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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Healthcare Travelling Roadshow, run out of the University of British Columbia’s Northern Medical Program in Prince George, is touring Northern B.C. this week. It stopped at North Peace Senior Secondary School to showcase a series of medical professions for students interested in working in healthcare.
A group of students in various healthcare training programs around B.C. form the roadshow.
They gave short presentations to a group of 40 students at NPSS. The high school students then broke into small groups to tour the tables, where the roadshow split into interactive demonstrations of the kind of work that healthcare professionals do to help patients on a daily basis.
This year, the roadshow included students training to be doctors, dental hygienists, midwives, nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and physical therapists.
The healthcare students explained their future careers, why they got involved with them, and what they love about them as they demonstrated and helped NPSS students try the tools and tricks of their future trades.
One student practiced intubation on a dummy, while another nearby put on his sock using a mobility aid.
The roadshow is designed to get rural and northern students interested in healthcare professions that are vital to their communities.
“One goal of the program was to provide high school students with exposure to healthcare careers that they might consider going into,” the Roadshow’s founder, Dr. Sean Maurice, explained.
“We know that rural youth are more likely to be happy and settle in a small town [when] they get healthcare career training.”
Though the roadshow has expanded into a provincial program, with separate roadshows throughout the province, the original aim of the program has not changed.
The roadshow does not only invite high school students to explore careers in healthcare – it also invites current healthcare students to explore lives outside of major urban centres.
Some presenters participating in this year’s roadshow were familiar with the area and with life in small towns – one was from Hudsons’ Hope–but several others were not.
Dr. Maurice said that this introduction to rural communities and small towns where healthcare workers are in very high demand was also a goal of the program.
“We wanted, also, to provide some rural exposure to our healthcare trainees because we know that even if they’re born and raised in Prince George, and they’re comfortable with six months of snow, they’re comfortable with the north, they don’t necessarily know what Fort St. John or Fort Nelson or Kitimat is like– so we need to show them some of those small towns,” he said.
The roadshow seeks to improve the outlook of healthcare in rural communities by getting high school students interested in healthcare professions they may not have had another chance to see.
The program, Dr. Maurice said, “was built in the north, with a special focus on the Northern rural communities,” and it is that focus on showing northern students healthcare professions (and healthcare students in northern communities) that the roadshow has pursued every four to five years since its origin in 2010.
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