The school district held its ninth annual Project Health where likeminded students travel to St. John Hospital in Vanderhoof to learn from health care professionals.
Twenty-four students who have been carefully vetted for their interest in health care got to spend their time listening to presentations from dietitians, nurses, occupational therapists and doctors.
The dietician showed students the shocking amount of sugar that is in different drinks and described to them how planning meals for seniors and patients can be difficult with so many factors to take into account.
“The students basically get an all access pass to the hospital and its staff,” said Darren Carpenter, district coordinator. “They have a chance to get exposed to basically everything from top to bottom in this facility from administration to nursing to X-ray technicians in the lab even the folks who runt the cafeteria and the pharmacy.”
Head nurse Heather Floris took the students on a tour of her part of the hospital where they were allowed to handle placentae as well as have a look at a little baby. They also had the students go through the motions of what a pharmacist would do, making blister packs for patients using candy just to illustrate how to give someone pills that they have to take.
The advantages to doing it in a smaller centre are that, every year, there’s always something that pops up that the students might be interested in such as a doctor cleaning a patients abrasions, with everyone’s permission of course.
The students also get to travel to Prince George and interact with the health care professionals working there. The BC Ambulance Service set up a presentation to show the students what they do and they got there.
The students also get to tour the gene school at UNBC which is an actual university lab, the professor there has been with Project Health since day one.
It won’t be a whole lot different from high school labs but because it’s at a university setting the students have a chance to see what they’ll be getting into if they choose this particular route of health care science.
“It’s not a tour, its a full-on, hands-on exposure to everything in the health field,” said Carpenter. “It allows students to see what they’re getting into and what specific areas of health care they might want to focus on.”
This program is provincially unique, no where else in BC are students given opportunities like this.
“We’re pretty proud of it,” said Carpenter. “We vet the students very heavily so they come for the right reasons, in all our projects we expect a higher level of maturity. It doesn’t matter if you’re jumping on a skidder or seeing someone who has some lesions, we expect a certain attitude and this is no different.”