Learning is a lifelong endeavor and this is particularly true in the field of healthcare. Much of what is taught today was not known a decade ago and for this reason education must be a daily investment for the St. Mary’s Hospital Center community. Teaching is everywhere at St. Mary’s, from the bedside to the conference room, from the social worker to the pathologist. It is conducted with stethoscopes and PowerPoints and posters. It is for CEGEP students and senior clinicians, for patients and families.
Given the rush to educate our way out of a healthcare shortage, teaching is a growth industry at St. Mary’s. The numbers of students in many health care fields have increased significantly in the last several years and this means more clinical rotations for a wide variety of disciplines. For example, the McGill Medical School class will be about 175 students for the foreseeable future, compared to about 107 students a dozen years ago.
Such numbers require resources that match the infectious enthusiasm that abounds in our culture. Better funding from McGill and the Ministry of Education has been an important transfusion over the past year and reflects more equitably the work we do here. Physicians working at St. Mary’s with McGill appointments are important assets to our status as a university-affiliated hospital centre.
The planning for the hospital must also include addition of space, staff, and tools for teaching. And the teachers must be taught. Expertise in medical education is indispensable to university-affiliated teaching hospitals. It informs and enables us. We can never leave the classroom if we are to have confidence in our caring.