Baljot Baljot
​Baljot Baljot, (L), a member of the UHN Clinical Extern Program, job shadows Tenzin Yeshi, a registered nurse at Toronto Rehab, University Centre, as part of a new initiative designed to get nursing clinical externs firsthand experience in various departments. (Photo: UHN)​

Clinical Extern shadow initiative gives nursing students firsthand experience

The UHN Clinical Extern Program has launched a job shadow initiative, enabling UHN nursing clinical externs to spend one-on-one time shadowing experienced nurses in various departments.

The future nurses will have a firsthand view of clinical expertise, with emphasis on the nurses' essential role in the patient's journey, patient interactions and the collaborative spirit at UHN. Externs also receive information about the clinical area, pathways to employment and will participate in a facilitated debrief session on the day.

Clinical Externs are students enrolled in academic programs who are hired as employees outside of their academic curriculum. UHN is partnering with the Ontario Ministry of Health in the Enhanced Extern Program to support students enrolled in academic programs from medicine, nursing, paramedic, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

This shadowing initiative at UHN was designed in response to clinical extern inquiries for more opportunities to work closely with registered staff and explore possible clinical areas to begin their work as nurses upon graduation.

The extern shadow days were piloted at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Toronto Rehab, University Centre in December and will expand to other UHN programs this year. About two dozen externs participated in those two days.

Porter Paige Papagiannis poses for a photo with one of UHN Transportation's new motorized and self-propelling Zoom stretchers. (Photo: UHN)

UHN Transportation team rolls out new stretchers

UHN's Transportation team is reducing wait times for patient transfers – while preventing strain and injury to employees – with the addition of new motorized, self-propelling stretchers.

Zoom stretchers are now a critical piece of equipment at Toronto General Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Toronto Rehab.

The technology is especially useful for cross-site transfers – when a patient needs to move between sites on University Ave. With a regular stretcher, two members of the UHN Transportation team, better known as porters, were needed to complete the call, because the underground tunnels are sloped and difficult for pushing a stretcher.

With self-propelling Zoom stretchers, one porter can easily complete the assignment.

The addition of this motorized equipment not only makes cross-site assignments ergonomically better for the team, but also increases efficiency by freeing up more porters. 

(L to R), Lourdes Singh, an aide with UHN Environmental Services, collects an under desk bin from Jan Newton, UHN Vice President Clinical; a stack of the collected bins. (Photo: UHN)

Taking 2,500 under desk garbage bins to the curb

UHN Environmental Services (EVS) launched a new standard of waste collection and rolled out new multi-stream bins (garbage, recycling and organics) in lobbies, public areas, administrative/office areas, nursing stations and lounges across UHN.

The change was made for efficiency and sustainability.

It allows for more efficient frontline staff workflows, redirecting employees to critical patient areas (instead of office cleaning). It also reduces the use of expensive trash can liners, which are single use plastic. Audits of under desk bins also showed recycling and garbage were often mixed, meaning it went to landfill. (EVS cannot fix sorting mistakes.)

In the process, the team has removed 2,500 under desk bins from administrative/office areas across UHN and is donating them to community organizations.

Thanks to the UHN Energy & Environment team, Facilities at Michener, the team at 67 College St. and other teams across UHN for assisting with this important project.

UHN's Ajmera Transplant Centre hosted a holiday sing-along for employees and patients in the DeGasperis Conservatory at Toronto General Hospital. (Photo: UHN)

TeamUHN delivers patient care and festive cheer over the holidays

Staying at the hospital over the holidays isn't ideal – but members of TeamUHN went above and beyond to make the most of it for patients.

From decorating units to serving celebratory meals, there was no shortage of holiday cheer at UHN in December. Here are just some of the initiatives led by employees over the holidays:

  • Every holiday season, Toronto General Hospital's Mental Health Inpatient Unit wraps presents for inpatients, so they have something to open Christmas morning.
    "It's one of our unit traditions – we want to bring a little joy," says Aideen Carroll, Advance Practice Nurse Educator with the Centre for Mental Health.
  • The Centre for Mental Health's Impact Unit delivers gifts and holiday meals to patients. The team, which provides outreach-based care, allowing patients to live independently and safely in the community, goes door-to-door every holiday to deliver a goodie bag and holiday meal from the catering company Raging Spoon.
  • UHN's Ajmera Transplant Centre hosted a holiday sing-along for employees and patients in the DeGasperis Conservatory at Toronto General Hospital.
    The event was organized by Sarah Beneteau, Nurse Practitioner, and came together with volunteers from TeamUHN, including psychiatrist Dr. Allan Wai playing piano and Nurse Manager Susan Kiernan on violin. 

  • Nutrition Services worked hard to make New Year's Eve a celebration across UHN sites. Instead of its regularly scheduled roast beef, the team served steak (for patients whose diets allow it), red-skin mashed potatoes and vegetables, thanks to a generous donation from two vendors.

Check out the Instagram Reel showcasing these holiday initiatives.

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