Student Representatives at Council

              2017-18 Student Reps

Pictured from L to R: Jamie Mclellan (Conestoga), Charlotte Ley (Fanshawe), Ariane Metcalf (Michener). Absent: Telayna Johnson (Algonquin), Victoria Eckesnweiler (Canadore).

2016-17 Student Reps

Pictured from L to R: Anthony Yip Chuck (Fanshawe), Danny Raghunandan (Canadore), Cameron Streicher (Conestoga), Madeleine Poirier (Algonquin), Kyla Legault (La Cité), Sam Gennidakis (Michener). Absent: Kylie Pomeroy (St. Clair).

 

In 2012, the CRTO conducted a perception survey to obtain information about how the College was seen by stakeholders.  The data showed that the earlier in their professional careers RTs interact with the CRTO, the more likely the College would be viewed as a resource.  In response, the Patient Relations Committee developed a Student Strategy that has included the following initiatives over the past few years:

  • invitations for student RTs to sign up to receive eBulletins and other communications from the CRTO;
  • presentations by staff at each school about the registration process, quality assurance requirements, “what it means to be a professional,” etc.;
  • creation of a dedicated Student area on the CRTO website; and,
  • development of a student-version of the PORTfolio that was shared with all Ontario Respiratory Therapy programs.

To further enhance student engagement a pilot program was run in 2016 inviting a second-year student representative from each of the seven (7) RT programs in Ontario to sit at Council, for a one-year term, in a non-voting position.  

The intended benefits of this initiative were to:

  • give students the opportunity to see first-hand how decisions are made about the regulation of Respiratory Therapy in Ontario;
  • enhance students’ understanding of “patient-public interest” by reading Council-related material and hearing discussions on CRTO initiatives that serve the public interest;
  • learn what it means to be self-regulated professionals, including the role of the CRTO at Provincial and National tables such as FHRCO and NARTRB;
  • gain an understanding of government’s role in shaping the healthcare system by reading and hearing information related to legislation, regulations and government- relations; and
  • earn valuable volunteer experience that we hope will translate to future involvement in their profession (and can be listed on CVs/résumés/LinkedIn™).

The following nomination criteria were used for the selection of the student representative:

  • strong academic standing,
  • exhibits initiative and support for the profession,
  • demonstrates leadership skills, and
  • is not the current student representative for the CSRT or RTSO.

Student representatives from each program were selected by their program coordinators.   CRTO Staff provided the reps with an orientation session their first Council meeting to help them understand their roles, review the CRTO’s confidentiality policy, governance model and strategic directions. Students were also told that they would be required to adhere to a Code of Conduct that, if breached, may result in their removal from the initiative.

The CRTO’s commitment to this initiative included supporting student growth and development through education and interaction with experienced RTs, Council members and staff, and reimbursing students for some (limited travel) expenses. The CRTO hoped to also benefit by:

  • hearing relevant RT student issues during the “Student Forum”;
  • leveraging students’ participation by having them share relevant CRTO/Council information with their fellow RT students; and
  • improving communications and relations with the Ontario RT programs.

At the end of the pilot program students and their school’s RT program coordinator were surveyed about their experiences along with the benefits/drawbacks of participating in the initiative.  Here are some of the responses we received:

Students

  • “The transparency of the meetings witnessed by the student reps and public (should they so choose) was very reassuring to see as it confirmed that how the CRTO operates is, in fact, aligned with its goals and vision with respect to the public and profession it regulates.”
  • “I feel like I have a good understanding of how Respiratory Therapy is regulated in Ontario and also how it will affect my personal practice.”
  • “It’s apparent from the involvement of respiratory therapists on council and as non‐council committees and their work, as well as review of the by‐laws, that the CRTO is truly self-regulated.”

RT Program Coordinators

  • “They brought back information and learned so much from the experience.”
  • “There was no negative impact on the student’s academic progress. I do believe the experience had a positive impact on our Student’s academic progress. He seemed even more engaged and enthusiastic about Respiratory Therapy after his involvement.”
  • “Having even one student with a deeper understanding of what goes on with the CRTO earlier in their education (trust me, we try but the students have a really hard time keeping the CRTO, CSRT and RTSO differences sorted out in their minds) is a really good thing. Their knowledge will at the very least help them, and will hopefully ‘rub off’ on a couple of others.”

At the June 2017 Council meeting the survey responses and CRTO impact were considered by Council Members.  Unanimously it was decided that the initiative should continue.  The CRTO values its ongoing connections and collaboration with all stakeholders and believes that Respiratory Therapy students are fundamental to the future of healthcare in Ontario and the profession.