NEW GLASGOW – Local students witnessed some things they’ll never forget while job shadowing at the Pictou County Health Authority this summer.
Lindy Quann saw a foot dissected in the lab. Ariana Gammon had the opportunity to watch part of a hip replacement surgery and Hanna Greene was in the room when a woman gave birth.
Those are experiences that the teens say they’ll never forget and have helped solidify what they want to pursue for careers – and in some cases what they don’t want to.
The co-op is a partnership between the Pictou County Health Authority and the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board with the support of the Aberdeen Health Foundation. Through the programs Grade 11 students completed an in-school learning component and then 200 hours of placement with a range of health professions at PCHA. They continued to do an academic component through reflections and assignments. They all were awarded two high school academic credits.
The girls said there were experiences that showed them they could stomach more than they would have thought and either confirmed their interest in one subject or directed them to another. Of the five students who took part and presented about their experience on Monday, all indicated they were still interested in pursuing a job in the health field.
Gammon said watching the surgery was an experience she feels fortunate to have had because she said she’s been told people aren’t allowed to watch that often.
It’s something you see in scenes on a movie and picture it to be a certain way, which it isn’t, she said.
“It was immediate shock but amazement at the same time. I wasn’t in there for very long. At the time I was just amazed at what was happening. They were using these big tools that looked like they’d belong in a shed.”
She said she had been interested in surgery prior to the co-op and after her experience was happy to find out that she could stomach it.
“It was a good reassurance,” she said.
Greene said the birth she got to watch happened quickly.
“It was definitely beautiful in its own way, but not for everyone,” she said.
She enjoyed her time on the maternity floor and rocking the newborn babies.
“They were so sweet. The oldest one was three days old.”
She said right now she’s leaning to a career in optometry.
“I like eyes,” she said. “I think it’s a good, clean profession.”
She said she would recommend the program to anybody.
Don Hill, who works with the students on the school board side of things, expressed gratitude to the health authority.
“This isn’t happening everywhere,” he said.
He said it’s exciting to hear about what the students have learned and how it’s impacting their future.
“Them finding out it’s not for them is as important as finding out it is,” he said.
Nancy MacConnell-Maxner has been helping with the program, which is now in its fourth year. She said she now sees some of the original co-op students who are back doing work to complete their university courses in the health field.
“Clearly in my mind that speaks to the success of the program,” she said.
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