Angela Claire photo Four students job shadowed hospital staff last October.

PHSS students dip their feet in the medical field after job shadowing at hospital

Four students, Wigard, Castillo, Ranger and Clair, followed hospital professionals for three days.

Prospective medical professionals got hands-on experience working in Port Hardy’s hospital. Four Port Hardy Secondary students, Danielle Wigard, Faith Castillo, Hailey Ranger and Kristen Claire, were able to job shadow a number of different medical professionals at Port Hardy Hospital last month. The students had three days, Oct. 4, 11 and 18, to follow closely alongside sonographers, ultrasound technicians, nurses, occupational therapists, and nutritionists.

Angela Clair, Child and Youth Worker at Port Hardy Secondary School, said the opportunity came about from a “partnership between the school district and island health.” She added that “they (the students) did three different career observations at the hospital. It was a really great experience because they’re planning on going into the field of medicine.”

Michele Van der Wielen, the North Island Employment Advisor at Island Health, was “instrumental in helping with this.”

The students, who are hoping to finish a post-secondary degree in the medical field, had to complete a hospital orientation in order to job shadow. The orientation included “confidentiality, appropriate conduct and safety protocols,” Angela noted, and also required the students to “successfully complete eight hours of online island health training in order to considered for the career observation program.” Students also went through a variety of workplace safety training.

“This is the first group at PHSS that has gone through the orientation program,” Angela said.

“Sometimes you have an idea in your head about what it is you want to do and then you actually spend some time doing it,” she added. Students then decide whether they want to go into that particular field of medicine.

Students finished their orientation day on Sept. 27, where several hospital staff talked on their job responsibilities and what education is needed to go into their profession.

During Ranger’s job shadowing, she had learned “how to make a splint for someone’s hand, so they don’t keep making a fist and can hold their hands out as a normal person would.” She plans to go into occupational therapy.

Wigard, a senior at PHSS, shadowed under a number of different professions but was primarily interested in the ultrasound technician job. She wanted to “test the waters about different professions. The physiotherapist was really different from the ultrasound technician and the ultrasound technician was really different from the nurse,” she said.

“It was different samples from different fields,” she mentioned. She does have plans to go into post-secondary following her graduation.

“Going into this I was pretty set on becoming a doctor,” Castillo mentioned, “but I wanted to do this experience to broaden my knowledge. I got to job shadow a (registered nurse).” She was mostly interested in that position, after liking the fact that “nurses are really hands-on.” Since shadowing, she is now set on going into Vancouver Island University’s nursing program.

Kristen mentioned she was really set on shadowing the physiotherapist but has since learned more about what it is like to be a nurse. “When I got to nursing I really liked how I got to interact with the different patients in the ward and emergency,” she said, “so that sort of changed my mind.” She plans on going into nursing as well at the University of Victoria, but still plans to become a physiotherapist later on.

The program was meant for students to “see the wide variety of careers that are available in health care. It gives them that experience, gives them exposure, and decide which sort of field they want to go into,” Angela concluded. “It’s going to be offered next semester as well.”

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