A group of eight high school students held and examined a human brain as part of a Catholic Health MASH Camp. These daylong field trips to local hospitals introduce students to careers in the health care field.
On Monday, Jan. 28, AP biology students from Akron Central High School came to Kenmore Mercy Hospital to get hands-on experience in the lab, orthopedics, rehab and emergency departments, where they interacted with doctors, lab techs and physician assistants doing their jobs to make people healthy.
"MASH Camps are a unique opportunity for local middle and high school students to experience the health care world in an interactive way," explained Nancy Preskop, Catholic Health recruiter and MASH Camp coordinator. "It helps these young people become familiar with the broad range of job opportunities that health care offers. There is a tremendous need for more people to choose in these challenging and rewarding career fields."
The health care industry is a growing field, with 3.2 million new jobs opening last year. Jobs in the field include doctor, nurse, home health aide and lab technicians. For people who are squeamish around blood, there are also administrative roles such as medical records technician and medical secretary.
"We reach out to high school students because we want them to understand the great health care careers that are out here," said Preskop. "So, we bring them into the hospitals, we show them the different areas. They get to ask questions. They get to see stuff. So, it helps them pick the right career choice. There's nothing worse than picking a career, then halfway through say, 'Oops. I can't do this.'"
In the lab, a technician explained the different blood types and how the lab tests for influenza and other viruses. One student, who had strep throat, asked how the testing he underwent worked.
In the pathology lab, they donned lab coats and rubber gloves, then were given the opportunity to hold a human brain and heart.
"Was there something wrong with this patient," asked one student while examining the heart.
"Yes, he died," replied Ricardo Senson, a clinical lab technician, before explaining that the heart seemed enlarged, a sign of coronary disease.
Kenmore Mercy customized the MASH Camp for this particular group of students, making sure they saw what interested them.
Micah Suckow has plans to study Sports Medicine with a pre-physician's assistant concentration. Attending the camp allowed him to see the varied fields that he could focus on in his career.
"The program that I'm going into gives me the opportunity to branch off in one way or another. It seems pretty intriguing now since I liked what I saw today," the 17-year-old said. "What I saw today was very interesting. You can go into PA or you can go into a concentration with a doctorate, or you can do (occupational therapy or physical therapy). I was very narrow minded in wanting to do PA, but I guess I'm a little more open minded seeing what else I can do."
"I think more options and opportunities are opened up to us now that we've seen more than just what we hear about," agreed Madison Migill.
For more information on how Catholic Health can help high school students, visit www.chsbuffalo.org/education/high-school-students. To organize a MASH Camp contact Nancy Preskop at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716-706-2584.