The Tuition Assistance Program is helping RPNs Svetlana Prajer and Christine Lee advance their training.
The Tuition Assistance Program is helping RPNs Svetlana Prajer and Christine Lee advance their training.

Growing demand for learning

“It’s amazing that Michael Garron Hospital is helping staff to improve their knowledge and position,” says Svetlana Prajer, a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) working towards her RN degree.

For Svetlana and a growing number of staff and physicians advancing their education, the hospital supports growth and learning by covering part of their course fees. “I switched to working part-time to pull through my course requirements, so the support is very helpful,” she says.

Our Tuition Assistance Program doubled its reimbursement amount in April 2022 thanks to the generosity of Dr. Molly Rundle and Stephen Lister, who donated $1.5 million toward the program and the hospital’s redevelopment. The number of staff who have received tuition support annually has grown from 45 in 2021 to 64 as of March 2023.

For staff like Christine Lee, RPN, the financial support helps with the transition to new roles. “With the Tuition Assistance Program, I was able to start nephrology certificate courses without a financial burden so I could move to the Hemodialysis Unit successfully,” says Christine.

There’s also a new tuition subsidy thanks to a generous donation by our hospital’s physicians. The Medical Staff Association’s education fund supports nurses and allied health professionals.

As a community teaching hospital, our commitment to education includes welcoming students from a wide range of health disciplines.

“We are one of the top-ranked hospitals for trainees,” says Dr. Peter Tzakas, Director of Medical Education. “Many request to come here just because of the experience they’ll get. They value the sense of community and the opportunities for working one-on-one with clinical staff and credentialed physicians.”

With additional government investments in medical schools, the number of undergraduate medical students is expected to increase by 33% here in September 2024 and even more in the future. Our new Carswell Family Centre for Medical Education can accommodate this growth by supporting team-based learning, simulation training and work-based assessments.