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Visalia students get a glimpse in the life of healthcare professionals

Dr. Omar Guzmán showed students how to put an airway on a patient. Allison López was one of the 95 pre-selected Visalia high school students who had the opportunity on March 25 to have a glimpse of what healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, physical therapists and more do each day.
Dr. Omar Guzmán showed students how to put an airway on a patient. Allison López was one of the 95 pre-selected Visalia high school students who had the opportunity on March 25 to have a glimpse of what healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, physical therapists and more do each day. mortizbriones@vidaenelvalle.com

Redwood High School students Allison López and Emilie Garcia paid closed attention as Carol Chávez, a nurse clinical educator for labor and delivery at Kaweah Delta Medical Center showed a group of high school students a baby delivery simulation.

In another station, Linda Ellison, a nurse with the hospital, showed students a baby resuscitation demonstrating them what needed to be done in that situation.

Those two scenarios gave the Redwood students a window into the life of doctors and nurses as part of the Doc B.A.N.D (Build and Navigate Your Destiny) program.

According to Laura Florez-McCusker, director of Media Relations for Kaweah Delta the program is put on in partnership with Kaweah Delta Medical Center, the Tulare County Office of Education, the Visalia Economic Development Corporation, Visalia Unified School District and Central Valley Christian Schools.

Because of shortage of doctors and medical providers in the Central Valley, Florez-McCusker programs like Doc B.A.N.D are important.

“Do we have skill workers who are going into healthcare? Because of the physician shortage, what are we doing to recruit and retain physicians?” said Florez-McCusker of how the program started many years ago.

Florez-McCusker said working with schools is a way to see what kind of talent are in the area already and encourage those students to go into the healthcare profession if they want to.

“The possibilities are endless,” she said.

López and Garcia were two of the 95 pre-selected Visalia high school students who had the opportunity on March 25 to have a glimpse of what healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, physical therapists and more do each day.

Garcia said she got interested in the medical field when she was only 6 years old after she ended up in the emergency room as a patient.

The 16-year-old said she still remembers how helpful healthcare provides were to her and her family.

“They really helped to make sure I was ok,” Garcia said, adding that she was inspired to go into the medical field and help other patients.

Garcia said she was glad one of her teachers told her about the program and signed her up hoping that in the future she would become a pediatrician.

“I just thought it was a good experience. It shows you want you are getting into,” Garcia said, adding that getting the right information is crucial for students like her to make the right choice.

Students visited interactive stations at the Lynn Harvard Mirviss Education Center-Skills Lab facility housed at the Kaweah Delta Support Services Building, on W. Mineral King Ave.

Some of the five stations included SimMan®, a portable and advanced patient simulator that’s used to challenge and test students’ clinical and decision-making skills during realistic patient care scenarios. At other stations students learned about chest compressions, how to put airway, ultra sound as well as baby resuscitation and delivery.

Dr. Omar Guzmán showed students how to put an airway on a patient.

Guzmán, an emergency medicine doctor, said programs such as Doc B.A.N.D are very important in the Central Valley for students who might be interested in the medical field.

“We know from research that doctors choose where they are going to serve base on two things. One is where they trained and the other one where they were born,” said Guzmán, adding that Tulare County and the Valley in general need a better pipeline for students in the area to expose to those medical professionals on the regular basis.

The students also had the opportunity a few days later during a dinner to meet with healthcare professionals such as physicians, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists and more so they can ask questions and learn if they want to pursue a future career in health care.

Florez-McCusker said at the end of the dinner students have a better view of what kind of doctor they want to be or even some change their minds to pursue a nursing career instead, something that is not uncommon during this type of programs.

María G. Ortiz-Briones: 559-441-6782, @TuValleTuSalud

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