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NSCC Kingstec students engaged to help solve health care issues in Challenge Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Community College Kingstec Campus Principal Jason Clark, back, left, School of Business faculty member Daniel MacKinnon and business administration students Danielle West and Ken Cleary agree that Challenge Nova Scotia presents a unique opportunity for students.
Nova Scotia Community College Kingstec Campus Principal Jason Clark, back, left, School of Business faculty member Daniel MacKinnon and business administration students Danielle West and Ken Cleary agree that Challenge Nova Scotia presents a unique opportunity for students. - Kirk Starratt

KENTVILLE, NS - It's a way to get students engaged in finding solutions to a serious problem impacting many families and individuals across the province.

Students at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Kingstec, Annapolis Valley, Burridge, Cumberland, IT, Ivany, Lunenburg and Pictou campuses took part in Challenge Nova Scotia on Nov. 24. There were 250 students registered to take part across the eight campuses.

Premier Stephen McNeil and NSCC president Don Bureaux joined participating students via a pre-recorded video message to deliver this year’s question:

“The government is making strides to recruit more physicians to our province, but there is more work to be done. What could we do differently to address challenges such as attracting more family doctors to Nova Scotia, alleviating emergency room pressures, or creating greater continuing care access?”

Students were tasked with creating a product, service or strategy that will help offer solutions for this important sector.

Working in teams of three to five members, participants were given 12 hours to complete the challenge and create a 90-second video outlining the proposed solution. The videos go before a panel of judges and the top three selected are shown to the Premier.

This was the second time that Daniel West, a second-year Business Administration student at Kingstec, took part in the challenge. Last year, her team placed second, which West said was exciting. The first-place team wins $2,000, second place wins $1,500 and third place wins$1,000.

West said that she and her team had an amazing experience last year, coming together to help solve a problem and offer a creative solution. She said these are the types of skills she wants to further develop. Taking part again this year provided another opportunity to do that.

“There’s a real lack of doctors and we need our health care system to work well for everybody to live well in the province,” West said.

Based on last year’s experience, she said it could be challenging to condense a proposed solution into a 90-second video.

This was the first time that first-year Business Administration student Ken Cleary has been involved in the challenge. He jumped at the opportunity when he heard about it.

“I was excited to be able to do something that actually applies what I’ve been learning throughout the first semester,” Cleary said.

He appreciates being given a chance to give input on a serious issue facing the province, potentially helping the Premier, an NSCC graduate, reach a conclusion. Cleary said it’s somewhat humbling that the Premier and NSCC have put so much faith in him and his fellow students.

Cleary said he’s living with someone who is an emergency room nurse and they’ve thoroughly discussed issues in the health care system. He felt well prepared to tackle the question.

Unique opportunity for students

Kingstec principal Jason Clark said the challenge is a unique opportunity to integrate applied learning as students tackle a real world social question facing our province.

It’s also a way for the students to feel akin to the province and become positive agents for change, taking the entrepreneurial spirit that the college works to develop and using it for good. Combining the knowledge and skills they’ve learned with a positive attitude, students can have a positive impact on our communities.

Clark thanked the staff and faculty for their hard work facilitating the challenge and he congratulated the participating students.

School of Business faculty member Daniel MacKinnon, Challenge NS co-ordinator for the Kingstec Campus, said the challenge is open to all schools in the NSCC network. There were Kingstec business and Health and Human Services students engaged.

MacKinnon said providing opportunities to embrace entrepreneurship and to learn innovation and technical skills is very important to the NSCC.

MacKinnon said having 26 Kingstec students making up six teams was a great showing for the campus.

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

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