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Interprofessional key players

By Melanie Jonas


Michael Finelli

Michael Finelli, Registered Respiratory Therapist and Neonatal Respiratory Care Practitioner, has worked in his field for more than 24 years. 

After attending the University of Toronto, he earned a diploma in respiratory therapy and a post-graduate honours certificate in advanced neonatology from the Michener Institute for Applied Health Science. He has held an advanced practice role in the NICU since 1996 and is a key figure in the development and advancement of the respiratory therapist’s role in the NICU. He is considered a leader in respiratory care practices and an advocate on the interprofessional education of the NICU team.  

In 2009, he received the Excellence in Respiratory Care Award  from the neonatology program  He has spoken at many conferences both nationally and internationally and has lectured on topics related to newborn cardio-respiratory care to staff at SickKids and other hospitals across Canada.




Bonnie Fleming-Carroll

Bonnie Fleming-Carroll, Associate Chief of Nursing & Inter-Professional Education, received her master’s degree in nursing, her nurse practitioner certification as well as her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Toronto. 

Over her 22 year career, Bonnie has held a number of positions at SickKids including critical care nurse, clinical educator and nurse practitioner. In her current position as Associate Chief, she provides operational leadership to promote integration of inter-professional collaborative practice in the delivery of family-centred care through education and learning. As well, she maintains a clinical practice in the provision of comprehensive health care for children with severe asthma. She collaborates with the Chief of SickKids Learning Institute to strengthen the reputation of SickKids’ paediatric education. 

She is an adjunct lecturer at the Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at University of Toronto and the recipient of many awards, including one in 2010 from the U of T Centre for Interprofessional Education for Outstanding Leadership in Advancing Interprofessional Education.

Finelli and Fleming-Carroll are being celebrated for their leadership contribution to the Interprofessional Educator Council.

Tell us about an initiative that you are working on to support learning at SickKids.

 As a member of the respiratory therapy education team at SickKids, I am working on developing online activities to support the interprofessional staff when implementing a practice change.  Time management is an essential part of success at SickKids; staff should be able to access the tools and educational material readily and easily.

BF-C  My efforts are focused on creating an organizational approach to education and learning and translating this strategy into practice. I am very proud of the innovative programming that is generated by the educators in The Centre for Nursing and the discipline-specific educators. They are instrumental in creating a learning culture at SickKids.
One initiative I would like to share involves breaking down education silos between the different disciplines through the creation of the Interprofessional Educator Council. I established the Council about four years ago to bring together those interested in education. The group consists of a diverse group of professionals who are committed to advancing learning. The structure of the group is based on the concept of community of practice whereby a group of people are bound together by shared expertise and passion for a joint interest.  Ideas related to learning and education are generated through open discussions and brainstorming issues that are relevant to professional practice.  The benefits of this collaborative forum include, generating new ideas, quickly solving problems, transferring best practice, fostering mentorship, development among group members and enhancing engagement.

Which education initiative at SickKids inspires you?

 Online learning (i-learn) and simulation training through the learning institute, are both fantastic opportunities to learn in a non traditional manner.  Taking the learners’ needs into account to access education easily and to allow the individuals to practice their knowledge in a safe and respectful team-oriented environment improves the care we deliver.

 It’s inspiring when different professionals come together to bring valuable perspectives to a problem or issue. Collaboratively developing learning opportunities where different professionals learn together positively effects collaboration in practice leading to healthy work environment and greater child and family satisfaction.

What makes working at SickKids special?

MF  SickKids’ commitment to its staff and to developing staff to be the best they can be.  SickKids understands that investing in staff yields great returns in offering excellent care.  Having the opportunity to work with talented individuals from many areas of expertise has been the highlight of my 24-year career at SickKids. The emphasis on an interprofessional team approach to caring for children and their families makes SickKids stand above the rest.  

BF-C  The people at SickKids make working here special. I have never met more dedicated or committed individuals. Working with different disciplines makes me more aware of all the things we have in common and how we complement each other to provide the best care.

How do you think education will change in the future?

 I think education will be easier to access through various methods and  this will benefit the team of professionals delivering care.  The future will continue to re-enforce the importance of interprofessional education which I believe, is an essential part of establishing an effective and collaborative team.

BF-C  I think shared learning will expand beyond programs, and organizations will become more global. Through technology and education, the community of practice can utilize and expand on ideas from across the world.

Who was your all-time favorite educator, and why?

 I would have to say my family; they have taught me the importance of respect, integrity, patience and making a difference.  I have had the fortune of putting these values into action in my work here at SickKids.

 I am constantly learning! I can’t identify one educator as I learn from everyone I encounter at SickKids including the children and families.