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It all started at a conference on Quality Improvement in June, students from the Northern Medical Program were invited to attend following completion of the IHI Open School courses. The courses were offered during the medical programs FLEX block. For those unfamiliar with it, it is an opportunity for students to develop their CANMEDs skills and get involved in extracurricular activities that interest them and assist in furthering their professional development.

As students we were keen to learn more about organizations involved in QI, what QI was in real life, and try to figure out our place. Having different backgrounds and lived experiences, we were brought together by our interest in discovering our own identities within the system we would be inheriting. Through the discussions and interactive workshops, our minds started racing and this spark was created. There was a moment during one of the workshops where the three of us looked at one another and we knew that we wanted to create something that would impact the system.

Our desires for creating this were different. My own stemmed from my attendance of a Rural Health Conference. One specific session at this conference talked about how healthcare professionals are trying to create committees that have members from each silo within them. Silo was a word that was discussed a great deal, and essentially speaks to the lack of multidisciplinary communication. The individuals in attendance were older, established professionals and as I heard their discussion I thought to myself why are the individuals who will soon be leaving the system making the decisions for its future. I wanted a seat at the table, I wanted the students to have a say in the system that we would inevitably be taking over. Upon questioning why the student voice was not being considered I was told to think about what I can do as a student and my question felt as though it was unanswered. I had a problem with that. During the conference in June I received my answer. Through the creation of an Open School Chapter at UNBC with the help of three other amazing students, we could ensure that the voice of not only the students but the patients, residents, physiotherapists, nurses, and other health care professionals were heard.

Never having done anything remotely close to this, this whole process has been a learning experience. We are far from where we hope to be, but we are not going to stop anytime soon.

August to September - This time was utilized to come up with a plan of action. Jenna was the president of the IHI UBC Open School Chapter in the past and was a heavily used resource during this time and preceding months in identifying what our goals for the remainder of the year were to be. We tried to create job descriptions for each other and determine our roles. Our recruitment strategy relied on creating a social media presence and connecting with the other IHI Open School Chapter representatives, as well as the BCPSQC council. We also used the NUGGS Club day to attract students at UNBC. We were fortunate enough to be invited to speak alongside other Open School Chapters at the Quality Cafe led by BCPSQC council and it was our first time speaking about our organization. A definite highlight as we were able to gain more confidence in our vision.

More to come...

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