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Activities & Resources

2010-11 Summits & Workshops (Stage 1)

Exploring the Hidden Curriculum in Nursing: A Preliminary Brainstorming Session (January 22, 2011)


  • To explore the concept and elements of the hidden curriculum in nursing
  • To guide the development of a larger summit on nursing education (held in the Spring of 2011).

The primary focus of the session was to explore and acquire a better understanding of the meaning of the hidden curriculum in nursing education (i.e., the unique characteristics, cultures and issues within nursing that impact on teaching and learning, education of nurses and their experiences in the workplace).

Narrative Teaching in Medical Education: A Workshop on Practical Tradecraft (February 23-25, 2011)


  • To offer what we believe is the first event solely dedicated to professional development for medical educators using narrative methods. Specifically, to allow Ontario colleagues direct engagement with five international leaders in narrative teaching.
  • To facilitate contact between Ontario medical educators and leaders (and future leaders) from other provinces.
  • To lay the groundwork for a network of medical educators concerned with narrative teaching methods specifically and more generally with fostering humanistic medical education and patient-centered care.
  • To hear from medical educators how the broader AMS initiative of which this event was part could best serve them: what do they need to enhance their work?

For this event, Deans of undergraduate medical education at the six Ontario medical schools were invited to designate teams of three to represent their schools. In addition, invitations were sent to specific colleagues across Canada who either represents groups with which AMS has some partnership, or who have established reputations in narrative pedagogy, or who are anticipated to be future leaders in this area. The AMS organizing committee was Art Frank, Bill Shragge, and Beverley Nickoloff, with assistance from Joann Trypuc, who moderated the closing session, and Renee Aird.

Attendance included 19 team members from Ontario medical schools and 20 invited guests. In advance of the conference, each team was asked to provide a brief statement of the teaching in their school that utilized “narrative” methods, with the definition of what that includes left to the teams. These reports were included in the conference binder. The conference agenda was structured into presentations by the five international guest speakers, a session in which each medical school team offered a brief presentation of its program, and a final session in which ideas for future directions were solicited. The five international speakers were: Rita Charon (Columbia University), Hedy Wald (Brown University), John Launer (London Deanery), Catherine Belling (Northwestern University), and Therese Jones (University of Colorado, Denver).

The Hidden Curriculum in Medical Education – An Invitational Summit (March 2-4, 2011)


  • To develop a network/community of scholars concerned with understanding and addressing the hidden curriculum.
  • To begin an ongoing provincial dialogue on the hidden curriculum among health professional education schools and health care institutions to bring the hidden curriculum “into the light”, and to commit to the ongoing development of specific, feasible solutions and strategies.
  • To make concrete plans to move forward in the areas of educational interventions, awareness of the issue (both professional – educational and healthcare institution – and public), research and innovation.
  • To begin assembling resources related to the hidden curriculum including a review of literature, description of innovations and evaluations.

The event involved representatives from the six university medical schools in Ontario and selected guests (40 people participated in total). The Summit Organizing committee consisted of Bill Shragge, Joann Trypuc, Bev Nickoloff, Ayelet Kuper, Tina Martimianakis, Art Frank and Brian Hodges.

Over 2.5 days, four international experts presented talks on the hidden curriculum in medicine as a means of stimulating the discussion and to propel the intensive working sessions that made up the bulk of the conference. Professor Fred Hafferty (Mayo Clinic, USA) presented an overview of the concept and origin of the term “hidden curriculum”. Professor David Hirsh (Harvard University) presented a way in which curricula can be reformed with the hidden curriculum in mind. Professor Chloe Atkins (University of Calgary) addressed the hidden curriculum and its effects on patient experience, and Professor Charlotte Rees (University of Dundee) examined the issue from the perspective of students.

These talks were followed by a series of small group working sessions to address the question: What are priority solutions and strategies in relation to the hidden curriculum with respect to pedagogy (formal and informal), the nature of clinical learning contexts, and evaluation (students and teachers)? The small groups presented some key priority solutions and strategies and discussed ways to move forward.

The Toxic Work Environment: A Round Table Discussion (April 21, 2011)


  • The objective of the session was to begin to acquire a better understanding of the meaning of the “toxic environment” by:
  • Exploring the concept and elements of the “toxic environment” for medical, nursing and other students, and

Advising AMS on priorities for action, tangible initiatives and next steps.

This half-day session focused on a discussion of the “toxic work environment” and its impact on the education of – and clinical care provided by – health professionals. The toxic environment is integral to AMS’ broad goal to be a catalyst for change by working with partners to nurture and sustain learning and practice environments that balance scientific knowledge and high quality person-centred care. Hospital leaders who attended the meeting included:

  • Tom Closson, President & CEO, Ontario Hospital Association
  • Brian Hodges, Vice President Education, University Health Network
  • Tom Stewart, Physician-In-Chief and Chief Clinical Officer, Mount Sinai Hospital
  • AMS representatives were Arthur Frank, Beverley Nickoloff and Joann Trypuc, Consultants for AMS.

Beginning a Dialogue on the Hidden Curriculum in Nursing: An Invitational Summit (May 17, 2011)


  • To begin a dialogue on the hidden curriculum in nursing beginning with the university-based nursing schools and academic health science centres.
  • To develop a network/community of scholars concerned with understanding and addressing the hidden curriculum in nursing.
  • To confirm the need for ongoing dialogue and advise Associated Medical Services (AMS) on priorities for action, tangible solutions and practical next steps.

The Summit followed up on a preliminary brainstorming session hosted by AMS on January 21, 2011. The one-day event included representatives from university schools of nursing in Ontario and selected guests (40 participants in total).