If you read Scott Bigelow’s “UNCP Today” column in last week’s The Robesonian you know that The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Health Careers Access Program internships under the direction of Sylvia Johnson recently gave several college-aged students firsthand experience in health career settings. During this same time period 35 high school juniors, seniors and recent graduates got hands-on experience at being a health care professional during the week of June 16 by participating in Camp Scrubs at Robeson Community College.
The program was funded by the U.S. Department of Education Health Sciences Division, and it’s primary purpose was to expose underrepresented populations to opportunities available in health science careers for which training is available locally. Students rotated among five health science options available at RCC and toured medical facilities in Lumberton and Greenville.
Gail Gane, RCC Respiratory Therapy director of Clinical Education, and current RCC Respiratory students Candice Iseminger, Ashley Locklear, Paula Lowry, Windy Lewis, and Brittany Jernigan led camp attendees through respiratory rounds. Attendees also benefited from interaction with RCC graduates Marcus Williford and Danyelle Miray, both of whom are working in the field and, in a show of dedication to their alma mater, returned to assist Gane and her current students in running the respiratory portion of the camp.
During the respiratory portion of the camp, students had the opportunity to observe a mock “Code Blue” situation.
“This is an excellent venue to introduce students interested in the health care field to respiratory therapy,” Gane said. “At least five of the students who previously were not familiar with RT said they would now consider it as a career option.”
Flora Gail Lowery-Williams, Emergency Medical Services Program director conducted the Emergency Medical Services portion of the camp, with assistance from the Public Schools of Robeson County’s Sue Patterson and RCC adjunct faculty Jimmy Britt.
During this session newly trained CPR instructors from the PSRC, Tina Hunt, Sherry Floyd and Jessica Edwards, completed their certification as trainers by instructing camp attendees on CPR. Each student left the camp with American Heart Association Basic Life Support Provider certification. The certification is required of most allied health care workers.
Renee Batts, associate director of Health Science programs with the North Carolina Community College System, said RCC’s Camp Scrubs program was unique across the state in training high school students at this level. Lowery-Williams noted that all high schools now have automatic defibrillators and a response team. With the BLS certification Camp Scrubs students are eligible to be a member of their respective school’s response team.
Raetta Coleman, Surgical Technician Program director and current surgical tech students Valerie Strickland, Amy Stricklin and Bobbi Richardson led camp attendees through four surgical tech stations. At one station, students practiced the proper procedure for gowning and gloving. At a second station they sutured a model arm. A third station exposed students to laparoscopic simulators. At the final station students were introduced to scalpels and practiced cutting limes, oranges and grapes.
While surgical technicians ordinarily do not use scalpels in a real operating room, Coleman noted that surgical techs need to be aware of how sharp the instruments are and what they are capable of doing. By cutting the different textures of the fruits, students learned how the scalpel will interact differently with different types of tissue in the human body.
Courtney Kilgore, RCC biology instructor, coordinated this year’s camp. Kilgore noted that while RCC hosted, the camp was a collaborative effort with the PSRC and the two major medical centers. In addition to those listed above, RCC Radiography Program Director Peggy Hunt, and Clinical Coordinator Candice Turbeville, RCC Nursing Program Director Eva Meekins, Nursing instructor Kelly Moran, PSRC Allied Health Science instructor Deanna Stephens, PSRC Vocational Director Herman Locklear, and Career and Technical Education Administrator Demetria Grissette, helped plan the camp.
PSRC Career Development coordinators Joann Harris, Shannon Locklear, Elizabeth Jansen King, Sherita Locklear, Leanna McKeithan and Terry Jackson recruited students from their respective high schools
Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s Nicole White and Donna Hardy of Vidant Medical Center in Greenville coordinated field trips to their respective campuses. Students also toured the East Carolina Heart Institute while in Greenville.
“The camp was a great success,” Coleman said. “The students were very inquisitive and very intelligent. I’m looking forward to next year’s camp.”
Robeson Community College continues to look for opportunities to partner with the community to give students real world experiences and improve the lives of the citizens of Robeson County.
Dennis Watts is the Public Information Officer at Robeson Community College. He can be reached at email@example.com.