Education Matters

My Learning Experience @ Sunnybrook

As millions embrace the release of The Hunger Games on the big screen, health professional students all across the GTA are gearing up for a battle of their own – entering into the job market.

In preparation for our final test of aptitude and intellect, students spend upwards of six-to-eight years training in demanding post-secondary and clinical institutions.

We write, we present, and we collaborate until we’re sure that we cannot possibly do it again.

And then we do.

This same process is then repeated in the hospital setting where we must prove to our peers and superiors that we are capable and competent. Not a small task when we are also trying to convince ourselves.

During our training, we all develop unique strengths and clinical skills. As the end nears, however, we also begin to realize the incredible number of other students just like us – each with their own set of skills. It is after this realization (and as graduation looms), that conversations about extra learning or networking opportunities become more guarded, and job search strategies become strictly confidential.

At a time of economic uncertainty and instability in healthcare funding, health professional students feel especially vulnerable. As an article in the Globe and Mail last week highlighted, “competition for jobs when the unemployment rate is high has given employers the luxury of being more selective in new hiring’s.” Just reading those words has the ability to increase student anxiety.

Despite this, I myself will enter the job search arena next week. I am keeping my fingers crossed that when I am selected, it is for a job opportunity and not for The Hunger Games. Although at this moment they both seem to be a fight for survival. I know the competition is tough, but I am confident I will be successful in my hunt. My only concern is how hungry I will get before I succeed.

Looking back on my training, I am thankful for my many mentors and teachers both at Sunnybrook and the University of Toronto. They have provided me with the tools I need to begin my career as a Social Worker, and are cheering me on as I take this next step. They have also reminded me that, “we are all learners”, and that although my formal instruction is ending, I have a lifetime of learning ahead of me.

Stacey Creak

Social Work Intern

Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre

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