On Friday, October 30th, Finley GEAR UP took 17 River View HS students to visit Columbia Basin College’s medical building, the Richland Health Science Center in Richland, Washington. The building houses CBC Health Science programs including, Surgical Technology, Radiologic Technology, Nursing, & Phlebotomy, among others. The students that attended the trip were documented with GEAR UP as being interested in a medical field using a 5th year planning spreadsheet.
The visit to the Health Science Center was broken up into 4 sessions each focusing on a separate program offered by the college. The sessions were led by an instructor/professor for each program. The first program the students learned about was Radiological Technology. The students were able to see real life examples of x-rays from actual patients in the Tri-Cities, which they thought was really cool. Examples included a knife in a man’s chest, a knee cap fracture, a baby, and bullet shrapnel in a person’s foot. Rene Fox, the associate professor for the program expressed how important rad-techs are in the medical system, and how in many medical emergencies they are vital to finding out what is wrong with a patient.
The next session was about the Nursing program at CBC. Students were able to tour the nursing facilities and see all of the very life-like dummies the nursing students have to practice their knowledge on. The dummies ranged in age from an adult male to an infant.
The third session the students had was about being a Surgical Technician. This session is one the students enjoyed a lot. During the session, a current surgical tech student at CBC let the students observe him as he went through the process of becoming sanitized. Everyone was shocked at how long the process was, getting his hands cleaned took over 10 minutes and by the time he was completely sanitized, gowned, and done setting up the surgical table; about 25 minutes had gone by. The students also had some hands on opportunities during this session, handling some of the different tools and using a couple of them for an Operation like game where one student had a camera and flashlight and another had a pair of surgical tweezers and had to use them to help grab a small object from the inside of a patient’s “stomach”.
The last session the students attended was about being a Medical Assistant. The students toured the facility the Medical Assistant students use and learned a little about what kinds of things the students have to do in the program, including testing each other’s urine and practicing giving each other vaccines (over 100) throughout the program. This program is highly competitive and in the past few years they’ve only accepted about a third of the total amount of applicants. The program takes one year for a certificate, so the demand is high to take part.
Overall, the students were really engaged and interested in what CBC had to offer them, and because all of the students are genuinely thinking about a future in a medical field, this trip was a perfect way for them to see some of the options they have just in their backyard. Thank you to the GEAR UP tutor supervisors for helping the trip run smoothly and to River View High School Principal Chris Davis for stopping in during lunch.