RRMC shows AHEC students what it’s like on the front lines of healthcare


Area high school students have learned that they can enter the healthcare field in one of many professions – not just doctors and nurses.

Twelve students from Rapides Regional Medical Center were selected for the Central Louisiana Area Health Education Center (CLAHEC) program called “A-HEC of a Summer”. The three-week program gives students hands-on experience in various medical professions at local hospitals.

“People think that there are only doctors and people who are on the front line, but there are also a lot of people who work behind the scenes,” said Anjana Danivas, an 11th grader at the high school of Bolton.

It also gave her an appreciation for what nurses do.

“I went to the ER and it really exceeded my expectations,” she said. “I underestimated the work of nurses, so I really appreciate what they do.”

“There are so many people contributing to different things even though you only see a limited number of people,” Chloe Cloessner, a 10th grader, told Grace Christian. She learned that there are people who read CT scans, x-rays and stuff like that.

“It’s not just doctors who do this. There are other people,” she said.

The program is designed to help students determine if health care is the right career for them, said Theresa Hood, the hospital’s health educator. They might discover that one area of ​​health they wanted to pursue is not for them, but discover that another is.

For example, she said a student might enter the program thinking they wanted to become an anesthetist, but after gaining hands-on experience, decide the career really isn’t for them.

Students rotate through all departments such as laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, surgery, rehabilitation services, labor and delivery, NICU, and emergency to name a few.

“They pretty much hit every clinical department,” Hood said.

The students rotate with different departments in the morning and in the afternoon have lessons given by a teacher from the parish of Les Rapides who gives them different activities to do. They can also take field trips to places like the Montgomery Animal Clinic and the LifeShare Blood Center.

Terri Brouillette (far right), a certified vascular technologist at the Rapides Regional Medical Center, shows AHEC students Chloe Cloessner and Anjana Danivas how equipment in the radiology department works.

After three weeks in the program, some students have already identified what they would like to do.

“I wanted to learn more about each department so I could figure out what I could see myself doing in the future,” said Emily Morgan, a homeschooler. “Labor and birth really struck me with everything it does. It’s responsible for so many things. I really like it.”

Cloessner said there are so many options and so much to learn in healthcare and there are options for someone to move around and find an area they are happy with.

“There’s so much. It’s so complex. It’s not what everyone makes people believe,” she said.

“It really shone a light on nursing,” said Joshua Decker, a Grade 11 student at Grant High School. “Nursing has always been something I’ve wanted to do, but I’ve never really known how deep you go with a patient – the real interactions and friendships you can create with patients through nursing. “

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Cloessner wants to become a nurse anesthetist. She said she didn’t realize how much of an impact healthcare workers have on a patient’s day. She said that by talking to them, healthcare workers can change the way a patient feels and brighten their day.

“You can bring light into the world when you thought you couldn’t, or impact someone’s life that you didn’t know you could impact,” she said. .

“I like the trauma unit and the ER,” said Aubree Martin, a Glenmora high school student in Grade 11. “I like the fast pace and everyone working together and knowing what to do in an emergency.”

“I’m watching radiology today and I might as well delve into it because I love it so much,” Danivas said.

AHEC students Aubree Martin (left) and Emily Morgan spent a day at the Rapides Regional Medical Center pharmacy to learn about day-to-day operations.

Watching surgery, preparing a patient for inversion cardio, which uses shocks to restore heart rhythm, and seeing how emergency personnel deal with emergencies such as gunshot wounds are just some of the experiences students have had. .

“Seeing intubated patients – a lot of things that you don’t see from the outside,” Decker said.

Hood said some students who went through the program are now on staff at RRMC.

“I have a nurse who works in labor and delivery,” she said. “And that was one of my AHEC kids. We’ve had a few different ones come to work here as nurses.”

In addition, she said that one of their radiology managers was also a student at AHEC, as was another department manager.

Students earn high school credits, Hood said. As the program lasts only three weeks, they cannot miss any day. To apply, they must complete an application and provide letters of recommendation. Students are interviewed and selected by a team from AHEC. To learn more about the program, visit clahec.org

This is the 6th year that the RRMC has welcomed students.

“We hope to stimulate their interest in healthcare and keep that interest intact so that one day they can further their education and become healthcare workers,” Hood said.

“I really generalized the medical field because — my dad is a pediatrician — and I thought it was pediatricians and people who work with patients and family care and family medicine,” Danivas said. But the program taught her that there are so many other professions to pursue in healthcare.

“I can do anything in the medical field,” she said.

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