December 12, 2019
Natalie Gurr spent her day job-shadowing family friend and Nurse Practitioner Barb Aspinall, left, and learning about careers in healthcare on Take Our Kids to Work Day.
Andy and Michelle Johansen share a moment with their daughter Taylor, centre, at South Health Campus where they both work, during Take Our Kids to Work Day.
Story by Alison Eresman | Photos by Leah Hennel & Alison Eresman
CALGARY — For many young people, being asked ‘what do you want to do when you grow up’ can be intimidating. But not for Natalie Gurr.
“I’ve always wanted to be in medicine,” says the 14-year-old. “I’ve never known specifically what I’ve wanted to do — but I’ve always wanted to be involved in medicine.”
Natalie recently enjoyed the opportunity to learn about potential careers in healthcare on Take Our Kids to Work Day on Nov. 6 — by shadowing Barb Aspinall, a family friend and nurse practitioner at Calgary’s South Health Campus (SHC).
“I hope she gets a real feel for what it’s like inside the hospital,” says Aspinall, “and she can see how dedicated medical professionals are to providing optimized patient-centred care.”
Take Our Kids to Work Day is a national initiative of the Learning Partnership that provides Grade 9 students with a one-day opportunity to observe their parent, guardian or an approved host at work. AHS has supported the program since 2009. This year, 297 students registered to participate across 89 AHS sites.
“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for kids to look into what their future aspirations are,” adds Aspinall. “Kids may have an idea of their own future career aspirations but to experience an inside glimpse of the reality within the hospital is a very special and unique opportunity.”
Another student participant, Taylor Johansen, has also set her sights on a career in healthcare.
“I want to be some sort of doctor in a hospital when I grow up,” she says.
For Johansen, Take Our Kids to Work Day proved a family affair. She spent the morning shadowing her mom Michelle, who provides administrative support for a surgical outpatient clinic and, in the afternoon, her dad Andy, who works as a carpenter on the Facilities Maintenance and Engineering team. Both Johansens work at SHC.
“I wanted to see what my parents’ days are like — and to see what it’s like to work in a hospital,” says Taylor.
“I wanted to show her what I did, and I also wanted to show her a lot of the parts of the hospital,” says her father Andy.
“I showed her the ORs, the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and the mental health unit. Taylor knows she wants to get in to healthcare, but I wanted to show her that she doesn’t have to pick what she wants to do right now. There are so many options. Everyone knows about doctors and nurses, but there are so many other jobs involved.”
The proud dad adds their day together brought a secondary perk: “It was good taking her around and introducing her to everybody. Everybody told her I was a cool dad!”
To learn more about Take Our Kids to Work Day, visit the Learning Partnership.