DANVILLE – More than one hundred area high school sophomores discovered what it was like to work in the healthcare field during a premiere event Friday morning at Danville Area Community College.
Students from Danville, Armstrong, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin, Georgetown-Ridge Farm, Oakwood and Salt Fork participated in three of a dozen different 30-minute presentations given in classrooms and labs all over the Mary Miller Complex.
Each of the high school groups participating in the presentations were connected with a DACC student who acted as a mentor and made sure the student groups found their way around the Mary Miller Complex.
The presentations covered the areas of nursing, sonography, echocardiography, emergency medical technician, certified nursing assistant, radiology, mental health, certified medical assistant and bioengineering.
Many of the presentations were interactive, such as learning to take someone’s blood pressure, removing sutures and learning how to code for insurance billing purposes. An emergency medical technician presentation allowed students to climb aboard one of two ambulances from Lynch Area Fire Protection District.
“I would like to be either an EMT or paramedic,” Anna Mitchell, a Danville High School sophomore, said. “A lot of my family is in that field.”
Another DHS sophomore, Mariah Appleman, said she would like to become a pediatrician and enjoyed attending the health professions event.
“I like how we’ve been given a lot of information about possible careers,” she said.
During the certified medical assistant presentation, DHS sophomores Jaylin Robertson, Nariah Matchem and Vinija Williams tried taking one another’s blood pressure and donned protective medical gear including face masks and goggles.
The teens said being able to explore different aspects of the medical field only further stoked their interest in it.
“I liked all of them,” Vinija said of the presentations. “I want to be a pediatrician and work with kids.”
Jaylin said, “I want to be a registered nurse.”
DACC instructor Candice Milam told the students that the need for certified medical assistants (CMA) is expected to grow by 23 percent in the next six years. Students can attend DACC for 18 months or three semesters and earn a CMA certificate.
More than 60 percent of CMAs work in offices of physicians, taking patient vitals, preparing patients for examination, administering medications, drawing blood, educating patients, scheduling appointments, maintaining records and billing and coding for insurance.
“There are 27 positions open at Carle alone,” Milam said.
Some students in Milam’s presentation learned how to correctly wrap their wrist with an Ace bandage and remove sutures and staples.
Removing staples was DHS sophomore Michael Kaylor’s favorite activity.
“I liked doing the staples after I figured it out,” he said. “Someday I’d like to be a mortician or an optometrist.”
Kathy Sturgeon, dean of math, sciences and health professions at DACC, said she was pleased with how well-received the event was with students and already has ideas for next year’s event.
“I think it went very, very well, and we’re looking at possibly expanding it next year,” Sturgeon said.
“It’s amazing to see the students as engaged as they were,” she said.