From the ambulance to the OR: program gives indigenous students hands-on experience in medicine
Julien Catagas fainted while watching her first surgery from inside the operating room.
But after a short rest, the 16-year-old Children of the Earth High School student was ready for another.
“Surgery is really cool. It’s probably the best part. It’s like Grey’s Anatomy right in front of you,” says Catagas.
Her experience is all part of the medical careers exploration program at Children of the Earth, an indigenous-centred school on Salter Street.
In the cutting-edge program founded by the Pan Am Clinic, selected students — who can start as early as Grade 10 — have the opportunity to observe medical staff on the job.
But it’s more than just following doctors around. The students — there are currently 33 registered for the hands-on portion of the program — are able to see everything that goes on inside the clinic at 75 Poseidon Bay.
“We wanted to make it different than just work-shadowing. We wanted them to become part of the clinic,” says CEO Dr. Wayne Hildahl, who started the program in 2007 with then-Children of the Earth principal Lorne Belmore.
Hildahl says the program is a way to begin addressing a Winnipeg Regional Health Authority need for more health-care workers. He says indigenous people make up a tiny percentage of the WRHA’s health-care staff.