The Labrador Grenfell Zone of NL Health Services is responsible for a full range of services, including Community Health, Long-Term Care and Acute Care for Northern Newfoundland and all of Labrador. Serving a population of approximately 37,000, Labrador Grenfell Zone operates accredited facilities including three hospitals (in St. Anthony, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and Labrador City), three community health centres, fourteen community clinics/nursing stations and two long-term care homes.

As part of its ongoing support of health-based initiatives in the region, the IGA recently funded LabQuest, which is a one-week summer program for students in Grades 9-12 who are potentially interested in pursuing a career in the health field. The program is open to all students who live in Labrador or on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.

The students who participated in LabQuest 2022 were provided with a number of presentations that offered information about various health care professions. Staff from various disciplines including Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Diagnostic Imagining, Nursing, and more participated in the event with the students. In addition, members of the human resources team offered information about health careers within the region.

Towards the end of the week, students were given the opportunity to job shadow with a health care professional/staff in an area of their interest to gain further hands-on information and experience of a particular health profession. Job shadowing options included laboratory, mental health, dialysis, public health, rehab, respiratory therapy, mental health, operational room, outpatients, in patients, information technology, diagnostic imaging, paramedicine and pharmacy.

Both the presentations and job shadowing opportunities gave students the chance to increase their awareness of a wide range of health professions and careers.

One of the many activities students participated in included researching and presenting on a health-related topic to the other participants and coordinators. While students could choose their own topic, the following list was provided to them as possible options: Ethical issues of animal testing in the cosmetic industry, organ donation, diabetes, and nursing shortage in rural areas.

LabQuest Students had approximately four hours during the week to research and work on their topic. The students presented to an audience which included their peers, the LabQuest Coordinator and other employees. The presentation ranged from 10-15 minutes and according to the LabQuest Coordinator the students did very well with this activity.

LabQuest provides the health authority and the youth of the region a significant opportunity to learn hands on information about health care professions as well as career related options within the geographic region. This program not only generates awareness of health care in our region, but it also stimulates youths’ interest to pursue a career in health care and remain within the region to live and work.

The IGA was very proud to have supported this initiative, as the Labrador Grenfell Zone continues its own recruitment and retention efforts!