Program gives local middle school students intro to medicine with stops at Augustana
Eleven eager Camrose middle school students are living a dream that will resonate with many undergrads—being professionals in a health related field. These students are already getting first hand experience carrying out CT Scans, X-Ray’s, and stitches.
This exploration became a possibility two years back when Dr. Christopher Nichol started ‘Young Medical Minds’ in collaboration with Covenant Health, University of Alberta Augustana Campus and Alberta Health Services in September 2015. Young Medical Minds is a five-week program wherein once a week students are introduced to a specific aspect of medicine.
The idea is that such practical experiences create excitement and curiosity among kids and then they are likely to study science in-depth and explore careers in health related fields. One student in the program remarked, “I honestly want to become a vet so I can put what I learnt here to work.”
“We needed to get kids excited about health related opportunities. We also wanted to give a learning platform to kids whose family members are not in the medical profession so that they become more aware about this field,” said Dr. Nichol. Adding that, “keeping all this in mind, the curriculum of Young Medical Minds was developed.”
The 2017 program began by showing students an emergency scenario where a child is hurt and taken to an ambulance. In the same session, they were taught emergency first-aid with a great emphasis on teamwork.
In the second week, they learned about stitches, plaster and monitoring patients with assistance from University of Alberta nursing students. The third week’s session took place at St. Mary’s Hospital beginning with students being taken to the emergency room. This was followed by a lesson on how to perform ultrasounds, CT scans and x-rays.
When asked about their favourite session so far, most of the hands went up for the third session.
The fourth session focused on rehabilitation and physiotherapy and students learnt about healing the patient. It was conducted at St. Mary’s hospital and carried out by various nurses who focused on aspects such as dealing with patients after injury depression, physiotherapy and healing.
The sessions astonished the nurses and volunteers as the middle school students having already researched the equipment they were going to learn about and had tons of questions. It ended with an interactive quiz on which students performed very well. A volunteer and Augustana student, Thomas remarked, “I really enjoyed talking with these eighth grade students and seeing how quickly they learn and pick things up.”
The final session will take place on campus at Augustana. Students will be shown around campus with special focus on physiology, technology, nursing and chemistry demonstrations. This session will end with a ceremony in the Roger Epp Conference Room to celebrate the success of the students. Dean Allen Berger will be presiding over the ceremony.
The Young Medical Minds program is one of the ways Augustana is able to give back to the Camrose community. Local area students can enroll in the program each year and there are opportunities for Augustana students and local medical professionals to volunteer.