Students from Drayton Valley, Breton, and the surrounding area had the opportunity to visit the Drayton Valley Hospital to learn a bit about what’s involved in the world of medicine.

The program was organized by the Pembina Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee, and coordinated through the Alberta Rural health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP), and allowed 27 students to have some hands-on educational experience at the hospital.

Alicia Fox, the rural community consultant for the West Central Zone, says RhPAP is looking to keep healthcare close to home.

“So, what that means is we look for opportunities to attract, retain, and integrate health care providers in rural communities,” says Fox.

She says the PPRRC have been doing a lot of work in the community doing as much as they can to attract physicians to the area. Fox says this includes celebrations, appreciation, and integration events for the physicians.

The event falls under the Rural High School program for RhPAP, says Fox. The students were allowed to visit different skill stations where they were able to learn some common techniques that are used in hospitals.

“High school events are just one piece of that puzzle to attract healthcare providers to communities,” she says. “It’s a grow your own initiative.”

Fox says this is one of several different programs RhPAP offers to communities to help rural communities retain graduates who intend to pursue a career in healthcare.

All of the skills sessions were taught by local healthcare providers, she says. 

“They were all there to just talk about their experience, why they love rural, and why they think the students should consider being rural healthcare providers,” says Fox.

Brandy Horn, an educational assistant at Frank Maddock High School, says the students really enjoyed the experience.

“In the beginning they seemed kind of nervous, but by the end of the day they had enjoyed it,” says Horn.

She says students were able to connect with x-ray technicians, doctors, iv technicians, and emergency medical service providers, as well tour the hospital. 

“They got to learn how long it took people to get where they were, what they needed, and it gave them an overview of it,” says Horn.

Horn says there were students from Frank Maddock High School, Holy Trinity Academy, Outreach, Breton High School, and Buck Mountain High School. All of the students were from grade 11 or 12 and volunteered to participate, says Horn.

Fox says RhPAP received some great feedback from the students at the end of the day. 

“They seemed to have a really great time,” she says.

By Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 14, 2024 at 09:36

This item reprinted with permission from   Free Press   Drayton Valley, Alberta

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