Inspiring Tahltan Youth to Pursue a Medical Services Career

Anthony Morrison, Commercial Director, and Claire Smith, Aboriginal Partnerships Manager, of UnitedHealthcare Global Medical (UHGM), gave Dease Lake youth a glimpse into the fascinating career of medical services during a recent visit to the region. Wanting to expose Tahltan youth to different career paths and possibly spark interest in medical services, TNDC invited Anthony and Claire to speak with the high school students, sharing insight into the field and their personal career paths.

UHGM is an international remote care medical service provider and was a long-time TNDC business partner. Anthony and Claire were in Tahltan Territory to strengthen their relationship with TNDC, learn more about the Tahltan Nation and people, and explore ways to further support economic and community development in the region.

Anthony and Claire presented to 25 grade 9 to 12 students about career paths in pre-hospital medicine and paramedics. Anthony’s 25+ year healthcare career started as an Advanced Life Support Paramedic and has taken him to such remote locations as South Africa, Mali and Zambia, while Claire’s background includes youth development and training across the Canadian Arctic and South Polynesian islands.

They explained the different qualifications and career path options, such as Basic Life Support versus Advanced Life Support or Critical Care, air medical and military medical careers, dive medicine and marine opportunities. Discussing the appeal of a paramedic career, Anthony and Claire explained the roles and responsibilities of ambulance service and remote site paramedics, as well as the career learnings and skills transferrable to life – ability to analyse options, make solid decisions and problem solve. They underscored the work experience and knowledge gained in the field, as well as the need to maintain life-long learning.

Sharing personal career learnings, Anthony and Claire emphasized that following a career path is not always a direct line; it often requires trying different things to learn what you enjoy. They suggested young people should feel empowered to follow their dreams, change their minds, try things out and use the many supports out there to help them. They explained medical careers involved multiple short-term education programs enabling individuals to choose their own pathways at every step of the way.

For Anthony and Claire, the opportunity to inspire the next generation by sharing their knowledge and experience was rewarding and inspiring. They found the students’ engagement very encouraging, with good questions asked and positive discussion generated. Several questions revolved around salaries and earning potential as well as the types of work paramedics do, while a few expressed interest in learning more about the courses required.

Claire says the enthusiasm and tenacity of these young people is impressive. “It was interesting to learn how resourceful, creative and dedicated they were at finding great career opportunities to build futures in Tahltan territory. It’s positive to see such a focus on financial security and job enjoyment for the future.”

Anthony believes it’s important to the foster career development of young people. “Every occasion you have to help guide youth towards achieving their full potential must be seized, and this opportunity to interact with so many interesting students was inspiring. I sincerely wish them all the best and hope they too seize the opportunity to be the next generation of leaders, in whichever career path they choose.”

TNDC appreciates the time Anthony and Claire took during their visit to speak with the students. “It was a valuable experience for Tahltan youth, opening their world of possibilities. We encourage all our business partners to consider presenting to the students. It’s an excellent opportunity to help encourage career development and give back to the Tahltan community,” says TNDC CEO Peter Arendt.

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