Michael Bird was “a little apprehensive” when he heard students would be involved in his care on the Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Unit (MSK) at Parkwood Institute. That is until he met registered practical nurse student Mar Baguio. “I was almost instantly at ease and impressed with his skills, his level of knowledge and his ability to transmit to me that he knew what he was doing,” Michael says.
As part of St. Joseph’s academic mission, a group of internationally trained clinical students including 29-year-old Mar, participated in a placement in Specialized Geriatric Services (SGS) in both the MSK and Geriatric Rehabilitation Units at Parkwood Institute. The placement was part of a pilot project and collaborative partnership between Parkwood Institute, Fanshawe College, George Brown College and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.
Mar was a registered nurse in the Philippines before immigrating to Canada with his family. “Continuing this occupation gives me meaning in my life. Seeing hope in the eyes of the patients who need you gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride.”
“Students in this pilot program got experience becoming work ready in a real environment,” says SGS coordinator Kathy Holdsworth. “They also learned what it is like working with other clinicians such as social workers and physiotherapists in a team, which isn’t something they came across when practicing in their home country.”
“There is a very vast difference in the health care system in Canada and the Philippines. In the Philippines it’s a one way process (between physicians and nurses) and there is hierarchy in the system. In Canada every profession has equal status and collaborates and advocates for patients,” adds Mar.
Kathy said the team in SGS were happy to share their knowledge and at the same time learned valuable lessons from the students, “They (the students) speak with their hearts about the patients they have cared for and the challenges they have had and how under very difficult circumstances (they) have still given excellent nursing care. It’s a joy to see this same passion brought to the care they provide patients on our units. Coupled with their passion for learning, they have very quickly become valued members of our team.”