Updated: Apr 12, 2019
Over the last couple of weeks, we have asked you to submit your stories on how the Allied Health Professional Development Fund has helped you over the years. We have had great response and we want to share these stories with everyone!
Thanks to those who emailed us or shared on social media why this fund is so important for the Medical Laboratory Profession. Here are your stories:
“Hospital budgets are tight and while the organization I work for tries to support its staff with educational opportunities, at the end of the day education funding is one area that they “trim” the budget for to ensure essential supplies and equipment are available for patients. Furthermore, the hospital education funding may have bias towards “frontline” staff such as nurses and doctors, whose care may be more obvious to patients. However, without well-educated Allied Health Professionals supporting the work of nurses and doctors, the system would fall apart.
I truly hope that the provincial government takes the time to understand and appreciate the impact that Allied Health Professionals play in the health care system. Many of us may work behind closed doors, but we are not invisible and play an essential role in providing quality patient care.
Thank you, MLPAO, for lobbying to ensure this fund remains available!"
"I used the fund to partially finance my Bachelor of Adult Education through Brock University. The fund was a huge help in making the completion of my degree possible.
Also, as the funding that’s available through employers decreases, the Allied Health Fund has greatly contributed to our ability to provide funding for individuals to attend conferences and workshops. Individuals presenting at or attending conferences have been able to have their registration fees reimbursed through the AHPDF and makes the costs of attending much more manageable for the employee. Conferences can be cost-prohibitive, and so being able to be reimbursed for registration fees provides incentive to make attendance a reality."
"I was troubled to learn that there is some consideration being given to discontinuing the Allied Health Professional Development Fund. This fund has greatly helped both my field and me personally. It was this fund that allowed me to attend the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) annual meeting the last two years. Attending these meeting has allowed me to increase my knowledge in a very specialized field and become a greater technical resource for both my team and our program as a whole. Preparing and presenting a poster on unique cases has taught me a lot and also increased our profile in the Histocompatibility field. I was also able to return to Hamilton and present what I learned to an audience that spanned all health care disciplines.
It is because our field is so specialized that educational opportunities are not readily available and almost always require travel. I would hope that you will take the future of our field into mind when you are making your decisions on this vital fund."
"Oh no! The #ahpdf has helped fund part of my masters courses, and I really appreciate that this organization exists to help further health professional development!"
"This is terrible. Knowing I was likely to be funded allowed me to attend courses and conferences that have made me become very involved with my profession at the bench and in the general lab community. The benefit has far outweighed the cost!"
"I am hoping this program will continue. The public deserves the highest quality service that can be provided. Program like the Allied Health allows us professionals in the medical field to be more competent and more informed. We need to be updated every now and then with new technologies, methods and ideas.
Currently, I am enrolled in a 6 – month on line course and I am hoping to be a recipient of this program when I complete my course in June of this year. Not all companies offer training and Continuing Education and we need help."
"I want to write about how important the Allied Health Development Fund has helped me and how imperative it is to keep this funding to help support continuing education. As a registered medical laboratory technologist in genetics, we are required to do 30 hrs of continuing education each year. I have used the Allied Health Development Fund on numerous occasions in the past to help pay for the registration fees for conferences related to my field. Continuing education is very important especially in the rapidly changing field of genetics. Attending conferences allows me to stay on top of the most current technologies and theories as well as make connections with other lab members. Without this funding, I would have not been able to attend these conferences. Please consider keeping this funding going. "
"As a Medical Laboratory Technologist, I have used the AHPDF to finance my continuing education journey since 2011.
Through this fund I have been able to stay current in best practices, learn leadership skills, laboratory quality management systems, collaboration, and how to implement change management within the healthcare system. All of this ultimately leads to better patient outcomes through increased understanding of the Ontario health system, best medical practices, and managing change to better serve our diverse population needs.
There is currently a gap within the Laboratory Medicine field in Ontario. There are more Laboratory Technologists that are ready to retire, both senior management and bench technologists, than current graduates. The AHPDF assists with the knowledge transfer gap by funding conferences and courses for the various lab medicine disciplines. The AHPDF also funds the necessary health leadership courses to prepare the next generation of laboratory professionals to lead.
The financial reality is that these courses and conferences are costly. The cost is a barrier to accessing these courses with all of the other financial obligations of raising a family in Ontario. The fund has taken the financial hardship out of upgrading my skills and has ultimately led to a well-developed individual in a leadership position.
Through my process improvements at two different hospitals, I have saved Ontario taxpayers more money than the original investment from AHDPF in my continuing education. As an example, I have implemented a process for keeping patients out of the hospital and in their own home with a sub-cutaneous immune globulin infusion program. In 2018, I was able to save the hospital 120 half-day outpatient blood infusion visits. This number is expected to grow in 2019.
I have also been able to calculate wastage and over ordering of special blood types in transfusion medicine with the ultimate goal of Canadian Blood Services to reduce the extra testing requirement. I have spoken at a conference in Philadelphia regarding the topic of over ordering in 2015. Please see my publication in peer review transfusion medicine journal as evidence of my application of skills funded by the AHDPF.
Finlay L, Nippak P, Tiessen J, Isaac W, Callum J, Cserti-Gazdewich C.
Am J Clin Pathol. 2016 Nov 1;146(5):578-584. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/aqw181.
In summation, the investment in the AHPDF fund more than pays for itself by creating a workforce of Allied Health Professionals that can handle the changing demands of the health system. This additionally educated workforce will have the leadership skills, knowledge, and ability to collaborate with other health professionals to put towards the ultimate goal of excellent patient care and patient outcomes."
"I am currently practicing as a Pathologists Assistant in the Laboratory Medicine program at an academic hospital in the Toronto area. For the last 12 years I have used the Allied Health fund to support my personal efforts in continuing education.
In this time I have gained:
Bachelor of Technology degree from Memorial University
Master of Technology Management degree from Memorial University
Health Services Management diploma from Health Care Canada
Master of Education degree from Memorial University (currently enrolled, 30% complete)
In addition to these academic degrees I have been able to attend annual national professional conference for the last 10 years based on Allied Health fund support.
My rise to a leadership position in healthcare and my ability to provide high quality up to date healthcare services is directly related to my efforts in continuing education and the financial support provided by the Allied Health fund."
Let's keep your stories coming. If you have a story that you want to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.