Students explore health careers


By Anne Marie Amacher

Grace Rohlf, left, and Sydney Johnson learn about surgical instruments from John Soenen, a Scott Community College student. St. Ambrose University in Davenport sponsored the Health Careers Adventure Camp June 10-14.

DAVENPORT – Twenty-five middle school students with interest in health sciences spent a week doing simulations, dissections and visits within the health field June 10-14. St. Ambrose University sponsored the weeklong event, held at the Health Sciences building on Genesis Health Center’s west campus and at off-site locations.
Students entering seventh and eighth grade were introduced to a variety of health careers, said Alisa Rusch, health sciences information specialist for St. Ambrose.
She said the introduction to numerous possibilities in health sciences allows students to begin thinking about a future career and to look ahead to what classes to take in high school and college.
The week included a visit to University of Iowa School of Pharmacy and Putman Museum’s Bodies Revealed exhibit in Davenport; job shadows in the Quad-City community; simulations with mannequins at St. Ambrose health sciences building; and dissection of a pig and examination of cultures under a microscope. The youths also met with current St. Ambrose students who served as counselors to talk about what the youths learned and about various options for the future. Rusch noted that not all health care careers require a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Dee Kilby, surgical technology program director at Scott Community College and also an RN/BSN student at St. Ambrose, led a session June 13 on surgical technology.
Several of Kilby’s students accompanied her and worked with the youths first by getting them dressed in surgical gowns and gloves. The middle school students participated in rotations to observe various instruments used in surgery — from clamps and cauterizers to plates and screws and hip replacement implants. Kilby told the young students that surgical technology students learn how to set up and maintain surgical tools before and during surgery.
Scott Community College student John Soenen showed students how to hand a surgeon an instrument and what various instruments are used for. He also noted that surgical technicians count out gauze and other items not just before surgery but after. “We count and recount to make sure nothing is left behind in a patient.”
Rusch said this year’s group of youths were very engaged and asked great questions throughout the sessions.
Middle school students Sydney Johnson of Bettendorf and Grace Rohlf of Davenport enjoyed the camp.
Grace said she wanted to learn more about different medical occupations and possibly wants to become a physician’s assistant. Sydney wants to be a surgeon or a doctor who deals with genetics. She came to camp to experience different options. “I had health problems when I was little. I want to learn how (doctors) helped me so I can help others.”

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