Students introduced to health sciences
Workshop at Memorial lays out options for possible careers
Over 100 students from 20 schools in the province, including Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts, spent Wednesday, May 17 at Memorial University’s Medical School and the College of the North Atlantic, where they participated in a variety of hands-on workshops that covered everything from learning about bacteria parasites and fungi that cause human disease to looking at the body’s bones and organs and hearing about how they work.
The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame hosted the Discovery Days event.
The Hall of Fame was established in 1994 to honour those who have made great contributions to the field of medicine. Since that time the organization has expanded its mandate by engaging the country’s health professionals in education workshops that encourage youth to pursue careers in the health sciences.
The workshops help students “think outside the box” and open their eyes to numerous health sciences careers, and not just doctors and nurses, said Hall of Fame co-ordinator Janice Mcnorgan.
The Hall of Fame is based in London, Ontario. The organization offers yearly Discovery Days at universities throughout the country.
Memorial University has been a host site every year for the past 12 years.
“Places like this are committed to the program. Students that come to the workshops might not necessarily come to Memorial, but we are exposing them to the options they have available,” Mcnorgan said.
One of the sessions was called “Pharmacy: More than Counting Pills,” which allowed students to try their hand at making lip balm.
Fifteen-year-old Holly Crane from Ascension Collegiate and her schoolmates Kelsey Coombs, 16, and Becky Osborne, 15, stood together listening to the pharmacy instructor before giving it a try.
Holly said they learned a lot more than how to make a product to keep their lips moist.
“Pharmacists can do a lot of things and not just work in a pharmacy,” Holly said.
“They can work in a drug store or can work in a hospital or can teach pharmacy,” Becky added.
Kelsey said the students left the workshop knowing what courses they’d need to take in preparing for pharmacy school.
Holly is now interested in studying pharmacy as a career path.
“I wanted to be a pharmacist before but now I know more about it and I know it’s want I want to do,” she said.
Fourteen-year-old Mitchell Lundrigan was one of five students from Clarenville Middle School who participated in the workshops, along with their teacher Arlene Barnes.
Mitchell said it was neat mixing ingredients to make lip balm.
“We had a base and we added colouring and starch and flavour,” he said, holding up a small plastic bottle of his finished product.
Mitchell said he signed up for the workshops because he wanted to learn more about the sciences.
“It was good because we got to do things. We didn’t just have to sit and listen. And I always thought pharmacists just ordered pills in, but they actually make them,” he said.
While many of her students were busy in other workshops, Arlene Barnes participated in a session that taught the students about the work of a health sciences librarian.
Libraries have changed a great deal since she went to Memorial, she said.
The biggest changes, she noted, are technological advances.
“Students now have the option to sit at home or wherever is convenient and log on (to the MUN website) as a MUN student user and research the periodicals and journals and e-books. It’s a fabulous opportunity for them and much more encouraging than when we were students,” Barnes said.
Seventeen-year-old Brittany O’keefe of Laval High School in Placentia said the morning workshop she attended on human patient simulation was both hands-on and interesting.
“We got to see how a computer patient simulator is used and we got to work on the simulator. We opened up airways and we inserted a chest tube. I thought it would all be just attending classes but it was much more than that. It was a real learning experience,” she said.
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