“Does the baby get scratched on its way out?” Curious kids at Chief Matthews School on Haida Gwaii had a lot of interesting questions for this year’s group of healthcare students presenting with the Healthcare Travelling Roadshow.
Held every spring, the Roadshow is focused on inspiring young minds in northern B.C. communities to consider health care as a future career. Co-ordinated through the Northern Medical Program (NMP), it brings together health-care students from around B.C., including UNBC nursing and the NMP, to showcase their fields at high schools.
“During our visits, local students have a chance to handle different medical equipment,” says Dr. Sean Maurice, NMP senior lab instructor, “and learn everything from how to read an X-ray to how to take blood pressure or intubate.
“At the same time, the roadshow also helps our participating health-care students learn about rural practice and recreation opportunities, as well as getting a better understanding of each other’s professions.”
In 2016, the Roadshow made two, week-long trips. In early May, it made stops in Masset, Queen Charlotte, and Prince Rupert, as well as a special visit to Chief Matthews Elementary (Old Massett). Two weeks later, with a second cohort of healthcare students, the Roadshow travelled to the Southern Interior for the first time, stopping in Merritt, Princeton and Keremeos.
“This year, we had a special opportunity to showcase the Roadshow program in the Thompson and Okanagan regions, and we hope it will sow the seeds for a similar type initiative in the future for the Southern Interior,” explains Sean. “In addition, this extra Roadshow helped provide further training for our medical students coordinating our 2017 trips as part of a self-directed course.”
Ten different disciplines were represented over the two Roadshow trips, including medicine, nursing, midwifery, audiology, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, medical laboratory technology, medical radiography technology, massage therapy, and dental hygiene.
"The Roadshow offers high school students the opportunity for hands-on learning,” notes Simran Lehal, a first-year NMP medical student and 2016 Roadshow participant. "These sessions are important because they provide a space for students to discover and explore healthcare careers. For me, guiding students in using a stethoscope or checking reflexes for the first time was a really rewarding experience."
“The interprofessional collaboration was one of my favourite parts,” adds Carrie Ellert, a second-year UBC midwifery student. “Sharing knowledge and experiences with the other health-care students has been really beneficial. Going on the Roadshow has helped me establish relationships with people whom I may consult with in my future practice and I am thankful for a better understanding of the kind of work they do.”
Funded through the Northern Medical Programs Trust (NMPT) and the Rural Education Action Plan (REAP), the Healthcare Travelling Roadshow has visited numerous Northern communities since its launch in 2010, providing a first-hand look at the world of health care.
“This has been a really incredible experience for our students, getting the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with health-care students about their field,” said Bernadette Marie, principal of George Mercer Dawson Secondary in Masset. “It was so popular that we had kids trying to sneak in for extra sessions at the demonstration tables!”
“Coming from a small school and a small northern area, it would be really difficult to get our kids to experience something like this otherwise. The Roadshow brought this learning and information directly to us. Getting the kids immersed in this type of activity is invaluable and I can’t thank the Roadshow enough.”