Co-written by St. Lawrence College and Cornwall Community Hospital Communications Staff
approximately 350 health sciences students, including Bachelor of Science in
Nursing (BScN), Practical Nurse (PN), and Personal Support Worker (PSW), from
St. Lawrence College’s (SLC) Cornwall campus complete their clinical placements
at the Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH).
are a key component of their education, allowing them to work directly in
patient care, so that when they graduate, they are ready to hit the ground
running as highly trained and skilled members of the hospital’s health care
BScN student, Maya Ouellette, who comes from the nearby town of Bainsville, choosing
to study at SLC and do her placement at CCH means she can learn, live, and work
in her community, as she plans to remain in the Cornwall area after graduation
and work at the hospital.
“By studying at
SLC, I was able to benefit from doing a placement right away in the first year
of first semester to gain more hands-on skills to become a registered nurse.
There is also pride in being able to serve your community,” Maya said.
also included an elective course unique to SLC in critical care, allowing her
to learn more advanced nursing skills such as arterial lines, ventilators,
cardiac monitoring, and external ventricular drain monitoring. “I really
enjoyed the simulation labs the program offers to get the students ready for
real life scenarios in a critical setting.”
undergone a major redevelopment project in 2014, CCH is now one of the largest
and most advanced hospitals in Eastern Ontario, meaning SLC students at CCH are
exposed to the sorts of departments, technologies and innovative models of care
perhaps more often associated with “big city hospitals,” but in the comfort and
familiarity of a small town.
CCH services a
catchment area of over 100,000 people, which includes not only the City of
Cornwall, but also the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, and
the Mohawk community of Akwesasne.
Maya, SLC students are exposed to “everything and anything” while on placement
at CCH, including the hospital’s medicine, emergency, surgery, operating room,
stroke and rehab, critical care, labour and delivery, and inpatient mental
the hospital’s clinical instructors for guiding students and providing
exceptional hands-on training in things like tracheostomies, assisting with the
insertion of chest tubes, surgical wound drains, catheters, and various other
“The instructors you have for placement are very hands on and you are able to
learn from their vast knowledge and skills. All my instructors have played a
major role in developing my nursing skill set,” she said.
“My top experiences working at CCH have all been responding to traumas, such as
strokes, heart attacks and patients whose vital signs go absent. An amazing
experience as a student was shadowing the anesthesiologist in the operating
room to see how to mix medications, intubate, and monitor a patient's airway.
We also were able to watch an external pacemaker be put in while in the
emergency department. All these skills are so fast paced and specialized which
I find is the most exciting.”
Maya will be
staying on at CCH, where she hopes to consolidate in the emergency department
where she currently works as an emergency room assistant and clerk for the last
two years, and she’s not the only one to pursue a career opportunity at CCH
post-graduation: between 2020 and 2021, the hospital hired over 80 health care graduates
But according to Maya, “one
of the greatest benefits of studying at SLC, doing my placement at CCH, and
staying here is that you form bonds and friendships with the same people over
the years. It really feels like a family here.”
Now more than ever,
there is a need for more students like Maya who are eager to study in health
care and work in her community as hospitals struggle with staffing challenges.
The partnership between SLC and CCH is working to strengthen health care
delivery in Cornwall and provide opportunities to hopeful health care
professionals looking to make a difference in their communities.
For more information on St. Lawrence College and educational opportunities, visit https://www.stlawrencecollege.ca/.
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Patient and Family Advisory Committee
Cornwall Community Hospital is located on the traditional lands of the Akwesasne Mohawks and their ancestors. We are forever grateful to those who had been on these lands before us and through their stewardship and connection to the land, have made it what it is now. Read our full Land Acknowledgement here.
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