Fostering a well-rounded education series

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Competition for health-care professionals remains tight and lifestyle has become a centre-piece in the selection process for many candidates. While the dollar is still a lure for some, others are looking more closely at corporate culture when choosing their employer.

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) puts a lot of energy into workplace culture and building a healthy workforce. In addition to on-site amenities such as a gym and massage therapy to foster a healthy body, CKHA works hard to support a healthy mind. Tuition reimbursement programs are available along with a variety of in-house education programs, which now includes a hospital-wide Grand Rounds series.

Launched in January 2009, the program has been an overwhelming success. Physicians, medical students, residents, nurses and allied health professionals gather every Friday morning to share knowledge through the presentation of new findings or case reviews that impact more than one clinical service. The rounds are multi-disciplinary and foster the organization’s team approach to patient care.

Each department is allocated sessions throughout the year and can present a topic of their choice. The majority of rounds sessions are presented by local physicians, with the occasional sponsored guest speaker from an outside university or institution.

“Physicians tend to be open to new offerings and new ideas, but if there is no value, they don’t continue,” says Dr. Tithecott, CKHA Chief of Staff. “This series was well-received by our professional staff – the number of physicians is increasing as the series progresses. The opportunity to learn from each other and share their knowledge locally has real value for them.”

The program’s attendance has grown tremendously over the past twelve months to consistently bring CKHA’s largest education room to full capacity. The one hour in-hospital session is also broadcasted through the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) to CKHA’s Sydenham Campus in Wallaceburg and nearby Leamington District Memorial Hospital allowing physicians at those locations to join in remotely.

Grand Rounds 2010 will expand their series even further to a virtual series online. By offering an OTN webcast option, physicians can connect and view the presentation live from the comfort of their own home or office. This new feature will provide more convenience and allow CKHA to bring the series to practicing physicians who cannot be at the hospital Friday mornings because of logistics or geography.

CKHA is grateful for the unrestricted grants that support the series from Sanofi Aventis, GSK (GlaxoSmithKline), Shire and AstraZeneca. Program sponsorship covers the cost of a health-conscious continental breakfast at each session as well as promotional materials.

With the Grand Rounds program on solid ground, CKHA’s Continuing Medical Education Committee hosted its first annual Education Day in September. The event was a mix of invited speakers from Chatham-Kent and other areas of the province, focusing on new developments in geriatric care.

This in-house education program is still in its early days, but the results are already showing. “This program has been a great success to date and it has strengthened our care teams. Our clinicians in all professions have the opportunity to learn from each other, and to share their clinical experience and expertise to improve the patient encounter at CKHA,” says Frances Roesch, Director of Medical Affairs and Medical Recruitment.

“It’s helped both our recruitment and our retention programs. Our medical staff dedicates a lot of time and energy to their careers and it speaks volumes to them that as an organization we take the time and the resources to support that continued growth and sharing,” Roesch adds.