Over 200 high school students attended Lethbridge’s Health Careers Expo on February 10, 2015 in order to find out more about their prospective post-secondary areas of study. Exhibitors at the Health Expo, sponsored by RPAP and Career Transitions, ranged from registered dietitians and speech language pathologists, to physicians and lab technicians.
Dr. Rick Buck, an emergency room physician in Lethbridge, was present to show students interested in pursuing medicine some of the health professionals that work in the community.
“It gives high school students an opportunity to see some of the people who work first line, talk to them, and expose them to what we actually do,” said Dr. Buck. “It’s really important for them to see role models in the community and say this might be something I’m interested in.”
Kimberley MacKinnon, Senior Community Recruitment Consultant with RPAP (in southern Alberta), was excited to see how involved and enthusiastic the expo attendees were.
“We brought in some pigs’ feet and had [students] practice their suturing skills, and you could really see it helped spark some interest. There were a lot of questions and enthusiasm,” she said. “We then followed this up with some counselling about how to get into med school and provided [the students] with contacts and web support.”
One of the highlights of the day was when a student was made up to look like a car crash victim. The scenario—facilitated by Rosemary Burness (Medical Students’ Initiatives Coordinator with RPAP) and Dr. Buck—allowed students to see how all the different aspects of medicine can come together to provide care for one patient.
“[RPAP’s] mandate is getting the right health care professionals into the right communities to serve the [public],” said MacKinnon. “...[W]e want to provide as much support as we can and get our rural kids that are traditionally under-represented into medical school. We want to [supply them with] resources for scholarships and bursaries, we want to make sure they have all the information they need to [succeed and then] come back home and practice rural medicine.”