Covenant Health
This week's reflection

This week's reflection

I believe the second half of one's life is meant to be better than the first half. The first half is finding out how you do it. And the second half is enjoying it.

Frances Lear

Inspiring young medical minds

September 29, 2015

Young Medical Minds 022

A dozen grade eight students slip into lab coats as they arrive at St. Mary’s Hospital in Camrose. They were handpicked to take part in five sessions of hands-on learning hoping to inspire them to become medical professionals.

Camrose physician, Dr. Christopher Nichol, came up with the idea for the program in part because of his personal experience. He was inspired to become a physician at a young age after taking part in a similar style science program.

 “I still remember some of experiments, the science was really captivating” says Dr. Nichol. “The key concept for this program is to have fun and introduce them to a wide range of health care careers and with any luck they will stay here in Camrose.”   

Young Medical Minds 037

Dr. Christopher Nichol speaks to the students about the leading stroke rehabilitation work being done at St. Mary’s Hospital.

The students are following  “Stan”, a high tech dummy from the point of injury; a skateboarding accident where “Stan” suffered a head injury, broken wrist and internal injuries, all the way through his treatment from the EMS response to rehab, where we caught up with them.

Tannen  Zamrykut has loved every minute so far. “It is something I have never experienced before. It is like five times more amazing than school,” says Tannen.

For 13-year-old Georgia Borus, getting her hands in the action has been the highlight.

“My favorite part was stitching chicken thighs and casting each other. I didn’t realize there was as much to it,” says Georgia.

Young Medical Minds 002 (1)

Occupational Therapist Melissa Sztym has nothing but praise for Georgia Borus as she skillfully splints fellow student Cameron McIntyre. 

During the rehab section, the students were split into groups. In one section, they fit each other with splints, learning that after a cast comes off sometimes a splint is required to continue to stabilize the bone. 

Young Medical Minds 007

One of the goals of the program  is for students such as Kyla Church and Sydney Herzog to have fun learning..  

In another section they learn about spinal cord injury and the importance of wearing a proper helmet.  They learn how to put on a Philadelphia Collar. A patient who is fitted with a collar may have to wear it 24/7 for up to three months. It is a reality check for the students who try basic things like drinking water, balancing or stepping over objects while wearing it..

Young Medical Minds 031

12-year-old Tannen Zamrykut walks through a mini obstacle course under the watchful eyes of Therapist Assistant Kate Taplin and Physiotherapist Dan Gillespie.

Inspiring Young Medical Minds is a pilot program developed in Camrose by Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health and the local medical community and supported by the Augustanna Faculty of the University of Alberta. Plans are to take it across the province because the need for young people to consider health professions is high; Alberta’s population is growing, aging and has more complex health needs.