RhPAP and CAREERS: The Next Generation travelled to Fort Chipewyan to host a skills day for high school students.
The people of Fort Chipewyan are friendly, welcoming and know how to have fun. It was a privilege to be there.
The Skills Day was held at the local community hall.Turnout was strong. About 60 high school students from Athabasca Delta Community School arrived for a hands on introduction to many health care professions.
“I wanted to give them an opportunity to find out about physiotherapy as a career, occupational therapy. We work closely together with OTs and I told them also about massage therapy.” says physiotherapist Rosamond Smith.
Randy Sloan, a pharmacist, adds, “One of the skills that I teach diabetic patients is how to do their own insulin injections. So, I was showing the kids today, kind of the process I go through in an abbreviated form. I teach them and have the kids demonstrate back to me to see if they actually learned what I was trying to teach." He added that the students did quite well.”
Other instructors included dietitians, a sonographer (ultra sounds), a registered nurse and an advanced care paramedic.
“The students got to throw some stitches in and they really liked it. You know, hands on, working with a few instruments and such. They felt is it was really interesting. Some of them are really good at it,” says Vincent Dazé, an advanced care paramedic who taught suturing.
Grade 11 student, Brandon Fontaine enjoyed the opportunity. “I just like how everything came along. Great. Everyone had a good time and we got to learn something new in the health unit so I got to say it was a fun time.”
“I am so impressed that these kids have been able to engage in some very engaging activities. That’s what school should be about for kids that they can do hands-on things,” remarks Gail Patrick, Literacy Lead at Athabasca Delta Community School.
The goal of every skills event for high school students is to plant the seed that a future as a rural healthcare professional could be their calling in life.
“If we’re exploring health careers and they are doing things with their hands ,at least they are being exposed to it. And at least they know that there are positions out there that exist. So, it may encourage them to go into a health career, ” says Michelle Voyageur, Councillor for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
Vincent Dazé adds, “For someone who is from here to be able to learn some skills that can benefit the community, come back and help the people out, I think that is such a great gift back to your community you know.”
“Everybody would love for our own people to come back to our own community to practice," says Michelle Voyageur.
Written by Bobby Jones, RhPAP