rooms.
Hospital officials were not immediately able to provide the cost of these renovations.