When registering for a “Mini Med School” at Surrey Memorial Hospital, Zsalve Salazar said she didn’t know what to expect going into it, but soon realized it was a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.”
Zsalve, a Grade 11 student at Guildford Park Secondary School, said she’s has a co-op course at school, which includes a work-experience aspect.
“I chose to work with students, and so with that, I found a passion into going into pediatric nursing,” she said. “When I heard about this opportunity, I thought it would be the perfect thing to get a point-of-view of what it would actually be like.”
The Mini Med School was put on by the Surrey Hospital Foundation at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine campus at Surrey Memorial Hospital.
It was for students in grades 10 through 12 “to be inspired and motivated to learn about health-care careers and volunteer opportunities from some of Surrey’s top physicians and technicians.”
“It’s really to gives kids my age… a perspective of what a medical school would look like, which is really cool because it’s something that they don’t teach you or learn about in (high) school. It’s such a great experience, really,” Zsalve said.
The students got to learn from physicians and technicians in various fields, such as cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology and emergency medicine.
Dr. Raymond Dong, a cardiologist at SMH and president of the Medical Staff Association, was one of the Mini Med School faculty members for the day.
Asked if this was something he would have been interested in taking part in before starting med school, Dong said he wished he had something like this back then.
“I finished med school in 1981 – a long time ago… Everybody had to find their way on their own and I think this is a more organized way of introducing students going forward,” he said.
Dong said the Mini Med School was partly about building the hospital’s relationship with UBC.
“We’re getting more and more students all the time coming through at intern level, resident level, fellowship level and this is a good way to get even one step ahead of that to get new students.”
But it was also a way for the hospital to build connections in the community, adding the hope was the students would go home afterward and tell their families about what SMH has to offer.
The idea for the Mini Med School started through the hospital foundation and the Youth for Care volunteer group, a non-profit to help fundraise and raise awareness in the community while engaging other youth in Surrey, said Azra Hussain, the COO of Surrey Hospital Foundation.
“Within Surrey, one-in-three residents are under 19 years of age and we think this is a great engagement tool,” Hussain told the Now-Leader. “It’s all about learning what the health care services and the hospital has to offer – something to be proud of, what Surrey Memorial Hospital does for the community, give them a sneak peek of some of the advancements, and the different clinical fields.”
Despite it being the first Mini Med School offered by the hospital foundation, Hussain said there was a waitlist not long after registration opened.
“It filled up pretty quickly within the first three days and we are now over-subscribed by 80 per cent, so we have a huge waitlist of students,” said Hussain, adding that the hope is to come back with a bigger event next year and build on it.
“We hope they walk away today learning a bit more about what the hospital has to offer and just pique their interest.”