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As one of the leading cancer care hospitals in the world, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has everything you would expect in terms of its state-of-the-art facilities.
Until now, however, it was missing something important – a dedicated space for learners to advance their knowledge and skills in cancer care.
On Monday, Feb. 13, the new Education Centre at Princess Margaret officially opens, giving learners a space to study, collaborate, practice their clinical skills and relax when they need to.
"This is the first time that we've had an integrated education space at the Princess Margaret," says Dr. Meredith Giuliani, a radiation oncologist and the Medical Director of Cancer Education at the Princess Margaret, and a leading member of the planning team for the new centre.
She understands the value of an education space within the hospital setting.
"Learners are very busy, so the convenience of this centre – located right where their learning happens in the hospital – is important to support their education," Dr. Giuliani says.
With the diverse roles in cancer care training, from speech and language pathology to rehabilitation, it can be difficult for this breadth of learners to collaborate seamlessly. The centre at the Princess Margaret is designed for all of these learners to do their specialized training in one place.
"We work as a team at UHN," Dr. Giuliani says. "This is a restful, well-equipped space where our learners can come together, share ideas and innovate."
The new Education Centre is located on the sixth floor of the cancer centre on 620 University Ave. and includes a Health Sciences Library – previously located on the fifth floor of 610 University Ave. – carrels for quiet independent study, exam rooms with clinical equipment, debrief rooms, a classroom that can be divided into smaller spaces and a comfortable lounge.
"In many ways, the centre will be learner driven," Dr. Giuliani says. "We'll see how learners use the space and how it works best for them."
The new centre at the Princess Margaret is filling a gap in terms of learning spaces in the hospital, but also continuing to build a community at UHN, says Tim Tripp, Director of Library and Information Services at UHN, who played a key part in the planning of this space as well as the Education Centre at Toronto Western Hospital, which opened last year.
"It's a chance to familiarize our learners with the resources we have at UHN," says Tim. "People may not know what the health sciences library is for or the expertise we can provide.
"Now, with the library integrated into the shared Education Centre space, we're well positioned to work with and support the next generation of health care workers, in addition to all staff and researchers."
The Princess Margaret Education Centre's opening comes at the beginning of UHN's annual Teaching and Learning Week – a celebration dedicated to recognizing teachers and learners across the organization.
Having the centre open during Teaching and Learning Week highlights that UHN is a learning organization and that education happens all around us, leading to better patient care and better health care research.
It's also a perfect way to say thank you to UHN's learners, says Dr. Giuliani.
"We can't say enough about how much we appreciate our learners and how enriching it is for our clinicians to work with them," she says.
"This is our way of thanking UHN learners – this space is for them."
Teaching and Learning Week is an annual event for all members of TeamUHN to celebrate education. This year, it runs from February 13th to 17th.
Learn more about the week's events.