Nursing students throw PARTY

Four VIU students helped educate Grade 10 Alberni about the risks of poor decision-making and alcohol use.

Four Vancouver Island University Bachelor of Science in Nursing students hope to make a difference educating youth about the risks of poor decision-making and alcohol use.

The students last week assisted staff at West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni with the P.A.R.T.Y. presentation aimed at Grade 10 students. High school students were shown in graphic detail what might happen if they were injured in  a car accident.

P.A.R.T.Y., which stands for Prevent Alcohol Related Trauma in Youth, is a program originally developed in 1986 by emergency room (ER) nurses in Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. It’s been offered to grade 10 students on Vancouver Island through the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) since 2007.

“It’s a hospital based health promotion program targeted at youth that promotes injury prevention through reality based education,” explained VIU student Heather Spaven. “The program seeks to empower youth to recognize risks and make smart decisions about their activities and behaviours.”

The VIU students have been volunteering with P.A.R.T.Y. since last year, and receive course credit as part of their nursing degree.

Pending VIHA ethics approval, the students hope to begin a research project looking at the program’s former use of guest speakers to help get the message out to students.

“The purpose of the study is to compare the self-reported risk taking behaviours of Grade 12 students who have previously attended a P.A.R.T.Y intervention with a keynote speaker and those students who have attended a presentation without a keynote speaker,” said Spaven.

“We want to find out whether a keynote speaker adds to the student’s retention of the key P.A.R.T.Y. messages.”

Once the project is approved, Spaven and her classmates will conduct their research in Port Alberni. They will write a report and share their findings with community stakeholders.

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