District School Board Ontario North East and the medical community of Temiskaming Shores have created an amazing partnership. Timiskaming District Secondary School in New Liskeard can boast being the only high school in Ontario with a simulation lab.
Teacher and paramedic Thomas McLean will be guiding 63 students through the TDSS Health Care program this year. “The Specialist High Skills Major course gives students hands on experience using standard instruments, equipment and materials,” says McLean. “They learn problem solving skills and professional terminology as they interact with each other in a variety of medical scenarios.”
The lab used for the course includes: a nursing station, clinic room, trauma bay, and three acute care beds which can also be turned into an obstetric suite. TDSS Principal Cathy Beauchamp admits it’s as close to the real thing as one can get, and offers many unique training possibilities. “The simulation lab is an opportunity for our students and community partners to collaborate. From the student perspective, they get the opportunity to have authentic real-world learning experiences. Meantime, our local health care professionals get a chance to practice medical scenarios that they don’t come across every day.”
The lab is in part thanks to its main partner, the South Temiskaming Local Education Group (LEG). The LEG is an organization of local physicians whose mandate is to provide educational clinical experiences for Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) students, and to provide faculty development and continuing medical education for local doctors. These organizations exist in communities across Northern Ontario and help ensure that Northern doctors stay clinically up to date, and provide high quality training to medical recruits.
LEG’s are funded through NOSM and NOAMA (Northern Ontario Academic Medicine Association) based on the number of clinical training weeks per year. Their contributions to the lab allow them to experience realistic simulations. They also get the chance to mentor the high school students and show them what a career in medicine might look like.
LEG Chair, Dr. Stacy Desilets has been involved in organizing the collaboration with TDSS and is excited for the educational opportunities this will bring for both local physicians and medical learners.
“Medical learners and physicians in NOSM’s main communities of Thunder Bay and Sudbury have access to this type of equipment on a regular basis, but here in rural communities we don’t,” says Desilets. “We would only get the opportunity to practice our advanced skills if we were willing to travel, which leaves our own community underserved during the time away. By creating this simulation lab here, not only do we have what we need to keep up our own skills, but we also have the unique opportunity to mentor local students and hopefully help them consider a career in medicine. The lab is also a great draw for new physicians coming to our community, so this will help recruitment over time.”
“A portion of the money donated by the LEG team was used to purchase one of our newest mannequins,” says McLean. “We’ve also received donations of retired equipment and supplies from other agencies in town like Timiskaming District Emergency Medical Services and Tri-Town Extendicare.”
“We’re actively looking for community partners,” adds McLean. “If any groups or agencies have something they can contribute – whether it be in-kind donations, offers of supplies or equipment, or a helping hand from medical professionals who can impart their wisdom to our students…this lab has been created to benefit both our students and our partners.”
“I think our simulation lab at TDSS can serve as an example to other school boards in the province, as to what can be done,” says Director of Education Lesleigh Dye. “We’ve had two different school boards tour the lab. We are also discussing the possibility of bringing this type of learning to some of our other high schools – like Timmins High and Iroquois Falls Secondary. This is learning that is beneficial to both the student, and our communities.”
“The simulation lab has been an amazing opportunity for our students,” adds Board Chair Doug Shearer. “If you are a high school student interested in a career in the health care field, nowhere else in the province can you get this kind of training. Many of the students in this program end up furthering their studies in health care after graduation. We thank our current community partners for their generosity in their support and participation. We hope that many more will be able to reap the benefits.”
District School Board Ontario North East is holding a public open house of the simulation lab at Timiskaming District Secondary School on Monday, November 20th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Everyone is welcome!
The simulation lab at Timiskaming District Secondary School:
Vew the original media release:
Simulation Lab Open House at TDSS.pdf
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