The goal of an RhPAP Let’s Go Rural high school event is to introduce students to career opportunities in rural health care that they aren’t aware of.
Student interest in a high school event in November in Brooks was overwhelming.
47 spots were available for students from six area high schools.
Twice that number of spots could have easily been filled.
Organizers know these events play a big part in helping to grow your own rural health professionals.
“The more that we can encourage the students to get involved, the more we can funnel them into the post-secondary school,” said Lisa Tiffin, Community Development Manager, City of Brooks.
“And then hopefully they’ll come back to practise in our community.”
Tiffin worked in partnership with RhPAP Rural Community Consultant, Alicia Fox, to organize the Let’s Go Rural Event, which was held at Medicine Hat College – Brooks Campus.
“It was engaging and interesting and I got to ask a lot of questions about various programs.” – Nyankiir Manyok, Grade 12 student
The Grade 10 to 12 students rotated through six different skill stations: suturing, IV starts and immunization, wound management, high fidelity simulation, spinal motion restriction and supportive mental health conversations.
Scott Bell, a third-year med student from the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, hosted the popular suturing skill station.
“I think they’re doing great,” exclaimed Bell. “I think if I was properly anesthetized, I would let them close up some wounds on me.”
Zecht Sarenes, a Grade 12 student at St. Joseph Collegiate in Brooks, found it to be an eye-opening experience.
“It was really nice because you get a hands-on experience.”
In a session called supportive mental health conversations, Melanie Reed-Zukowski, a licenced psychologist, shared ways to control anxiety.
“My favourite part of it definitely was psychology,” said Nyankiir Manyok, Grade 12, St. Joseph Collegiate, Brooks.
“It really resonates with me, and I really enjoyed it. It was engaging and interesting and I got to ask a lot of questions about various programs.”
At lunch, Brooks family physician Dr. Mari-Lynn Thomson, shared why she thinks being a rural physician is an amazing career, and how the variety keeps it exciting.
Dr. Thomson told the students: “On any given day, we would manage a heart attack, we manage a stroke, we manage broken bones, we deliver babies, we do C-sections here…”
People are limited by the extent of the dreams they see before them. – Scott Bell, suturing station instructor
Student reactions to the day-long event were glowingly positive.
“My interest in health care has gotten way stronger in one day,” said Cindy Li, Grade 12, Brooks Composite High School.
“There were so many health care professions that I didn’t know about,” realized Ahd Ayman. “Maybe [another health profession] suits me more than the one I previously wanted to do.”
“It’s just solidified more the fact that I do want to go into health care,” concluded Lauren Denoudsten, Grade 12, St. Joseph Collegiate, Brooks.
Scott Bell, who was in Brooks for his third-year rural clerkship, thought the event was an amazing opportunity for students to learn about rural health-care opportunities.
“People are limited by the extent of the dreams they see before them. So, if there’s not exposure to health care, I don’t think most people would ever consider it. How can you consider something that’s outside their experience. So, I think it makes a big difference. I wish I had this experience when I was younger.”
For more information on RhPAP Lets Go Rural! High School events, please go to rhpap.ca/letsgorural.