MASH students make their way around Valley View

July 17, 2018

FORT MOHAVE — Local high school students are spending time at Valley View Medical Center participating in the Multiple Avenues of Successful Health Care program, called MASH for short.

This year, high school students from Mohave, River Valley, Needles and Laughlin high schools were invited go through the fast-paced, two-week MASH, with students assigned to either Valley View or Western Arizona Regional Medical Center.

Lisa Townsend, VVMC’s education and MASH coordinator, said she receives hundreds of calls each year from students who want to job shadow VVMC employees.

She said MASH, however, “allows us to give back to the community.”

The goal is to expose area youths to an array of career opportunities in health care. It also shows them that staying near home to pursue such a career is a viable option.

Some of this year’s MASH participants seem open to the idea. Not all of them have expressed interest in leaving the area to obtain training or start their adult lives, Townsend noted.

“Usually they want to get far, far away,” she said.

On Monday, the eight students interning at VVMC broke into two groups. One group spent part of the morning watching a patient receive a defibrillator implant in the cardiac cath lab. Before lunch, the other group was in the ICU watching Dr. Vikas Sayal, an internist-pulmonologist, work with a patient.

“It’s crazy how they let us look behind the scenes,” said Hanna Ward, of River Valley High School.

Ward said she found seeing a heart ultrasound a highly notable part of the program.

Paige Murch, of Needles High School, said she was wowed by watching a baby be delivered by Caesarean section. Tyler Weiss, also of Needles High School, said he enjoyed the experience of holding a baby.

Monica Houltram, of Mohave High School, said her favorite moment was spent in a lab, where students could test samples of their own blood to determine its type.

Dailyn Ross said she was impressed after seeing a carpal tunnel surgery. Kendall Williams said she enjoyed watching a doctor do a neonatal assessment. Mikayla Barton said she liked her time spent in the pharmacy and pointed to learning about an ear replacement as time well spent. All three are from Mohave High School.

Blake Ising, also of Mohave High School, said that what she saw while visiting the ICU “was very, very interesting.”

Barton explained that it also was enlightening to see “what all nurses do to prepare for everything they do.”

Weiss and Ising said they were impressed to discover how much effort is put into cleanliness around the hospital. Weiss noticed it during time spent with employees who do housekeeping; Ising saw this while spending time with workers in the hospital’s cafeteria.

Sponsors this year are Mohave Electric Cooperative, BHHS Legacy Foundation, Silly Cactus and Hospice Compassus, whose executive director, Cindy Head, RN, is overseeing this year’s program.

A news release from the Colorado River Union High School District explained that both hospitals have been offering this internship annually since 2013 in cooperation with the district. Students from Laughlin High School, which is part of the Clark County School District, and Mohave Accelerated Learning Center, began vying for spots in MASH in 2014. This is the fourth year in which Needles Unified School District students have been able to participate.