Nursing Students Complete First Ever Pediatric Practicum in Northern Schools

It’s an exciting time for students in the northern nursing program. Third year nursing students from La Ronge and Ile-a-La Crosse completed their pediatric practicum in four schools, the first ever pediatric clinical rotation to take place in a northern school.

From March 10th until 21st and March 24th till April 4th, students were placed in the Rossignol Elementary School and Rossignol High School in Ile-a-la-Crosse and the Senator Myles Venne School and Bell’s Point Elementary School in La Ronge. The “Caring for Kids Where They Live” practicum, an extension of the very successful Caring For Kids Where They Live program undertaken by nursing faculty at the Saskatoon Campus, provides  nursing students with an opportunity to learn to care for a wide variety of pediatric 'patients' in the school setting. The goal of this new practicum is to give northern nursing students interprofessional pediatric learning experiences in Northern communities using Remote Presence (RP) technology, the same technology they currently use to learn their clinical skills in the classroom.

During their practicum, the nursing students were connected with Saskatoon faculty members from the College of Nursing and College of Dentistry using the RP-Xpress, a smaller version of the "large robot" they use in their skills lab setting. Dr. Jill Bally and Dr. Alyssa Hayes helped facilitate this practicum experience from Saskatoon. Dr. Bally says, "By using this technology, from right here in Saskatoon, we were able to support the students' skill acquisition and watch them develop their knowledge, while conducting assessments and providing health education to the students in the schools in La Ronge and Ile-a-la-Crosse."

By the end of their practicum experience the nursing students conducted assessments and used their pediatric knowledge base to organize numerous activities including health education, physical activities, wellness assessments and health screening, referrals to other healthcare professionals as necessary and oral health screening and treatment. Specifically, they held blood pressure clinics, planned and carried out a gym blast, air band competition, penny carnival, provided education about allergies, oral health care, dog safety, childhood depression and mental health, self-esteem, self-care and puberty and transition.

"The schools have been extremely welcoming, accommodating and helpful during this practicum. They have greatly appreciated the nursing student's expertise and support and have consistently asked for more time together", said Bally. "In Ile-a-la-Crosse, the instructor and the three nursing students were presented with blankets and lanyards as a thank you for their collaboration and health care. As well, school students and teachers wrote letters of gratitude to the nursing students. To say the least, the schools have been amazing to work with and we can't wait to go back again."

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