Students in a number of health-care disciplines visit Smoky River region to take part in skills training weekend

Students participating in the medical skills weekend participate in IV training.

Tom Henihan
Express Staff

The Smoky River Region played host to 24 students studying in a variety of health-care professions who came to the region to participate in Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP) ‘Health Professions Skills Weekend’ event.

The students from University of Alberta Foculté St. Jean in Edmonton, the University of Calgary and one Smoky River resident studying nursing at Grande Prairie Community College were in the region from October 26 to October 28.

The Rural Health Professions Action Plan of University of Alberta – Foculté St. Jean, the Smoky River Regional Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee (SRRPR&R) and Alberta Health Services, sponsored the weekend event.

Along with the medical skills training at McLennan Medical Centre, the bilingual Francophone students also participated in a variety of activities.

The extracurricular activities were designed to introduce the students to the region’s Francophone culture, to take them into the community and the environment, and give the students a comprehensive picture of the advantages and realities of living and working in rural Alberta.

RhPAP Skills Events also give communities in rural Alberta the opportunity to promote their area by showing the amenities and quality of life that their region can offer to future health-care professionals.

Having arrived on Friday evening, the students attended the FCSS organized Ol’ Tyme Family Nite at McLennan’s Elks Hall, where community members of all ages attended the potluck supper and danced to the music of the Ol’ Tyme Family Nite Band.

On Saturday, following breakfast at the Girouxville Hotel, the students arrived at Sacred Heart Health Centre in McLennan at 9am, for a day of skills training offered by local health-care professionals.

On behalf of the SRRPR&R committee, coordinator Myrna Lanctot, welcomed everyone and Holly Handfield, rural community consultant with the Rural Health Professions Action Plan, briefed the group on the days process.

Health Centre Site Administrator, Barbara Mader, gave the students a tour of healthcare facility.

The skills training focused on many of the skills a rural health-care professional would be called on to use on a daily basis.

These skills included IV Starts, suturing, casting, EMS, and a STARS Mobile Education Unit simulation.

To relax after a busy day of skills training, the students participated in group activities including a scavenger hunt in Donnelly, sponsored by Alberta Capital Finance Authority (ACFA)

In conjunction with the SRRPR&R committee and the Economic Development Council of Alberta, a community turkey supper was provided along with a social event in Falher.

The Smoky River Ag Society sponsored a paint night on Saturday and on Sunday, having been treated to breakfast in Girouxville the students went on a tour of Berube grain farm, and Hank and Nicole Strokappe’s sheep farm.

Having had an extremely eventful, fun, edifying experience, the students returned to Edmonton by bus, leaving at approximately 1pm Sunday.

A student has a cast removed during a casting session.


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