Nursing Week 2018 was particularly special for about 50 high school students who participated in a skills day at the Sundre Hospital and Care Centre on May 7.
The pupils from Sundre and Cremona high schools learned essential nursing and paramedic skills from staff at five stations during the event sponsored by RhPAP, Alberta Health Services (AHS), and the Sundre Healthcare Professionals Attraction and Retention Committee (SHPARC).
Kaleigh Wolfe, a Sundre High School (SHS) Grade 12 student, said the day affirmed her plan to pursue an education in nursing.
“If I hadn’t participated in what happened today, I think I probably wouldn’t be even thinking about nursing,” said Wolfe.
Chantal Crawford, registered nurse and educator, sees the importance of the event in helping students make better informed career-path decisions.
“How do you know what a nurse is or a doctor is or a paramedic is, unless you get the chance to try?” she asked.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive from the newcomers checking out medical-field opportunities.
“We’ve done it for a couple years now and they’ve absolutely loved it,” said Crawford. “I think it’s a wonderful program.”
She said she has been impressed with the student’s abilities in the skills they were taught, including suturing, opening airways, intravenous starts, giving injections and stabilizing patients with backboards.
The students, who volunteered for the program, are driven and self-aware, including Amos Gallup. Gallup, a SHS Grade 10 student who wants to be a paramedic and firefighter, has already sought work experience in his desired medical profession.
“I just like the idea of… helping people, and the places you get to go,” he said, noting he’s aware of, but not deterred by the weight on the shoulders of a first-responder.
Not all want to stay in their hometown, but Gallup does.
“The nice thing about being in a small community is that everyone knows you,” he said. “I just like having that connection with the community, to be known to help.”
Gallup’s classmate Paige Hall is thinking of nursing as a career, and was interested to learn more about how professionals work together in a hospital environment.
“You could see what the EMTs do to help the nurses and what the nurses do to help the doctors,” said Hall.
The day was a big win in the eyes of SHS guidance counselor, Lisa Wilson.
“I think it’s fantastic,” she said. “It’s fun to see them going through and seeing the excitement and doing the hands-on activities. It gets that spark going in their eyes.”
RhPAP-sponsored skills events, including skills days and skills weekends for high school and post-secondary students are scheduled in rural Alberta communities throughout the year by the RhPAP Rural Community Consultant team.