Department positive vibe leaves lasting impression

Welcoming environment translates to career with the department

Tamara Vineberg - 29 March 2019

When Eileen Estrabillo trained as a pediatric resident at the University of Alberta, she discovered a very positive learning environment. Now, as a clinical lecturer in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics, she strives to maintain this standard.

"I love what I do and I think the passion translates through to learners, to colleagues, and it helps facilitate that positive learning environment," says Estrabillo, who received the Annual Best Teacher Award in Community Pediatrics for Undergraduate Medical Education in 2018.

She knew early on in medical school at the University of Toronto that pediatrics was the right fit for her. She was introduced to the U of A through the CaRMS tour and was impressed at how happy everyone was. "When I was going through medical school, I saved my pediatric rotation for last just to see if anything else along the way would pique my interest," she says. "When I got to pediatrics, that rotation had this coming home feeling. It felt comfortable. Here in Edmonton, everyone who works in pediatrics, from the physicians to the nurses and all the allied health team, seems to love what they do and are welcoming of learners. I thought this was a great environment. I love working with kids too. That was icing on the cake."

Estrabillo keeps the mindset that she is still a student. "Teaching and learning are not one-way streets. There are a lot of learning exchanges," she says. "It's not just one-way towards the learner."

Working as a general pediatrician in the Stollery Children's Hospital ambulatory clinic, she strives to challenge the learners who rotate through. "We set the bar high but create a safe environment for learners to ask questions, make mistakes, and we provide constructive feedback. I think that approach makes it more positive and relatable for them," says Estrabillo.