MOOSONEE, ON: Students enrolled in the Laurentian University Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) program at Northern College gained valuable clinical and cultural experience during a week-long clinical placement in Moosonee and Moose Factory.
The placement was part of a new course offering entitled Northern Rural and/or Remote Nursing Experience, which is designed to give students a deeper understanding of the culture of local Aboriginal communities, as well as traditional approaches to health care. Students also learn how to incorporate a patient’s cultural values into their practice.
Johanne Carbonneau, BScN Program Coordinator at Northern College, developed the course after receiving student requests for more clinical opportunities focused on local Aboriginal groups. Carbonneau noted that while other colleges and universities offer rural and remote nursing courses, Northern decided to take a different approach.
“While other schools offer rural and remote placement opportunities, they’re usually in far-off regions like South America or Africa,” says Carbonneau. “There are opportunities to gain the same kind of experience right on our doorstep, where our students can learn more about the people that they’ll be working with regularly throughout their careers. The whole experience will be tremendously beneficial to our students once they enter the workforce.”
A total of ten third-year students attended the placement, which was held from February 13 to February 20. The placement involved community-, hospital-, and public health-based components.
The students also attended a variety of cultural awareness activities throughout the week, including participating in traditional healing ceremonies, storytelling and food preparation. The students also learned about the history of Canada’s residential schools, and the lasting effects that they’ve had on Aboriginal culture.
“I’m seriously considering going back for work once I graduate,” says Katy Albrecht, third-year BScN student. “The entire community, including the staff at the hospital and other health care settings, was incredibly accommodating, and encouraged us all to make the most of the experience. I learned a lot about the local culture and health care system, and it really solidified my interest in pursuing a career in the north after graduating.”
Funding for the placement was provided in part by generous donations from Porcupine Machining Inc. and Anne Neill. Additional private donations and student-led fundraising activities rounded out the total. Ontario Northland and the Cree Village Ecolodge provided the students with discounted rates.
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