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August 27, 2019 This post is written by student interns at Baycrest’s Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI), as part of a reflective series.

Written by: Samantha Rossi, M.A. (M.D. Student Class of 2022, University of Toronto) and Julia Mirotta, M.Sc. (B.ScN Student Class of 2020, University of Toronto).
Between July and August, 10 students from a variety of healthcare disciplines had the opportunity to work with the Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long Term Care (CLRI) at Baycrest in a seven-week internship. Our group represented future healthcare professionals in diverse fields of medicine, ranging from nursing, kinesiology, occupational therapy, social work, therapeutic recreation, and audiology. For the first time in many of our educational experiences, we worked closely with students outside of our discipline in interprofessional teams to learn the ins and outs of geriatrics in the setting of long-term care. 

What a whirlwind of a summer it was! Each of us completed two major projects - one research-based, and the other arts-based – as well as studied readings and cases pertaining to geriatrics and long-term care; we shadowed health professionals at Baycrest and participated in observerships at other long-term care homes in the GTA. Interprofessional collaboration was integrated throughout all of these aspects of learning.

After speaking to our peers and reflecting on this internship, we found the opportunity for interprofessional teamwork to be one of the most critical aspects of our experience. Not only did we work cohesively as a team, but we also developed strong professional relationships that will endure well into the future. Interprofessional approaches to care have become second nature to us; we developed a deep understanding of why an interdisciplinary, team-based approach is the recipe for providing optimal care and applying best practices in geriatrics. This especially came across in our final presentations, when everyone’s talents and unique perspectives shone through in the way they conducted their projects and presented their findings. All of our efforts this summer culminated in a deep appreciation for interprofessional collaboration and a mutual understanding that we could exchange views with one another, and trust that our perspectives would be heard and conscientiously applied. There is something about working in a group where everyone shares a passion for improving the lives of seniors through the provision of healthcare that unites us and motivates us to strive for academic and professional success. 

The CLRI summer internship is truly a unique, one-of-a-kind experience for students to develop their interprofessional skill set and one that we certainly wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere. Many thanks to the Baycrest CLRI for this opportunity, and for the support you provided us along the way! And to our fellow interns – thank you for the laughter and your commitment to changing the way we age in Ontario! 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Baycrest.
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