Nursing Students off to Practicum in Ghana
Released: Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Two students in the collaborative Nursing degree program at Grande Prairie Regional College are preparing for an adventurous new year in 2014 – they are among the ten students in University of Alberta Nursing programs who have been selected to serve their practicum placements in Ghana, Africa.
Kendra Lamb and Danielle Perreault are both fourth year students in the collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, offered at GPRC through the UofA. Applicants for the coveted placements included students from throughout the UofA Faculty of Nursing, and were assessed on the basis of grade point average, an application, a letter expressing personal goals and aspirations, and a personal interview.
The two GPRC students are delighted to have all been accepted for this opportunity, and are eager to learn about nursing and medical care in a setting without all of the facilities and supplies we take for granted here in Canada.
“We are so lucky in our health system here,” says Kendra Lamb, who grew up in Ft. St. John and then completed high school at St. Joe’s in Grande Prairie prior to enrolling at GPRC. “I feel so grateful for the healthcare services members of my own family have been able to access in recent years. I am really looking forward to this experience. I think it will help to make me a better nurse and a better person.”
Danielle Perreault, who grew up in Wembley and also graduated from St. Joe’s, agrees. “I am the first person in my family to go to university, and I enrolled in the Nursing program straight out of high school. As soon as I heard about this opportunity, I wanted to be part of it – to go somewhere that would make me fully appreciate the healthcare options we have here at home.”
Both Perreault and Lamb have already gained a great deal of experience working as “Undergraduate Nurses” in summer or casual positions in emergency, surgery, and labour/delivery. “I have strong clinical capabilities,” says Perreault, “and I know I will be able to provide safe, ethical and efficient nursing care.” “I have excelled both in class and in clinical placements,” says Lamb. “I strive every day to better myself with knowledge and skills. I am highly motivated to learn, and committed to using my skills and knowledge for the benefit of others.”
The students will join their cohort at the UofA Edmonton campus for four weeks in January to prepare for their February departure for Ghana. Once in Africa, they will work for five weeks in a military hospital, and five weeks in a community hospital.
“We are going there to work within their system, to learn how they practice health care,” say Lamb and Perreault. “We are not going there to show them how we do things here in Canada.”
“Our Nursing department is very proud to be sending these highly skilled nurses to study in Ghana through this program,” says Wendy McMillan, Chair of Nursing Education at GPRC. “Their achievement is a strong testament to the strength of our program; we have offered the Bachelor of Science in Nursing in collaboration with the UofA since 1995, graduating our first class in 1999.”
“Grande Prairie Regional College is justifiably proud of our Nursing Education program,” says Susan Bansgrove, Vice President Academics and Research. “Our students consistently achieve recognition such as these placements, for which they compete with all of the other University of Alberta nursing students. We have worked very hard to establish strong collaborative agreements with Alberta’s Universities, and the results have meant great education and learning opportunities for students of our region, right here in Grande Prairie. We could not be more proud and pleased.”