On the first weekend of April 2022, the parking lot outside the Tumbler Ridge Health Centre was full. A teaching faculty of six experienced rural colleagues from across BC had come to Tumbler Ridge to review multiple emergency scenarios for ten intense hours on both the Saturday and Sunday with 24 enthusiastic participants from the Peace Region.
The CARE Course
This was the CARE Course, a team-based learning experience that was delivered to eight doctors, eight nurses, and eight emergency responders (from BC Ambulance and the Tumbler Ridge Fire Department) – everything from trauma care and cardiac arrest, to obstetric emergencies and the care of the newborn. The course was handcrafted specifically for rural health care providers. Its goal is simple: to improve the experience of rural emergency care in Canada. The CARE Course delivers by enhancing confidence and competence in a positive, supportive, practical learning environment. Over the two days, the 24 participants rotated through 32 hands-on learning stations.
Bringing the course to Tumbler Ridge was a team effort. Andrea Amadi, Tumbler Ridge Health Centre Clinical Lead, and Lisa Johnson, Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd Primary Care Office Coordinator, both put in countless hours of organization. Their dedication and work resulted in a glitch-free event. The Tumbler Ridge Community Centre, recognizing how important the course was for health care providers and services in the region, provided tables, chairs and a projector at no cost, and also delivered these items to the Health Centre. Bryce Kirby and her team at 242-Brew (Western Steakhouse) provided outstanding catering throughout the weekend, keeping participants well nourished.
The results were remarkable. Participant evaluations included:
- "Best course ever!! so much fun, loads of passion"
- "Absolutely great for team-building"
- "Loved the exuberance and compassion for rural and remote care"
Dustin Curry, Tumbler Ridge Fire Chief, provided a thoughtful and astute comment:
“The CARE Course has been an eye-opening experience to be a part of, to say the least. The course was high energy and super involved from the very beginning, and as an adult learner, I loved that! I consider myself very fortunate to have participated in such a relevant course alongside colleagues from around the Peace Region. Doctors, nurses, paramedics and first responders all play such a vital role when taking into consideration the limited resources that we may have at any given time. I think the most valuable take-away for me is the improved teamwork and communications skills that we will use in those high-stress, fast-paced situations where it counts the most.”
The teaching faculty somehow found time on the Saturday evening for a whirlwind tour to the site of some dinosaur tracks just before it got dark, courtesy of the Tumbler Ridge Museum. Dr. Jel Coward, one of the two co-directors of the CARE Course, had nothing but good things to say about the participants and the community:
"Small places are so special! It feels such an honour to have brought the CARE Course to Tumbler Ridge. Our team loved working with the providers at the Health Centre in Tumbler Ridge…what a diverse, positive, dedicated group of people – we learned a lot together, and enjoyed seeing the community strengthen its relationships, knowledge, and skills together."
Shar McCrory, the liaison for Rural Continuing Medical Education (RCME) in Northern BC was delighted that the CARE Course came to Tumbler Ridge. She noted that RCME funding for the course had made it possible to host this remarkable weekend for local providers, in their own community, using their own equipment. In addition to this, much-appreciated funding was provided by the Rural Education Action Plan (Closer to Home CME) of Doctors of BC. After two-plus years of a pandemic, with so many health care providers feeling exhausted, she said the energy and vigour at the end of the CARE Course were palpable and wonderful to see.
“Best course ever” – it doesn’t get much better than that! Thank you to the CARE Course faculty, the organizing team, and all who contributed to make this transformative event possible for Tumbler Ridge and the South Peace!