Valerie (Val) Ramsay knew both her passion and patience would eventually pay off. After receiving her Bachelor of Science from Western University, she busied herself gleaning any experience that could help secure a dietetic internship — a necessary step to become a registered dietitian.
There was one catch, however. The internship process, administered by Dietitians of Canada, is fiercely competitive, with students all over the country vying for select few opportunities. “I'm determined and I share that trait with many of my fellow students,” Val says. “Nothing would ever stop me from going after my dreams.”
After three years of hard work and volunteer experience, Val secured a coveted spot in a new one-year Professional Master's Diploma in Dietetics taking place at North York General Hospital (NYGH) in partnership with Ryerson University. “The wait was well worth it,” she smiles. “I am having an incredible experience and I truly feel part of a wonderful community here. I couldn't have picked a better place in which to learn.”
Teaching future health care professionals
The newly created program is one of the many ways North York General is preparing and teaching future health care professionals to meet the needs of patients and families. The hospital has a long-standing tradition in medical education dating back to its inception in 1968. All of NYGH's programs and departments are involved in education. The hospital has 36 academic links, including an affiliation with the University of Toronto.
“We aim to provide as many opportunities as possible for all types of health care professionals,” says Dawne Barbieri, Director of Interprofessional Practice, Clinical Informatics, Research and Education at NYGH. “And we strive to make these educational opportunities the best they can be for students.”
Dr. Rick Penciner, Director of Medical Education, says there is a real culture of learning at North York General. “We recognize that education helps us to evolve both individually and as a hospital,” he says. “Essentially, we advance patient- and family-centred care through teaching and learning.”
Another newly created academic initiative involves a grant received from the University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and made possible by the Bertha Rosenstadt Trust Fund in Health Research. This three-year grant supports social workers as they develop their skills as educators and research the latest evidence-based practice in social work.
“It's an incredible opportunity for both the social workers as well as the organization,” says Laurie De Oliveira,Professional Practice Leader in Social Work at NYGH. “Our students play a vital role in keeping practitioners current with professional trends and offer new insight to the care we provide to our patients and families.”
Faye Mishna (centre), Dean and Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, presents a cheque to NYGH President and CEO Tim Rutledge (left) and Karyn Popovich (right), Vice President, Clinical Programs, Quality & Risk and Chief Nursing Executive. The cheque is for a grant that supports social workers further develop their skills.
Laurie says NYGH is a great place to learn about social work because there are over 40 social workers that practice in every spectrum of health care, from inpatient to outpatient. “We are an integral part of the exceptional health care teams we have at North York General,” she says. “It's a thrill to be part of teaching and learning at this hospital because you know you are making a real difference in patient- and family-centred care.”