Queen’s Health Sciences panel discusses next 25 years in healthcare

Discussion around culturally safe care at forefront of panel

Queen’s is looking to expand seats in health based professional programmes.
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The Faculty of Health Sciences (QHS) hosted a webinar on Sept. 27 in response to the current state of Canadian healthcare, titled: “The future of healthcare in Canada: Solutions to the current crisis.”

Professor of Medicine Chris Simpson and panelled by Queen’s Health Sciences Dean Jane Philpott, Vice-Dean Erna Snelgrove-Clarke, and Vice-Dean Stephanie Nixon mediated the panel. More than 340 guests attended the event.

Panellists discussed how QHS plans to improve the healthcare industry and implement changes to health education, research, and patient care in the upcoming 25 years.

“It takes a team on the frontline of healthcare,” Philpott said at the event.

“The way forward is something that we call radical collaboration, and it’s all about working together as a healthcare team.”

Questions from the attendees were collected in advance of the event. Discussion prompts addressed policy changes, practitioner burnout, seats in educational institutions for healthcare professional degrees, and how best to provide patient-centric, culturally-safe care.

When responding to concerns about the shortage of primary caregivers, Philpott reported a 20-seat increase in the Queen’s School of Medicine, followed by Snelgrove-Clarke discussing a 40-seat increase in the undergraduate Nursing program.

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“We value what [healthcare providers] are experiencing, and we want them to learn how to go into [the healthcare] environment,” Snelgrove-Clarke said.

Nixon discussed ways to improve conditions for practitioners working in the healthcare fields in hopes of maintaining altruism and preventing burnout and cynicism.

“[It’s about] being willing to ask really difficult questions […] the questions we think we can’t ask around what it’s like to work in healthcare—our complicity in some of the inequalities we’re trying to address,” Nixon said.

“We have some work to do in-house,” Nixon said, about implementing new policies within the different healthcare schools at Queen’s.

Philpott mentioned QHS’s collaboration with the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) for summer programming geared towards Indigenous youth in the western James Bay area. QHS’s summer program exposes involved students to university life and the potential for a career in healthcare. 

This initiative also involves sending current partitioners to regions overseen by WAHA in the interim until individuals from the region can become qualified practitioners themselves.

Philpott said the overall goal is to increase the access to healthcare for northern Ontario communities.

The next steps for the QHS-WAHA summer programming initiative involve providing more accessible education to Indigenous high school students interested in healthcare to improve the standard for culturally-safe care.

“Please adapt with us, so that we can make sure that the standards that we’re trying to meet will actually facilitate, enable [and] require interdisciplinary education so that we can build a better healthcare professional,” Philpott said.

The panelists spoke to a future in healthcare where the care model is moving away from a physician-centric approach to a more collaborative structure, shifting toward having practitioners from many disciplines working in tandem to help patients.

QHS looks to the future with a 25 year plan to improve the education model for the faculty with the hopes of improving the education and working conditions for healthcare practitioners.

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