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About the Medical Careers Exploration Program

The Medical Careers Exploration Program was developed by the Winnipeg Health Region and the Winnipeg School Division. Students in the program attend Children of the Earth High School and visit the Pan Am Clinic and Health Sciences Centre. Other partners include University of Manitoba's Access Program.

Students in the program receive $1,000 toward postsecondary education from Bright Futures, for each year of high school they complete.

As part of the program, students in Grade 9 embark on a four-year journey designed to increase their core academic competencies and comfort in health-care fields.

The program begins with a "discovery" stage in Grade 9, with three full-day orientations at the Pan Am Clinic. This year, 40 students from Hugh John McDonald, General Wolfe, Sir Isaac Newton and Children of the Earth took part in the discovery stage.

On their first day, they toured the Pan Am facility, and watched a live operation via closed-circuit TV, communicating directly with the surgeon, and asking questions about the procedure they were viewing.

Their second visit involved attending all areas of the clinic for hands-on activities such as being in an MRI, casting classmates' arms and reading X-rays. Every student went home with a cast on their arm, something that caused a little consternation before the joke was cleared up.

Their third visit involved mock micro-surgery with arthroscopic surgical equipment, learning about exercise physiology, taking heart rates and blood pressure. They were escorted through the exercises by Grade 10 students already in the program, who helped the younger kids feel at home in the clinic.

After completing the three visits, students can apply to enter the full program. Only 12 students are accepted each year, based on the amount of internship spaces available. Students are assessed on their interest in healthcare fields, academic potential and interviews. Once accepted into the full program, the students transfer to Children of the Earth.

In Grade 10, or "Exploration 1," the students start their internship at Pan Am, mostly serving in the reception areas where they interact with patients.

In Grade 11, or "Exploration 2," they continue their internship at Pan Am, moving into more hands-on roles in the operating rooms and diagnostic imaging labs and research facilities. They also start working at Health Sciences Centre, learning their way around this large and complex medical campus.

In Grade 12, the fourth year of the program, students select one or two specific areas of interest to focus their practicum time on.

Wave: Summer 2011

About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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