Hospital Parking Pain

How many of us have had to deal with a patient or a family member who complains of the cost of parking at our hospitals? I know I have MANY, MANY times. I certainly don’t blame them. These people are often at their most vulnerable, fighting acute illness or worse yet a chronic illness. What if they are required to come for IV Antibiotics on a daily basis? or Dialysis bi-weekly? It can add up quickly. Factor in that hospital parking is almost certainly privatized in some capacity and the rates are often inflated beyond typical costs in comparison to other lots in the community.

We are losing potential volunteers who cannot afford to volunteer. Visitors cannot afford to visit. Patients  are missing appointments. Where is the compassion? The hospital is not a destination of choice like going to the movies or the spa for a day, (although most theatres and spas offer free parking) the hospital is a place you do not CHOOSE to go to, rather a place you must go and often at the worst moments of your life. Why must we compile the stress and anxiety by charging for parking? Are the profits being made on the backs of the sick and weak?

Dr. Bob Winston a cancer specialist thinks so and says this in a recent CBC interview:

Parking a ‘Tax’ on the sick

And be sure to watch the Marketplace documentary ‘Hospital Parking Pain’ Where Erica Johnson investigates the costs of parking at hospitals in Canada and find who’s really making money off those lots.

Do high hospital parking rates keep you from your appointments? Should we pay for hospital parking at all?

Marketplace ‘Hospital Parking Pain’ documentary


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Student Orientation Prior to Practicum

The rules are changing. More and more the Health Authorities are requiring additional checklist items to be completed prior to students being placed into a hospital setting. Vaccinations, Fit-testing and WHMIS are just some examples of the many expectations being enforced when placing students.  These expectations are not limited to the students. Faculty/Instructors who are supervising these practicum students are expected to complete the same orientation items.

To make things easier for schools to prepare for practicum placements, the Health Authorities have compiled a one-stop-shop online orientation checklist and links. Are your students prepared? Are YOU prepared?

Online Orientation for Faculty and Students



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Get hired in healthcare!

The healthcare field is booming. The aging population, the increase in lifestyle related illness, (think COPD and Diabetes) and our fractured healthcare system are going to ensure that there is no lack of work for some time to come.

The Health Authorities generally do a couple of hiring ‘blitzes’ every year. But every year, hundreds of grads attempt to be hired. Whether you are an RN, a UC or another potential member of the multidisciplinary team, your resume and your inteview must rise above the rest.

Think about it. The Health Authorities are still supporting hiring freezes in nursing, and with the political environment in the midst of change, it can be a challenging time to be hired in healthcare.

You must ask yourself, why should they hire me over the hundreds of other applicants? What do I bring to the organization? You Should research the health authority you are applying for, what do you know about THEM? Don’t just assume that you will be hired. If your resume makes the cut and you have secured an interview, you had better be prepared.

Here are some great interviewing tips for those looking to break into the healthcare field whether you are an LPN or a healthcare executive:

Healthcare Hiring Questions

Happy Job Hunting!

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Hug a UC

I teach Unit Co-ordinators and am a practicing UC. Although we are an intregal part of the healthcare team, It is always difficult to describe what it is exactly that UC’s do. I found this article that was right on the pulse of it:

What IS a Nursing Unit Clerk, Anyway?

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Healthcare workers and grief

Our students will be entering a workforce that deals with very happy outcomes, and very sad outcomes. If a patient leaves the hospital in better condition then which they arrived, the students will feel the joy of having helped that person regain their health. But not all situations will end well. People are diagnosed with chronic conditions they never knew they had like diabetes or COPD. Sometimes people are diagnosed with a terminal condition. Sometimes people never leave the hospital or die suddenly. All of these situations will inevitably occur and the student will be in a situation where they will experience grief – their own grief, the patient’s grief, the grieving family and the grieving multi disciplinary staff.

Most hospitals do not give orientation to new staff on how to handle grief. It is our job as educators to teach our students how to handle grief when it arises in its many forms. The subculture of healthcare should give us a vast resource of people to share our grief with. But we often wait until we are in the washroom, or in the break room, or driving the car home to have our breakdown. Why when we are with so many others who can relate do we grieve in a silo? Possibly it is the culture of “I can handle it”, “this is my job” or we feel that we should be come accustomed to loss because of where we work. This could not be further from the truth. We should lean on one another and not grieve in a silo.

York University Nursing Students created this wonderful documentary on nurses grief who work on a busy perinatal unit. Their stories are poignant and very real:

This is an excellent video to show your students and begin the dialogue. After all, we can’t take care of others if we can’t take care of ourselves…

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In the month of love, do you love yourself?

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Have a heart

As we all know February is heart month, (coincides with Valentines of course!) It got me to wondering about my own heart, and how important heart health is to teach to our students.

I teach my students about the function of the heart, the pathologies of the heart, the associated diagnostics and labs. I teach them about valves, vessels and electrical impulses. I teach them related vocabulary and abbreviations. They can label a diagram of the heart and define related terms, but do they make the connection between all of this information and the living, beating organ in their own chest cavity? Should I focus a portion of my lesson plan on heart health and healthy habits? I believe it is crucial to do so.

Smoking, poor diet, sleeping habits and other lifestyle choices can increase your chances of heart conditions developing in later life. Students often fall into one or more of these risky behavior categories, especially when cramming for exams or assessments. If students have the opportunity to reflect on their own risks, they lower their chance of developing deadly coronary conditions later in life, (ex. Coronary Artery Disease) Here is a great checklist designed by the Canadian Diabetes Association you could use with your students to begin a dialogue:

Pose the Questions: Do diet and exercise affect academic performance? Does this vary with age or gender? Do you know anyone who has suffered a coronary condition? (heart conditions affect 1 in 3)You will be amazed at the conversation this sparks and the experiences the students will share, (have kleenix ready as usually there are some challenging and emotional topics that arise)

February is a fantastic month to begin these conversations with students as there is an abundance of heart related resources, (Check out my resource section for a few). A great film on the heart to show in class is “The Mysterious Human Heart – The Silent Killer” PBS – here is the trailer via YouTube:

And be sure to check out the Heart and Stroke Foundation Website at:

Have a heart and teach your students to love theirsheart






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PowerPoint Support via twitter!


I came across this community with close to 1000 users whos goal is “to help members learn about the features and uses of PowerPoint, the latest happenings in the PowerPoint world” I am now following @PowerPointWiziq in hopes of learning some skillssmile Do your skills need improving?

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Is Laughter the Best Medicine in our Classrooms?

We have all heard the old saying that laughter is the best medicine. But does laughter help our students learn? Is laughter appropriate while they are out in the hospitals on a practical experience? I believe that laughter CAN help students learn, and is even sometimes appropriate within the healthcare setting.

My vet once told me I should bring my dog in to the office for a ‘visit’ even when we had no appointment or purpose for doing so. In fact, she keeps treats on the counter for just such visits. This allows the dog to feel more relaxed when she HAS to go there, because she doesn’t just associate the office with bad experiences. Brilliant right? Well, the healthcare teaching environment (or any teaching environment for that matter) should be no different. Our students are expected to diligently study and learn hundreds of medical terms, drugs and policies and procedures. This can become a little dry at times for the student and where is the ‘treat’. Same goes for hospitals. People associate them with only negative experiences. Our students can help to change this if we teach them where respectful humor is appropriate.

Laughter can relax you, boosts the immune system and triggers the release of endorphins. By teaching our future healthcare providers to use appropriate humor; and by using it ourselves in the classroom; it gives students an effective behaviour to model in their practical experience and in the workplace. Medicine is serious business, and there isn’t a lot of time to laugh, but when those moments present themselves they can leave a lasting positive impression about the healthcare environment on patients, visitors and staff.

What are you waiting for? Take your medicine and laugh a little, I have to take my dog to the vet for a treat.

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

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