It’s Friday 26 October, lunchtime at MGCI. Room 212 bustles with the excitement and chatter of the forty-odd students crammed within. It’s a huge turnout, made more impressive by the Clubs Fair going on a floor beneath them.

These are the Future Medical Professionals.

The Future Medical Professionals Executive Team poses with Faye Roberts. Image: Evelyn Jiang

The club was founded in September as a way to expose high school students to the medical field. President Amy Peng points out, “It’s kind of hard to find places that are for students under sixteen. Since sixteen is the age where high school gets more hectic, I want to help students become involved with health science at an earlier age.”

Future Medical Professionals differs from other health science-oriented clubs in MGCI, like HOSA, through how it interacts with its members. Amy explains, “With HOSA, it’s more self-studying and up to the student themselves to learn, while in our club we encourage members to tell us what they want to know about so we can plan meetings based on their interests.”

Today is a special occasion—attendees will be treated to a talk.

The volume rises to a dull roar as they wait for the speaker, Faye Roberts, to begin her presentation. She is the volunteer coordinator at Providence Healthcare, and is here to talk about her experiences in healthcare with a focus on geriatric volunteer opportunities.

Her talk begins with an introduction—her name, who she is, and a brief description of her current and previous job positions. There has been a stint in pediatric care, Canada’s Red Cross, the Ronald McDonald House, and the Scarborough Hospital, among other things. She assumes all the attendees have an interest in healthcare careers, and so she serves up crucial advice on how to choose your path.

Guest speaker Faye Roberts speaks about her experience in healthcare. Image: Evelyn Jiang

“If you’re dealing with life, you’re dealing with death. If you cannot handle that then this is not the job for you.”

She continues with her personal experiences with the healthcare system both as a patient and as a worker. Person-centred care is good. Rude bedside manner is bad. Teamwork is essential. “Even illness becomes wellness when ‘I’ becomes ‘we’.”

Perhaps the most important part of her talk comes when she gives tips on choosing future careers. When students currently in high school progress on to healthcare careers, she says, they should consider a focus on geriatrics. After all, as the citizens of the baby boom generation grow older, geriatric healthcare will peak as their health deteriorates with age.

She ends with a Q&A, though few questions are asked. Her revelations have left many in a reflective mood. It’s the bell that stirs everyone into action and they all file out of the room.

The club hopes to host Faye Roberts again later this year — a great idea for a great talk.

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Future Medical Professionals meets every other Friday in Room 212.