SUDBURY, ON –  Excavators are already tearing through the asphalt, as work has started on the new Learners’ Centre outside of the Emergency Department at Health Sciences North.

The 28,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility will serve as a premiere training ground for future doctors, nurses, lab technicians, paramedics and other health professionals. Inside the facility, more than 2,000 learners from more than 70 postsecondary education institutions including Laurentian University, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Cambrian College and Collège Boréal, will learn the latest in medical practices and technology in a brand new Simulation Lab. “We are very proud of this next phase of advancing HSN’s academic mission and our standing as a destination of choice to learn, teach and practice healthcare,” says Dominic Giroux, President and CEO the organization. He adds, “This is a solid investment in improving access to care, and leading to healthier communities.”

It’s a special day for Dr. Rob Anderson, Medical Director of the Simulation Lab, who has poured his heart and soul into making the Learners’ Centre a reality. “It’s the best day ever,” says Anderson. The Simulation Lab will be relocated from the Sudbury Outpatient Centre on Regent Street to the new location at HSN. Anderson says, “The new Learners’ Centre will bring all of our learners into one hub, closer to clinical activity. It means learners from all disciplines can work together to build confidence and problem solving skills to optimize real world outcomes.” 

Josée Lalanne, a recent NOSM graduate, agrees. She says a revamped Simulation Lab will teach future health care professionals about how to perform their jobs, while working in high pressure situations. “The Sim Lab provides hands-on clinical teaching by simulating real-time emergency scenarios like running a code blue, allowing learners to practice working under pressure and exercise their decision making skills. Secondly, it will give us the opportunity to further our medical abilities and perfect procedural skills such as suturing and intubation so that we are we are prepared for the real world.”

There will be immediate benefits to patients at HSN, as students will also help provide care to people at HSN, while they learn. Our current roster of health care professionals will also use this facility to hone their skills, and learn new techniques to deliver the best in patient care.
The Learners’ Centre enhances HSN’s reputation as centre for healthcare excellence and an academic teaching hospital. It will help us recruit some of the top health professionals to northern Ontario. Dr. Chris Bourdon, HSN’s Vice President of Medical and Academic Affairs, says he’s already seeing a benefit from the Learners’ Centre. “Over the past seven years, HSN has experienced one of the best periods in its history for physician recruitment. It’s no coincidence this happened at a time when we accelerated our development as a teaching hospital.” Bourdon adds, “The ability to attract and train health care learners and their teachers truly does matter to patient care and to a hospital’s reputation.”

The construction of the Learners’ Centre is a $26 million dollar investment in our hospital and our community. This project would not have been possible without the generosity of donors. Through numerous fundraisers, loyal donors and the team of dedicated staff and volunteers from the Health Sciences North Foundation raised the local share of $5.4 million dollars for this project. “The funds raised by the community, will support the equipment needs of the Learners’ Centre,” says Alex Patterson, Chair, Health Sciences North Foundation. “We can’t thank our donors enough for the kindness and generosity over the years.” 

Construction of the Learners’ Centre is expected to take 18 months, with plans to have the facility up and running by January of 2020.