Nurses and support staff met with students Thursday at Dr. Kearney Middle School as part of a healthcare trade show being hosted throughout School District 60, giving students the opportunity to get a glimpse into what a medical career can look like.
Kristi Dietz, Northern Health's birthing centre lead, began her nursing career with the health authority in 2005, and said there’s huge opportunities for anyone in Northeast BC wanting a career in healthcare.
“I was really keen to do an event like this because I think that our main issue is staffing in the North. It’s not easy to convince people to come to the North and stay, so I think we really need to focus on recruiting locally and retaining the staff we have,” Dietz said. “This a good way to get the word out.”
Students should bring their passion for science and keep their academic scores up, said Dietz, noting that the Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program at Northern Lights College has been a welcome addition to the community.
“The most important thing for kids at this age, is if they have any kind of interest in medicine, nursing, being a doctor, is to focus on their academics in high school, and make sure that they’re doing their sciences,” she said. “Particularly biology and chemistry, nursing can be a very competitive field, so it's important to keep those grades up.”
Tables were set up in the school’s gymnasium, providing a large array of different healthcare career directions to consider – mental health and addictions, overdose prevention, emergency care, rehabilitation and palliative care, maternity and general nursing.
Dietz works in an eleven-bed unit and said she started her education right after high school to become an operating room nurse before transitioning to the maternity ward.
“I worked on general surgical and medical floors for two years, and then I went to maternity after that – it’s always been my passion and what I really enjoy,” Dietz said. “I feel like I got a good perspective on healthcare in our hospital.”
Born and raised in Fort St. John, Dietz still loves living in the Peace with her husband and family - it's where they always wanted to be.
“There are a lot of opportunities for really great careers in our community, we need local people and we need people that want to stay,” she said.
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.
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Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News