JEFFERSON — Ashe Memorial Hospital recently held their 2015 Camp Med Summer Internship Program on July 20-24.
The program is a co-sponsorship between Ashe County Schools, Ashe Memorial Hospital (AMH) and the Northwest Area Health Education Center (AHEC) of Wake Forest University School of Medicine and is coordinated by Teresa Patrick, Sherry Cox and Melissa Lewis.
The week-long program is free and designed for students of Ashe County High School who have an interest in healthcare but may not have been in a hospital setting or seen the different departments within a hospital.
“We expose them to different areas to see if something sparks their interest that they might want to consider as a career,” Melissa Lewis, Education Director Employee Health and Infection Control Nurse of AMH said. “This also lets them know that there are different parts of the health care system they can go into.”
According to Lewis, students were able to visit the Wake Forest Center for Comparative Medicine Research/Primate Center to learn about research conducted with monkeys.
Students also took a tour of the emergency department, an OB/GYN practice, the birthing center and other AMH departments and practices located throughout Ashe County.
The program also gives students the opportunity to shadow a hospital employee.
During the program, students were able to touch real human hearts, brains, bones and lungs as well as dissect pigs, learn to take blood pressure, vital signs and perform CPR.
This year’s program had 26 students participate with four students having attended it for more than one year.
“We enjoy doing it. It’s a good thing for the students to help them decide if they do want to go into the medical field because we definitely need more people interested in that kind of work,” Teresa Patrick, H.R.N. Volunteer Coordinator said. “Some people who started out with the program and went through their college courses come back here (AMH) to work.”
According to Lewis, the program usually accepts only rising 9th and 10th graders but this year rising 9th through 12th grade students were allowed to attend.
To apply, students must have a minimum 2.5 grade point average, a sincere desire to work in the medical field and must submit a letter of interest outlining career goals and why they would like to participate in Camp Med.
Makayla Earp and Morgan Shatley both attended Camp Med last year and encourage other students who may be thinking of participating in the program to apply.
“If you are really not sure if they want to go in the medical field, just apply and see because you never know what’s out there,” Shatley said. “There are so many jobs in the medical field.”
“I would definitely tell them go for it, because not only do you get the week to make more friends but you get that week to look and see is this really for me, is this what I want to do?” Earp said.
“We are just thrilled to have them here and hopefully they’ll join the staff of Ashe Memorial in the years to come,” Ashe Memorial Hospital CEO Laura Lambeth said. “It gives them a different aspect of what it’s really like to be in healthcare, in a real hospital and help solidify their pursuit of a healthcare career.”
According to Lambeth, she asked the program participants during the week who was still interested in a career in healthcare. All students raised their hands.
Lambeth said that she anticipates the program will continue growing as it did this past year.
“We don’t want to turn anyone away,” Lambeth said. “We would like to have as many as we can accommodate.”
According to Lambeth, the program, which began in 2006, was originally designed to only accept 10 students.
“Dr. Holden, he’s been very supportive of this program. The community effort and the commitment of the hospital working with the school system, giving his students some really up close experience of what its like working in health care, it’s been very positive,” Lambeth said. “We’re very proud to be associated with Ashe County School systems.”
Ashe County School Superintendent Dr. Todd Holden, who visited the students during the week, said he would like to see many of the students come back to Ashe County and work and also commended the staff on offering such an amazing program.
“I’ve never seen another hospital do this,” Holden said. “I applaud Mrs. Lambeth and all the other teachers. I’m very grateful for all they have done.”
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.