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4. Preparing Learners for Northern Practice

Clinical placements expose learners to varied caseloads in a hands-on learning environment that provides insight into the unique cultural and geographic challenges to health care practice and delivery in the North. Ensuring a successful placement that provides learners with the background and skills to practice in the context of Northern Ontario entails careful planning and preparation. The following section will provide an overview of recommendations preparing for your learner in terms of  communications prior to placement, Community Engaged Interprofessional Learning, and Indigenous and Francophone health learning resources.

Connecting with Learners Prior to the Placement

Following receiving your confirmation of placement, it is recommended that you connect with your learner 3-4 weeks prior to placement start date.  During these communications you will begin planning and discussing the expectations for the placement by both the preceptor and the learner.  During these discussion it is recommended that you:

  • Find out the learners interests in engaging in a placement in Northern Ontario (e.g.  explore lifestyle, priority health populations).
  • Learn about the learner’s clinical experience and previous work experience in order to gain an understanding of their prior knowledge and skills.
  • Probe the learner as to any learning objectives they may have going into placement. 
  • Provide any resources that will assist the learner in preparing for placement.
  • Provide relevant  information to the learner for self-exploration to plan and  build their community engagement (e.g facebook groups, websites, community groups).
  • Build an understanding of what the learner knows about interprofessional practice and any  placement goals they gave in regards to interprofessional learning.
  • Schedule the orientation and provide the learner with the particulars of the site for the first day (e.g. parking, where to meet, hours of business, contact info, resources, dress code)

Community Engaged Interprofessional Learning

Community Engaged Interprofessional Learning (CEIL) is a term developed by NOSM University to capture the experiences of the learner building their interprofessional collaboration skills on placement within the context of Northern Ontario.  CEIL allows the opportunity for the learner to observe, practice, or apply the principles of interprofessional collaboration within a community  for the purposes of improving care quality.  Interprofessional learning arises from the interaction between members of two or more professions. 

All NOSM learners are strongly encouraged to complete a minimum of 1 CEIL experience while on placement in Northern Ontario.  The NOSM University Clinical Liaisons are available to assist you in regards to connecting your learner to CEIL opportunities while on placement.   CEIL opportunities can consists of:

  • Shadowing opportunities
  • Shared practice
  • Team meetings
  • Case conferences
  • Case studies
  • Education opportunities

Building CEIL into your placements is best organized when some time is taken prior to the placement for the learner and the preceptor to investigate and plan some possibilities in preparation for placement.

  • Orientation
    • Confirm the learners interests in community engagement and interprofessional learning and provide further resources as requested.
    • Match learners goals / objectives to available opportunities.
    • Reach out to the  Clinical Learning Liaison for additional support as required. 
    • Obtain consent from the practitioner, facility, and educational institution for learners participation in CEIL opportunities.
  • Post-Experience
    • Discuss and reflect on observations from CEIL experience using informal discussion, guided reflective questioning, or journaling.
    • Provide additional resources to the learner as requested and follow-up opportunities where available.
  • Post-Placement
    • Learners will report on CEIL activities they participated in during the placement as well as who was involved in each activity.

To learn more about implementing Community Engaged Interprofessional Learning opportunities into your placement please refer to Session #10 of the 2021 Preceptor Development Series.

Resources for Learners on Placement in Northern Ontario

As part of preparation for a placement in Northern Ontario, Rehabilitation Sciences learners are highly encouraged to familiarize themselves with factors impacting the health and well-being of the Indigenous and Francophone populations in Canada.  To facilitate this, NOSM University has provided a number of high quality learning resources from reputable organizations across Canada.  In many cases, learners will work with one or both of these groups while completing a placement in Northern Ontario. Therefore, reviewing and completing the Francophone Health Learning Resources and Indigenous Health Learning Resources can help inform learners on what they will see and do with you on placement.  Preceptors can incorporate completion of modules into the placement experience by having the learner review these resources before starting their placement or by integrating the completion of these resources as a learning objective for the placement.

Joining the NOSM University Health Sciences Faculty

Preceptors that are regularly involved in providing clinical education to NOSM University Rehabilitative Science learners are strongly encouraged to apply for faculty status with NOSM University.  

Clinical Faculty can participate in the Rehabilitation Sciences Program by:

  • Providing clinical placement opportunities (supervision of learners as they refine their communication, physical examination and management approaches)
  • Providing clinical education workshops and professional development workshops for health sciences clinicians working in Northern Ontario

To be eligible for faculty status, clinicians are required to regularly participate in clinical education by offering one clinical placement experience per year. By obtaining faculty status, there are a number of benefits and opportunities to contribute to the school in various capacities.

If you have any questions about becoming a faculty member to support the Rehabilitation Sciences Program at NOSM University, please contact the Health Sciences Manager – Dr. Mike Ravenek (