December 16, 2020

Intern education 2020 successfully completed

After an unprecedented year, last week marked the completion of intern education for 2020.

Susie Sangas, Medical Education Manager, explained the intern year commenced middle of January, preceding a week of orientation.

“I remember how lovely it was for the team to meet the 43 new interns. We could sense their excitement and trepidation as they were starting the beginning of the rest of their career. No one would have predicted what was about to happen. On Sunday, 3 January 2021, our interns will complete their internship. Most of them have chosen to stay at Northern Health to complete an HMO 2 year post in 2021,” she said.

The Medical Education team suddenly had to adapt to COVID-19 changes and find innovative ways to continue delivering the education.

“When the pandemic struck, we felt like one of our legs had been cut off. Our biggest challenge was how to balance service delivery, while also giving our interns a protected space to learn and mix with their peers, as well as for us in Medical Education to keep an eye on them. We kept intern education going, had to learn how to use Zoom, how to record and upload sessions on Vimeo, how to use tiny URLs to share the links and then transition to MS Teams,” she explained.

“My biggest challenge was to make sure the team felt supported as their responsibilities were double fold – balancing their own clinical/leadership duties, as well as looking after the junior doctors and what they needed during the crisis,” Susie added.

Dr Rachael Coutts, Associate Director, Medical Education, would often come to the team with new ideas on how to make education as user friendly as possible. Initially, the team offered both face to face and remote learning, but then had to move to remote learning only, and then back to a hybrid model.

“The pandemic has called on all of us to be flexible, adaptable and innovative. My whole team switched through multiple changes and embraced the benefits of online learning.  I have been extremely proud. The junior doctors – interns and HMOs, have been able to access both education sessions online, as well as recorded sessions. These have been really successful with over a thousand views on our videos, as well as reports of how helpful it is to be able to watch them in their own time,” she said.

“I am incredibly proud of the Northern Interns of 2020 – they adapted well with the challenges of COVID-19 and were quick to adopt the Zoom and Microsoft Teams interactive intern education sessions,” said Dr Carol Chong, Supervisor of Interns.

Dr Brandon Lui and Dr Nikki Petrakis, 2020 interns, said even though they missed the weekly free lunch, they were impressed by how smoothly the transition to e-learning was.

“Thanks to Northern Health’s rapid and adaptive COVID plan, our learning as doctors in training was able to continue undisturbed. It was tough not being able to see everyone in person, but knowing that our efforts contributed toward bringing our cases down to zero made it all the more sweeter when we were finally able to return to in person teaching at the end of the year,” they both agreed.

Chief Medical Officer, Ms Wanda Stelmach, also attended the final intern education session and personally thanked all the interns for their hard work this year, and for coping so well during the pandemic.

Carol presented with a thank you card and gift from interns Nikki Petrakis and Brandon Liu.