My name is Jamie Ghossein. I’m only 21 years old, but I’ve already gained a lot of experience at Montfort: I was a student in the FOCUS co-op program, a volunteer, an assistant and a clerk… and now I’m studying medicine in the Francophone program at the University of Ottawa.
It all started when I was in high school at Franco-Cité. I was a student in healthcare and medical technologies in the FOCUS program. In the FOCUS program, I had the opportunity to take part in a co-op placement for a few months with Lyne Gratton, a personal support worker in the patient care unit on 6C.
That’s when I realized that healthcare was my vocation.
I liked my co-op placement so much that I asked if the volunteer services could make an exception and let me become a volunteer even though I was only 16 at the time.
During my university studies in biomedical sciences, I worked part time as an assistant in nutrition. Then, while I was in my second year of university, I got a job as a floor clerk on 6C—the same team I had worked with during my co-op internship.
After two years working as a volunteer, I was asked to train new volunteers in Emergency. Many students interested in healthcare, like me, do volunteer work so that they can gain experience and be exposed to the milieu as well as to patients and healthcare workers.
The team spirit and the mutual support at Montfort are truly unique. It’s like a family here, and that’s what attracted me the most. Also, I went to school in French, but both my parents are Anglophone. Studying, working and volunteering at Montfort allowed me to continue to use my French and to keep the Franco-Ontarian in me alive.
In each of my roles at the hospital, I realized just how important each player is in ensuring excellent patient care. I hope I’ll be able to do my internships at Montfort when the time comes.
Thanks to the support of Montfort’s knowledge institute,
the Institut du Savoir Montfort (ISM), Montfort welcomes
close to 2000 students each year, young people like Jamie,
from high school, college, CEGEP and university.
Since 2014, Montfort, the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) and the Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS) have been working together to offer a learning environment and a unique internship experience for high school students enrolled in healthcare and medical technology in the FOCUS program.
The FOCUS program is offered to students in grades 11 and 12 at the CECCe
For a full semester, 10 to 12 students complete certification and training in a 220-hour co-op internship at Montfort.
“This program allows students to decide if the healthcare field is for them,” explains Chantale Rousseau, a teacher on special assignment for the FOCUS programs and a designated teacher to the FOCUS healthcare program for nine years. “The vast majority of students continue on in the field.”
The students are paired with healthcare professionals in a hospital department for their co-op internship. In the morning, the students accompany and support professionals on the ground; in the afternoon, they receive training in the classroom at Montfort’s CNFS.
Jamie did his FOCUS internship in medicine with Lyne Gratton, a personal support worker.
Lyne feels that it is important to accompany FOCUS students because it gives them experience, a good work ethic, a chance to work with older people and to see the kind of care and work that goes on at the hospital.
“I hope I encourage them to continue on in healthcare by directing them towards the right career and opening doors for them.”
FOCUS students have a chance to observe and to live enriching experiences that help them understand and apply their knowledge at every level.
“Parents say that their children became more responsible,” explains Chantale. “Many came away from their internships with letters of recommendation, an impressive CV and the desire to pursue a career in healthcare, not to mention an understanding of the importance of the active service offer and the realization that it is possible to work in French in Ontario.”
Rémi Dumais, Volunteer Services Manager, has known Jamie since his early days at Montfort.
“It’s reassuring to have Jamie training volunteers in Emergency because he knows how to make people feel at ease and his training is rigorous. This is so important, especially for students who are new to the healthcare field, because this gives them a chance to improve their skills in dealing with patients. Volunteer work is also a form of recruitment. Their experience here helps to reduce their stress during their future internships and encourages them to come and work at Montfort one day.”
“Learning on the ground… That’s also part of training the next generation of French-speaking healthcare professionals.”
After being accepted into the Francophone program in medicine at the University of Ottawa, Jamie soon applied for observerships in medicine.
Observerships for first- and second-year medical students are coordinated by the ISM. In some cases, this is where a student will choose to specialize in a particular field.
These internships, usually 10 to 20 hours, allow students to accompany a physician and observe them in their practice. Jamie had a chance to do an observership in General Surgery, Emergency and Internal Medicine.
Initiatives like the FOCUS program, student volunteer work and observerships in medicine have allowed Montfort and the ISM to become a Centre of Excellence in education in French, including internship coordination. This is part of Montfort’s Strategy 2021.