The following is an article by Zak McLachland that first appeared in the April 27, 2018 edition of the Wainwright Star EDGE.
Students get hands-on experience at Grow Your Own Health Skills event
High school students from both the Wainwright High School and Blessed Sacrament School got a closer look at the health care profession at the Wainwright Health Centre during the Grow Your Own Health Skills event on Friday, April 20.
A total of 45 students from Wainwright took part in the event, moving from station to station throughout the day to learn about a number of different aspects of the health care profession. The many stations touched on topics such as administering needles and IVs, using the lift assist systems, maintaining proper hygiene and using protective equipment, using catheters as well as the ins and outs of obtaining the education necessary to start a career in health care.
The event was facilitated by a partnership between Wainwright Economic Development, Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Alberta’s Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP). RhPAP is an organization which works on attracting and retaining health care professionals in rural Alberta through grant funding from AHS.
RhPAP Director, Dalton Wenstob, said the Grow Your Own events are held all throughout the province, and they are a great way to get students excited about the possibilities the health care field provides in rural Alberta.
“This gets the kids in the community, whether they’re at school here or outside of town, a chance to see what careers in health are available to them in a rural setting and in their own community which they may not be aware of. They also learn what you have to do educationally to become that, and what the remuneration is and all that. So it’s a real eye-opener for a lot of them,” Wenstob said.
Most of the students attending the event on Friday have hopes of finding a career in health care down the road, so this event was an exciting opportunity for them.
“(Heath care) is something I am really interested in. I jumped at the opportunity real quick, and I’m very happy that I did… It’s really worthwhile if you’re interested in this field,” said WHS Grade 9 student Kristen Shaw.
Shaw said she was excited to learn about many aspects of the profession and that it was a great experience for her at the Wainwright Health Centre.
“We’ve been doing different stations that give you a view into the nursing profession. First station we did was hygiene and keeping your hands clean, and we learned how to put on personal protection equipment. And we went to another one with catheters, and that was a little more about how to go about invasive procedures with patients,” she said.
“One I really liked was the one with IVs and needles, and I thought that was really interesting and I was really excited for that. We also learned about the military and how you can start out in a nursing program and join the military and have a full-time job as you’re going through school.”
On top of giving students an inside look at the profession, the event also aims to show students that they can have a successful career in health care without having to leave their community.
RhPAP Development Consultant for Central Zone East, Colleen Lindholm, said these events are a great way to show students the ins and outs of health care in their community, and it also gives them real hands-on experience which is key to getting students excited about working in health care.
“That’s what we really try to do with the skills days across the province. Kids have the opportunity to sit and listen every day at school, but this is an opportunity to do something hands-on. If nothing else, we don’t want to bombard them with information, but instead just get them excited and exposed to the different aspects of the health field,” Lindholm said.
“Even myself, when I was watching the lift station, you wouldn’t think about that when you’re thinking of becoming a nurse one day. But that’s an important part of nursing… These folks did such a great job organizing this. We haven’t had any hiccups or anything. It’s gone so well, and we’re seeing a lot of smiles and seeing kids engaged, so it’s been great.”
RhPAP will also be hosting a similar event in Edgerton next week on Thursday, May 3.
Republished with the permission from the Wainwright Star EDGE