A wagon ride, a French music concert, and a visit to a UFO landing pad: What a time was had by 23 bilingual nursing and health-care aid students from the University of Alberta and Faculté Saint-Jean.
On October 21-23, 2022, the towns of St. Paul and Elk Point hosted an RhPAP Lets Go Rural! Skills Event.
For many, it was their first experience with rural practice and lifestyle.
“I’ve never experienced any sort of smaller town,” said Sara Mack Peterson, 3rd year nursing student, Faculté Saint-Jean and UAlberta Faculty of Nursing. “And I don’t really know what they have to offer, so I feel like this was a really good experience to showcase what the smaller communities have to offer.”
Students rotated between four hands-on skill stations: suturing, casting, intraosseous injections, and spinal motion restriction/EMS. The students learned from and interacted with local health-care professionals.
“The skills have been really fun, getting to do some hands-on experiences,” said Catherine Gagnon, a 4th year nursing student currently doing a placement in Bonnyville. “[I enjoyed] trying things that maybe we haven’t had a chance to do in clinical practice or even in labs.”
“I really enjoyed all the skills events,” added Kenny Adebogun, 4th year nursing student. “It’s been really cool to see what it’s like to work rural, and the different tasks and skills that you could be doing while working rural.”
The students also toured the hospitals in St. Paul and Elk Point.
Brenda-Anne Hairekillam, Integrated Site Manager, Elk Point Healthcare Centre said that the students were able to see how wide the scope of practice is in rural areas.
“They can see that not only are they going to be in acute care, they can see ER, they can see community health, they can see long term care, and it just helps them make the decision of where in their career they would like to go and grow.”
The weekend event planted a seed in many of the students to think rural in their future careers.
“I came here because I thought it would be a fun weekend, not really for the rural aspect of it because I thought that there was no way [I would practice rurally],” said Rene Rebe, 3rd year nursing student. “But, after this weekend, I really feel like there’s a good chance that I could do [go rural]. They really treated us well and all the people here are so great.”
“It made me think more about possibly doing my 4th year preceptorship here,” added Trinity Klapstein, 3rd year nursing student.
“Definitely has inspired me to continue doing rural and possibly coming [to St. Paul],” said Adebogun, who did a practicum in Camrose last summer.”
For information on hosting an RhPAP Lets Go Rural! skills event in your community, click on this link.