For 50 high school students in Sundre, 8 May 2017 could be a day to remember. For some, this day of sharing and learning alongside local nurses and health care professions could prove to be the start of a career in health care.
“This a great time to be introducing students to the medical field,” says Gerald Ingeveld, Chair of the Sundre Health Professionals Attraction and Retention Committee (SHPARC). “This is time when young people really start to think about the future and what pathways they should be taking.”
The RPAP-sponsored skills event was part of the Sundre’s National Nursing Week (May 8-14) celebrations, and was meant to showcase the skills of local nurses and health care professionals, while making a positive impression on prospective student nurses. During the event local nurses talked about their experiences, and instructed students in essential skills, including suturing, starting a needle, and intubation.
“Our nurses are an asset to Sundre and area, and this event provides an opportunity to showcase their skills, and to thank them for their outstanding service to the community,” says Ingeveld. ”As Sundre wants to grow its own nursing staff in the future, we want these students to know that throughout their nurse training and after graduation, they will be welcomed back here for practicums, and to pursue a career.”
“It’s been a real success,” says Gerry Greschner, a fellow member of SHPARC. “[We weren’t] sure how much support that we’d get but they jumped on board and [the students are] really liking this exposure to the medical field.”
Whether or not the event motivates students to become future health care professionals, they all had an opportunity to get a clearer perspective of what it takes to pursue a career in nursing.
“I’ve enjoyed getting the hands-on experience and hearing different stories from the individuals who have went through the many years of schooling. It’s just a great way to learn about rural medicine,” says Hayden, a student participant from Sundre High School. “I’ve learnt that in health care you’re always constantly training, your learning is never done.”
“Any time that you can have a hands-on class that you can participate in something that you might do in the future or that you definitely don’t want to do I think that’s great,” says Joanne Overguard, a SHPARC member and nurse at the Sundre Hospital. “You can read about it on the Internet [and] you can get all kinds of information, but actually participating in and talking to the people who are actually doing it and listening to their real stories, I think that makes a significant difference.”
RPAP Skills events provide rural Alberta communities with a valuable opportunity to make a positive impression on future healthcare professionals through showcasing local amenities and attractions. Skills events, including Skills Days and Skills Weekends, are sponsored by the Alberta Rural Physician Action Plan, and are scheduled in rural Alberta communities throughout the year by the RPAP Health Professions Students' Initiatives Coordinator.
Visit www.rpap.ab.ca/skillsweekends to learn more about RPAP Skills events.