Welcome Guide for New Students

Required learning

When you register online, you will find a list of required learning for you to complete before you start. 

NEED HELP? Email education@sunnybrook.ca

Required readings 

Health and safety

All students are required to review and ensure they understand our health and safety policies and procedures. If you have any questions about Sunnybrook health & safety procedures, please speak to your Preceptor or contact the appropriate Education Leader.

What to do if you are sick while on placement

People sick in bed

Health and safety are important at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and each of us contributes to a healthy and safe workplace. This includes staying at home and seeking appropriate medical care when you are not well.*

If you become sick while you are on site at Sunnybrook, you need to inform your Preceptor/Supervisor or Clinical Instructor as well as the manager on the unit before leaving to seek appropriate medical care. Please also ensure that you alert your placement contact at your school.

For infectious illnesses, and/or for times where you develop gastrointestinal or flu/flu-like symptoms, you must ensure you are in compliance with Sunnybrook requirements of an infectious illness. Check the intranet for full policy. (This link opens on Sunnynet, a password-protected site)

If there is an outbreak declared in the area where you have your placement/rotation area and you develop an infectious illness, you must follow up with Occupational Health and Safety. Check the intranet for full policy. (This link opens on Sunnynet, a password-protected site)

Please know that our education team at Sunnybrook is available to help you arrange to make up lost placement/rotation hours if needed. Talk to your preceptor/supervisor or clinical instructor, email education@sunnybrook.ca or call Occupational Health and Safety at 416-480-4175 for illness surveillance-related issues.

*Appropriate medical care may include contacting your family physician, your University/College student health facilities, contacting Telehealth Ontario or your local public health agency, or visiting an Urgent Care Centre or Emergency Department.

Influenza vaccination policy & process

Influenza is a serious contagious disease spread by droplet transmission. According to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, there are approximately 3,500 deaths per year in Canada from influenza and its complications.

Each flu season Sunnybrook holds a campaign promoting vaccination for all staff, physicians, students and volunteers. It’s important you stay healthy and protected from influenza in order to keep our patients safe from infection.

Vaccination is effective in preventing influenza and reduces the duration and severity of illness when infection occurs. This, along with comprehensive prevention and infection control practices, remains the most effective protection during flu season.

Getting a Flu Shot & Flu Sticker

  1. Students who choose to receive vaccination are encouraged to do this before arriving at Sunnybrook. Those vaccinated by a provider other than the hospital’s Occupational Health & Safety Department must provide evidence to Occupational Health & Safety in ordered to be issued a sticker. There is an ‘Influenza Vaccine Received Form’ which students may have signed by an authorized health-care practitioner as evidence if they receive vaccination outside of Sunnybrook.
  2. Those vaccinated against influenza must wear, or have on their person an identifier indicating their influenza immunization status for the duration of the flu season. A sticker affixed to your photo ID badge will be the identifier.
    At all campuses: Students who have received vaccination but have yet to obtain a sticker must have on their person evidence that they have received immunization. Acceptable evidence is documentation of immunization from an authorized healthcare practitioner including the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network Flu Fighter card.
  3. Stickers issued at other hospitals within the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network will be accepted as evidence.
  4. Flu shots are available in the Occupational Health & Safety clinics at all sites:
    1. Bayview Campus,
      Room HG-46A, (416) 480-4175 fax: 416 480-4384
      Monday - Friday - 7:00 am - 4:45 pm
      (closed Wednesday between 9:30 - 10:30 am)
    2. Holland Orthopaedic and Arthritic Centre,
      2nd Floor, (416) 967-8510 fax: 416 967-8782
      Tues & Thurs, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
    3. St. John's Rehab,
      Room S266, 416 226 6780 ext. 7090
      Mon, Wed, Fri 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Influenza Outbreak Procedures:

  1. Only students, trainees and clinical instructors who have been vaccinated can continue to work on the unit.
  2. Once an outbreak has been declared, students, trainees and clinical instructors who have not been vaccinated can be vaccinated. You must contact Occupational Health & Safety and will be given the Influenza Vaccine. The vaccine won’t be effective for up to 14 days, therefore you will be required not to work on the outbreak unit for or 14 days until the vaccine becomes fully effective. Some students may be eligible to receive Tamiflu through their schools and continue to work. Please ask if you have concerns.
  3. Non-vaccinated students, trainees and clinical instructors who have no medical contraindication to the vaccine and who decline the influenza vaccine during an outbreak will be excluded from working in patient care areas where the outbreak is declared.
  4. During an outbreak, Public Health requires that non-vaccinated students, trainees and clinical instructors are not to work in any other clinical setting or healthcare facility until one (1) incubation period of three (3) days (72 hours) has passed.
  5. During an outbreak, any students, trainees and clinical instructors who become ill with respiratory illness and self-screen via the online surveillance tool as being ready to return to work must also contact Occupational Health & Safety before returning to work.
  6. For students, trainees and Clinical Instructors who are cleared to be on outbreak units, general respiratory outbreak procedures must also be followed which include not going to other units or common areas and going directly to the unit and leaving directly from it.
  7. Proper hand hygiene and use of personal protective equipment are essential.

Please be reminded of the following:

  1. For any respiratory illness, students, trainees and clinical instructors must NEVER come to work during the early or acute part of the illness or with a fever and must remain off work until symptoms improve which make take 2-5 days. Please ensure that you follow our Healthy Workplace Policy.
  2. Working with your Preceptor/Supervisor and/or Occupational Health & Safety, students, trainees or clinical instructors at all sites should screen themselves before returning to Sunnybrook after being absent due to a infectious illness
  3. Please remember that our Education team will work with you to help you make up any lost placement/rotation hours due to illness. By coming to work with an infectious illness, evidence shows that you can spread the infection to your patients and co-workers.

If you have questions or concerns, or require specific information about policy exceptions (e.g. allergies) please contact Occupational Health &Safety Department (Main Office: HG 46 Bayview Campus, ext. 4175).

TAHSN Sunnybrook Influenza Vaccination Policy ( pdf file)

FAQ – Healthcare Worker Influenza Vaccination ( pdf file)

Needlestick injuries

Sunnybrook takes needlestick injuries (and other bodily fluid exposure) very seriously and is committed to ensuring prompt attention to the physical and emotional well-being of the learner in this situation.

Please contact Occupational Health and Safety if you receive a needlestick injury or fluid exposure during the day. Please page the shift coordinator at 1400 after business hours.

In the rare occurrence where a needlestick injury (or other similar exposure) occurred and appropriate blood testing could not be performed on the patient before death, and the case is now a coroner’s case, any testing of the deceased blood (or otherwise) must be performed under the authority of the coroner.

In such cases, the coroner can be contacted through the Dispatch Office in Toronto at (416) 314-4100. If there are difficulties contacting the coroner, or there is a problem arranging for appropriate testing, the Regional Supervising Coroner can be contacted through the same number. This number is available through most wards and the emergency room.

Other accidents or injuries while on placement

For all other incidents, (violence, bullying, falls, musculoskeletal injuries, etc.) please complete a staff incident report and bring the report to Occupational Health and Safety. A staff incident report can be found on Sunnynet*, under (Employees > Occupational Health and Safety > Incidents/Exposures). (*This link opens on Sunnynet, a password-protected site)

For any safety-related issues (small chemical or chemotherapy spills, issues related to extreme temperature changes, issues of concern over environmental factors that could cause illness or injury), call Occupational Health & Safety at ext. 6041, 83813 or 6040.

Critical Incidents are reportable to the Ministry of Labour. They consist of a life threatening injury, loss of consciousness, substantial loss of blood, fractured arm/leg (not a finger or toe), burn to major portion of the body or loss of sight in an eye involving staff (including residents).

  1. Get immediate medical assistance
  2. Do not disturb the area unless necessary to prevent further injury or equipment damage
  3. Page Safety On-Call (#7437) or Call Locating (ext. 4244) and ask for On-Call Safety to be paged

Operation of equipment & accessing restricted areas

All students must ensure that they are oriented to the use of any department or profession-specific equipment, and are appropriately supervised before using. Students must not access any areas marked as restricted or prohibited without appropriate department or profession-specific orientation. Appropriate caution must always be taken.

General student safety

Every student is entitled to a safe and healthy workplace. For more resources about reporting an incident, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and key staff safety policies, please visit sunnynet.ca.

Our Working Together for a Healthy Workplace Pamphlet* is available on Sunnynet (*This link opens on Sunnynet, a password-protected site).

Security Services is always available to support student safety. If you require assistance or if you would like an escort to and from your car or the bike cages, please call the Security Department at 416-480-6100 (ext.4589).

It is important that you obey all stop signs and the speed limits while on site. More information about Security Services is available on Sunnynet* and students are encouraged to review this information after their placement begins (*This link opens on Sunnynet, a password-protected site)

Safe consumption of food and drink

In a hospital, there are restrictions on where food/drink can be consumed due to risk that food and drinks could become contaminated with infectious materials or hazardous drugs/chemicals:No food or drink allowed

“No food, drink, tobacco or cosmetics shall be consumed, applied or kept in areas where infectious materials, hazardous chemicals or hazardous drugs are used, handled or stored” (Ontario Regulation 67/93, S. 32).

This applies to patient care areas, labs, pharmacies, re-processing areas, areas with chemicals such as maintenance or cleaning closets/carts or any other areas with infectious or hazardous materials.

Students should consume food and beverages in approved areas only. Watch for the "No food or drink" signs, or check with a leader in the area.

ID (Identification) badges

three-point breakawy lanyardAll staff and students are required to have a Sunnybrook-issued ID (identification) badge. You are required to wear your ID badge at all times while on placement/rotation. You must use a lanyard with three-point breakaway safety clips or a retractable clip

Dress code, footwear & fragrance-free policies

At Sunnybrook, professional clothing, including footwear, is required at all times. Each department is responsible for setting specific guidelines for uniform/footwear in accordance with professional practice or standards, which could include licensing requirements, infection control standards, and health and safety regulations. Students are expected to comply with the uniform and footwear requirements of the host department.

Students who are not required to wear a uniform should present a well-groomed, professional appearance that is appropriate to their function.

Unless protective footwear is required by the department, safe footwear with a closed toe and secured heel, non-slip sole, and low or flat heel (e.g. walking shoe) is required.

It is a Sunnybrook policy that nail enhancements (e.g. artificial nails, nail wraps, silks or other) are not to be worn by any student health care providers giving direct patient care.

Sunnybrook supports a Fragrance-Free policy in all buildings. Students are to refrain from wearing scented personal products (e.g. perfume and cologne, after shave lotions, scented moisturizing lotions and scented oils) within Sunnybrook Campuses.


It is Sunnybrook’s policy to minimize exposure to latex in order to reduce adverse reactions. This will be achieved by:

  1. Availability of vinyl (non-latex) non-sterile procedure/exam gloves throughout the hospital.
  2. Availability of latex-free sterile gloves when necessary. (Note: Routinely supplied sterile gloves do contain latex. These gloves are powder-free). Students with a latex allergy should check with a Sunnybrook leader and/or refer to our Glove Use Policy* on Sunnynet. (*This link opens on Sunnynet, a password-protected site)
  3. Latex balloons will not be permitted in the hospital.
  4. Patients presenting with a latex allergy will be managed according to the Latex Allergy Procedure (please see our Latex Allergy Policy* on Sunnynet). (*This link opens on Sunnynet, a password-protected site)
  5. Supply management: The goal is to have latex-free hospital products where clinically feasible.

Waste management

Safe waste management consists of practices such as safe disposal of sharps (students learn more about this as part of the General Safety eLearning module and/or Sharps Safety (via MedSis 3C) and disposal of hazardous drugs/contaminated materials (which should be covered at the unit/profession or department level for students who require this information). For further information regarding waste management, students are encouraged to speak with their unit, profession and/or area specific leader, or check with Environmental Services.

Code of conduct & respect policy

It is the policy of Sunnybrook that together we will create working environments that welcome the diversity of our workforce and are built on a foundation of respectful behaviour. This will ensure staff, physicians, volunteers and students feel included, experience the reality of belonging, and are able to fulfill their potential here at Sunnybrook.

The full policy is available on Sunnynet. (This link opens on Sunnynet, a password-protected site)

Conflict of interest

It is the policy of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to ensure a high level of ethical conduct.

This policy is intended to promote the highest standard of public trust and integrity while protecting all of Sunnybrook’s stakeholders (including members of the Board of Directors, members of Committees of the Board of Directors, members of the Medical/Dental/Midwifery staff, research staff, contract staff, employees, volunteers and students) by providing the means to avoid or resolve situations that may otherwise place these stakeholders in ethically questionable situations.

The full policy is available on Sunnynet.* (*This link opens on Sunnynet, a password-protected site)

Social media

There are a few basic things to keep in mind when using social media:

  • Do not disclose personal health information. Patient confidentiality is key!

  • Students should avoid using social media to provide medical advice. If you are contacted via social media sites regarding medical advice, you are encouraged to advise those parties to seek official channels of communication from the Hospital’s website: https://sunnybrook.ca/contact/

  • Sunnybrook strongly discourages “friending” of patients on social media websites.

  • If you receive press or media contact regarding the content of your site or social media profile which relates to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, consult Communications and Stakeholder Relations at 416-480-4040

  • Use good judgment: If you identify your affiliation with Sunnybrook, your social media activities should be consistent with our high standards of professional conduct. Remember: even if you don’t explicitly state that you work at Sunnybrook, others may easily draw the connection, so it’s always a good idea to be professional and use good judgment

  • Sunnybrook name and logo: Your social media username, URL and handle should not contain the Sunnybrook name, and your profile picture should not contain the Sunnybrook logo. You may mention your affiliation with Sunnybrook in your bio.

Tweet 1: Bob @Sunnybrookdoc I'm a doctor. Views expressed are my own and do not reflect views of my employer. Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Tweet 2: Bob. @bobthedoc I'm a doctor. Views expressed are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer. Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Tweet 3: Bob. @bobthedoc I'm a doctor. Views expressed are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer. Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Personal communication/electronic devices – use & cleaning

Electronic hand held devices are commonly used on the units but they can be a source of transmission.

Your electronic devices in bedside patient care

  • If you need to access your personal device while at the patient bedside, clean your hands before and after handling your personal device will keep the device clean.
  • If hand hygiene is not performed before touching your device, it must be cleaned before going to see next patient (using Cavi wipes in the hallway).

Best practice matters

We have seven best practices with a focus on:

  • Enhancing practice
  • Measuring change and improvement
  • Creating sustainable gains
  • ‘iLead’ champions to support the work and learning of teams

Talk to your team to find out more about what Sunnybrook is doing to support Best Practice!

Patient safety & quality improvement

At Sunnybrook, we are on a continuous journey of quality improvement and patient safety. All staff, physicians, students and volunteers share accountability for ensuring a culture of learning, continuous improvement and safety.

To support this culture, staff, physicians, students and volunteers must diligently report any patient safety incidents or near misses so that, as an interprofessional team, we may learn from them and prevent recurrence. This can be done through the electronic Safety Report system – iSpeakUp.

To login, click ‘Anonymous’ and you may enter your name in the field labeled ‘Reported By’. You may also report an event to your preceptor/education leader, or by calling extension 4192.

For more information about how together we learn from patient safety incidents, please review the Accountability for Patient Safety Policy and the Safety Reporting Policy.

You will also be involved in many quality improvement initiatives during your time on the units. To learn more about our annual quality priorities and how you can help, review our Quality Improvement Plan or ask your preceptor/education leader how you can get involved in helping to improve the quality of care and experience for your patients and their families!

Sunnybrook uses Safety Reports to allow for documentation of patient safety incidents (such as falls, medication errors, unexpected process delays or equipment failures) and near misses. To support a strong culture of patient safety and learning, everyone is encouraged to report any circumstance that has the potential to lead to negative outcomes or is unexpected within the anticipated treatment process of a patient or normal operations of the hospital – whether or not actual harm has occurred.

When a report is submitted online through our iSpeakUp program, an alert is immediately emailed to the manager(s) and other key individuals, including the attending physician listed in the report, to notify them of the event, incident or near miss, and to follow-up as necessary.

While in many cases safety reports will be completed by the Preceptor/Supervisor working together with the student, students can also enter safety reports anonymously by using the 'anonymous function' which does not require a login/password.

Addressing student placement issues

Sunnybrook is committed to resolving issues that occur during student placements. Students are welcome to contact our Education Departments to explore solutions to issues that arise during placement whether they be large or small. Our goal is to find mutually acceptable solutions and strategies and to ensure that the student experience is the best it can be.

If an issue cannot be resolved successfully at the unit/department/profession level, the appropriate department within the Education Portfolio should be alerted. This is required in instances where placement termination is being considered.

Depending upon the nature of the issue, the Profession or Department Student Leads/Coordinators, Advanced Practice Nurses/Clinical Educators, Unit/Area Manager, Director of Interprofessional Education, Academy Director, Vice President of Education or other Sunnybrook leaders may be involved.

With a shared accountability exists between Sunnybrook and the relevant academic institution there may be times where representatives of the academic institution are involved.

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