By Lesley Allan
A recent event provided Drayton Valley-area students with a glimpse into a potential future career, while educating them about rural medicine.
Drayton Valley Hospital and Care Centre hosted 43 students, from five area high schools, for an interactive introduction to health–care professions, sponsored by the Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP).
“It’s always good to have younger people come in and see what we do,” says Dena Enyedy, the site designate for the hospital. “We would like to retain them in rural and let them know what a great career they could have.”
Seeing people loving their job and doing this kind of stuff shows me that I could love doing it too. – Makayla Lasek, Grade-11 student
The program gave students the opportunity to learn more about a variety of medical careers including EMS, X-ray and lab technicians, in addition to medicine, nursing, and other health professions.
“We wanted to send the message that being involved in the medical field does not mean only pursuing a career as a doctor or a nurse,” says Pat Jeffery, secretary of the Pembina Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee. “There are many other related professions, so [we hoped this event] would open their eyes as to what kinds of things are out there as they start to think very seriously about post-secondary.”
With interactive skills stations, such as suturing, airway management, IVs, and finger splints, the event allowed students to catch a glimpse of what their future careers might look like, and have their eyes opened to new possibilities.
“Physiotherapy – I never thought I would like it, but [the event] kind of changed my mind,” shares Grade–11 Breton High School student Breanna Bogart.
Makayla Lasek, a Grade–11 student from Frank Maddock High School, says she was able to learn what she could become.
“Seeing people loving their job and doing this kind of stuff shows me that I could love doing it too,” Lasek added.
I think the main value of programs like this is it gives kids the opportunity to see what’s actually out there. – Lucas Winter, occupational therapist
Facility tours, speakers, and other health–based activities also helped open students’ eyes to just how much rural hospitals have to offer.
“What a lot of people don’t [recognize] is how busy a hospital this place is,” says Geoff Chateauvert, a Combined Laboratory & X-ray Technologist 1. “But I think a program [like] this gives them a nice variety. They get to see a lot of different areas.”
“We took a tour of the hospital and I didn’t [recognize] actually how big it [is],” says Grade–11 BHS student Garret Miller.
For participants, whether instructing, learning, or organizing, the day was an incredible educational opportunity.
“It shows you exactly what you need to know if you want to go into the medical field,” adds Miller. “It’s a very cool event; that’s for sure.”
“I think the main value of programs like this is it gives kids the opportunity to see what’s actually out there,” says occupational therapist, Lucas Winter.
Pat Jeffery concluded, “I think from a community perspective it’s a very valuable kind of experience for sure.”