Getting a glimpse at medical fields

July 18, 2017 GMT

BULLHEAD CITY — Students from area high schools are spending a significant portion of their summer interning at local hospitals.

Multiple Avenues of Successful Health Care, M*A*S*H for short, is in its fifth year. This two-week program conducted at Western Arizona Regional and Valley View medical centers allows these students to learn about various health care careers.

These youths are able to ask questions and closely observe hospital functions: patient care by doctors, nurses and support staff as well as other duties ranging from food service to patient registration. MASH is a way to show local youths that they can find fulfilling work in their community after attending college, said Sarah Mangum, marketing director for WARMC.

And, exposure to so many hospital functions during the internship can help them decide what career path wmight best suit them. “It’s better learning what they like now than halfway through school,” she said.

Students chosen to participate in the program were required to carry at least a 3.0 grade point average and have earned at least a “B” in algebra and science. They also had to submit a 400-word essay and three letters of recommendation. Sixteen youths were chosen to participate from among 35 applicants from Mohave, Laughlin, Needles, Mohave Accelerated and River Valley high schools.

Each hospital hosted eight of these students. Those interning at Western Arizona Regional Medical Center ate lunch together in the cafeteria around noon Monday before preparing to split into two groups for their afternoon activities.

Some of the students found the areas of health care they were already interested were as captivating as they had initially thought. Seven of the eight teens attend Mohave High. All are ages 16-17.

“I liked the way they explained things,” said Citally Salazar.

“They were good at not using medical jargon,” Rawaan Khatjib explained.

This group of young women is already well-known around the hospital. Employees and patients stopped to greet them as they made their way through the halls.

A high level of openness exhibited by most of the employees was greatly appreciated by the interns. Many on the hospital staff were happy to share information about what training they were required to complete as well as salaries. They even allowed the interns some hands-on experience whenever it was safe, practical and non-invasive. Some of the interns were allowed to do an EKG, for example.

Khatjib is even further interested in pharmaceutical care than she was before her internship while Leslie Carrasco still wants to pursue a career as a nurse-practitioner. Some of the other students were reevaluating their potential fields of study. One had wanted to study nursing but found out that respiratory medicine might be her calling. Another thought working as a dietitian might be an alternative for someone who doesn’t like “blood and guts.”

One group of four went into the Emergency Room and the others learned about how patients are registered for entry on Monday afternoon. The four watching ER activities had been slated to meet with a hospitalist, a physician seeing in-patients and has many duties similar to a primary care doctor, but the staff member they were scheduled to meet was off-duty so they were assigned time in the ER instead. They’ll meet the hospitalist later in the week, Mangum said.

All eight students were impressed at the halfway point of their internships and said are looking forward to further studying for possible careers in the medical profession.

Another small perk is that “we get to keep the scrubs,” one of them added.

There will be a graduation ceremony for all 16 program participants and their families at WARMC on Friday at 9 a.m.

Oversight of the program is by Golden Vertex Corp. Other sponsors include Mohave Electric Cooperative and the BHHS Legacy Foundation.