DOBSON — Surry Community College’s partnership with Hugh Chatham Hospital and Baptist Hospital is allowing another successful “Camp Med” to be held benefiting local students interested in medical professions.
According to Anne Marie Hardy, coordinator for the annual event, the camp is sponsored through the Wake Forrest School of Medicine Northwest AHEC (Area Health Education Center). Wednesday was the Surry County day for the event with participants set to travel to Winston-Salem on Thursday and Elkin on Friday.
“Currently, this program is for students in Stokes County, Mount Airy City, Elkin City and Yadkin County,” said Hardy. “Basically, this is an option to let high school students interested in health care to get an idea of the field and about Surry Community College.” She also said many participants are students in Allied Health Programs in their schools.
Agenda items for participants include presentations on emergency medical programs, nursing, physical therapy assisting, medical assisting, nutrition and medical math. RN Debbie Cave even told students of a new program SCC plans to offer in the fall, a Central Sterile Supply Technician program. The course would include clinical and classroom components to train persons to prepare tools and supply trays used in surgery.
Hardy explained that students have to apply for the program because enrollment is limited. Part of the application process is a student essay. She said that it is beneficial for students to learn more about different areas in medicine and to get to know students with similar interests from other school systems. This is Hardy’s sixth year with the camp.
“Based on the essays I read most participants say they have always wanted to do something with medicine. It’s a calling they have had or because of some personal experience,” continued Hardy.
“I feel like it’s a way you can help,” said participant Laura Holloway as she explained her interest in medicine. “It’s a way to relieve pain. It started with what I saw when visiting hospitals to see friends and relatives who were sick.” Holloway said she is interested in being an anesthesiologist.
Erin Cave has personal reasons she is pursuing a medical career in oncology. She said she has had three grandparents with cancer. Her grandmother, Maryjane Reynolds, lost her battle with the disease, further sparking Cave’s desire to be a part of the cure.
Participant Marena Nelson, like the other two, admit being influenced with the way medicine is portrayed on television and in movies. Nelson said she would like to be a surgeon and was influenced to seek a career in medicine by her father’s rescue squad service. Nelson said she has viewed many graphic surgery videos on the Internet to be sure she would be prepared for some of the sights in the operation room.
Camp Med has not suffered from lack of interest.
“Interest was high for this program from the start,” added Hardy. “It has stayed that way. There’s so many things in the field it has always been popular. It’s a good camp and the kids always are enthusiastic. It’s a good way to network and is good to put on your resume.”
Hardy said she does feel the program encourages children to think long term about their employment futures because education is so important for medical professions.
“A lot of our participants are focused, some are just checking this out. Every year it seems we have kids that tell us how much they learned from the camp.”
Director of Emergency Medical Programs Kirk Killon spoke to the participants about emergency medical programs at the college.
“It’s refreshing to see young people interested in the medical field,” said Killon. “That’s our passion and what we are all about here. The medical field is wide open. Don’t pigeonhole yourself to one area early on. You’ll see something that will grab you.”
Killon urged the students to treat all people with respect and to learn by “jumping on their (other team members’) strengths in school and work.” He said that it is essential they have a good genuine desire to help people and to work with those around them because every member of a team is important.
Hardy said participants seem to especially look forward to the days spent at Hugh Chatham Hospital, where the staff “pulls out all the stops.” She said the hospital asks for areas of student interest and try to tailor the program accordingly. Participants often get to “job shadow” persons in the fields they are interested in for the day.
“They (camp participants) not only get general information but information that is specific to their interests,” said Hardy. “It can really make them think and sometimes reconsider their choices.”
The camp is totally free to participants except for transport to and from the SCC campus in Dobson. AHEC even supplies free medical lab coats and stethoscopes for the students to wear.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.