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Life-Long Learning

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Supporting career-long personal and professional growth.

Goal Statement: 

Sunnybrook is recognized as a centre of excellence supporting the professional development and continuing education of all employees and physicians.

2023 Success Measures:

  1. 75 per cent of Sunnybrook health-care profession employees register for courses to improve their professional skills annually.


Sunnybrook’s long history of supporting continuing education (CE) and professional development (PD) for employees has enabled the development of a rich array of both clinical and leadership development programs delivered collaboratively by Nursing Education, Interprofessional Education, and Organizational Development and Leadership (OD&L) in partnership with clinical care programs and other areas. Educational programming, together with library resources, facilities, and computer services, are available to all members of the Sunnybrook community and are accessed by a diverse group composed of health-care professionals, non-clinical staff and physicians. Sunnybrook aspires to be a learning organization where everyone is both a learner and a teacher. The pace of change in the delivery of health care, the availability of new technologies, and the extension of Sunnybrook’s activities and partnerships create both opportunities and challenges.

The commitment to leadership and the many clinical, research, and academic demands placed on health-care professionals make accessibility to top quality CE/PD opportunities ever more important – and also, given time constraints, more challenging. Meeting these continuing education needs likely will require the re-configuration and repackaging of current offerings as well as changes in delivery methodologies to include just-in-time and experiential learning. Learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic also reinforce the importance of continuing to learn new skills, while global anti-racism movements highlighted the importance of critical reflection on our individual biases and structural inequities.

In a climate of fiscal accountability and in order to be good stewards of education funding, systemically a shift has been occurring towards more on-site delivery of learning rather than funding individual conference attendance. The implementation of consistent practicebased needs assessments creates the opportunity to develop a learning curriculum that is relevant to more than one group of health professionals and that is inclusive of all campuses. While the current webcasting technology can be unreliable, rapid improvements in videoconferencing technology since the COVID-19 pandemic are making feasible the virtual delivery of a range of learning options. The extension of online learning will be facilitated by Sunnybrook’s initial foray into e-learning through the development of an online learning platform currently overseen by OD&L. Scaling this capability will require a review of current governance practices and an expansion of skilled resources.

As is often the case with a range of offerings, there can be challenges in terms of navigating the options and determining the most appropriate roadmap at the individual level. Flat clinical structures – which are common across the Ontario hospital system – with the absence of clear succession and/or career planning, can exacerbate this challenge. More recently, Nursing Education has facilitated the development of education pathways, designed to support the successful transition of new nurses into their roles, promote continuing professional development, and guide frontline nurses’ learning from orientation onwards. These models and templates could be replicated by other professional groups to provide a more informed approach to navigating course options related to career choices and opportunities.

Objectives, Tactics and Measures »

Objective 1: Expand accessibility of CE/PD offerings

Tactic 1: Review course offerings to identify opportunities to improve accessibility and embed equity, diversity, and inclusion principles.

Tactic 2: Facilitate the ongoing conduct of needs assessments to enable the development of profession-specific and interprofessional curriculum designed to meet unique and joint needs.

Tactic 3: Formalize education pathways for all health professions.

Tactic 4: Strengthen educator development opportunities by rationalizing and extending current offerings.


  • Number of offerings for all professional groups and Number of interprofessional offerings
  • Percentage increase in number of people taking CE/PD courses
  • Increase in satisfaction of educators with respect to ability to design and deliver more accessible content

Objective 2: Strengthen CE/PD system

Tactic 1: Develop and implement a Sunnybrook mentorship approach.

Tactic 2: Enhance eLearning development capability and capacity.

Tactic 3: Streamline available offerings through enhanced collaboration and integration across the different delivery entities at Sunnybrook.

Tactic 4: Strengthen accountability mechanisms for managers with respect to CE/PD through usage data.


  • Number of mentors/mentees matched
  • Completion rate for mandatory eLearning modules
  • Percentage of employees, health-care professionals, and physicians enrolled in CE/PD programs 

Objective 3: Demonstrate value of CE/PD

Tactic 1: Develop a policy framework that enables value creation (e.g., with respect to eLearning, CE funding, conferences).

Tactic 2: Expand program and course evaluation to demonstrate application of skills.

Tactic 3: Capture and share innovative practices in continuing education/professional development with other organizations.


  • 25 per cent of courses evaluated to assess if training is actually applied
  • Number of related presentations and/or posters at Sunnybrook Education Conference