A&M Consolidated Middle School seventh grader C.J. Zapalac dreams of a future career in emergency medical services. At the Blinn College District’s fifth annual Health Sciences Summer Camp, he enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the profession first-hand.
Hosted by Blinn’s Division of Health Sciences, the three-day camp introduced Zapalac and 20 other local seventh and eighth graders to a variety of high-demand careers available in the healthcare industry.
“I have been interested in being a paramedic for a long time, so that is mainly why I wanted to attend this camp,” Zapalac said. “After seeing all the different options there are, I also really started to like radiology. Also, we learned that everybody is unique, and you have to treat each patient differently.”
Students and faculty from Blinn’s Associate Degree Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Science, Physical Therapist Assistant, Radiologic Technology, Surgical Technology, and Veterinary Technologyprograms demonstrated the basics of each profession, from the equipment they use to the techniques necessary to ensure quality, compassionate patient care.
“Our goal for the Health Sciences Summer Camp is to give each participant ideas about the career options healthcare has to offer,” said Sami Rahman, Director of Simulation and Clinical Labs. “Each day of camp featured demonstrations and simulations, and at the end of the three days, each student discovered something in healthcare they were passionate about.”
The camp was hosted at the Health Science Center (HSC) Campus in Bryan, a 26,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility featuring the latest clinical simulation technology.
On the first day of the camp, participants were introduced to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Fire Science programs. Students met with paramedics and fire department personnel, explored the equipment inside a working ambulance and fire truck, and learned about a variety of careers in both fields.
“It makes me very proud to see students as young as C.J. aspiring to be a paramedic,” said Adam Lopez, a Blinn paramedic student. “Hearing him say that he is taking everything he has learned at this camp and hopes to use it in the future is the greatest compliment we can receive.”
Students and faculty from the Dental Hygiene Program spoke to students about dental care and maintenance, and told students about the role dental hygienists play. The Radiologic Technology Program assisted students in conducting x-rays using state-of-the-art equipment. Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Program faculty and students taught camp participants to take blood pressure, conduct patient assessments, hear a variety of heart and lung sounds, and start an IV using a virtual IV system.
Camp participants heard from Surgical Technology Program staff and students regarding the role of a surgical technologist – an integral part of a surgical care team who helps prepare for and assist during surgery, and the Veterinary Technology Program provided an overview of what veterinary technicians do and demonstrated how to care for animals. The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program showed students how important physical therapy is to the recovery process and demonstrated a variety of restorative exercises.
“The main goal of this camp is to introduce young students to professions they may not know about,” said Monica Love, a second-year PTA student. “Unlike nursing and fire science, not many people know that physical therapist assistants exist. We want to let them know that this is another healthcare avenue available to them.”
New features to this year’s camp included an off-campus trip to the Texas Engineering Extension Services (TEEX) Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, the largest firefighting training facility in the United States. Campers also toured the nearby “Disaster City,” a 52-acre mock city that serves as a training facility for emergency responders.
Throughout the camp, students were introduced to simulation technology used in the various healthcare fields. Students simulated patient care with Blinn’s high-fidelity mannequins, which allow participants to perform CPR, take vitals, and interact with patients.
On the final day, students participated in a simulation featuring live “patients” who were guided through the entire treatment process, from emergency response to radiology and nursing, and finally, physical therapy.
“This is my second year to attend this camp,” said Elise Deutz, an eighth grader at Allen Academy. “I really looked forward to coming back and going through the simulations and meeting new people. I would definitely come back again next year.”
Blinn’s Division of Health Sciences, based at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, offers associate degree nursing, dental hygiene, emergency medical services, fire science, health information technology, physical therapist assistant, radiologic technology, surgical technology, and vocational nursing programs designed to effectively train students for high-demand professions.
For more information, visit: www.blinn.edu/twe/healthsciences.html.