Merced County Times Newspaper
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High school students explore health-care careers


Three hundred students from Merced, Golden Valley, El Capitan, Atwater, Buhach Colony, Le Grand and Delhi high schools visited the Merced College campus last week as part of the fifth annual Growing Health Leaders High School Health Care Career Conference.

The conference is a collaboration between Merced College’s Allied Health department and the Golden Valley Health Network, showcasing a variety of medical profession options to high school students interested in the field.

In groups of two and three, students slowly made their way around the Allied Health skills lab.

The looks on their faces quickly ranged from amusement to wonder and back again as they tried their hands at a number of medical instruments and tools showcased around the room.

The stations included vein finders, dopplers, stethoscopes, temporal thermometers, pulse oximeters and time with a SimMan – one of the program’s full-scale patient simulators.

“It’s our fifth year helping put this on and our second year hosting the event,” Merced College Dean of Allied Health, Business & Public Safety Bobby Anderson said. “This is a great opportunity for Merced College to service all the high schools in the city and county and give some education on a career that some of these students are looking to go into.

“We get a chance to showcase some of our programs, and it’s all made possible by my faculty willing to come in on their day off.”

In addition to their time in the skills lab, students got to learn about Merced College’s top-notch Registered Nursing, Certified Nursing Assistant, Licensed Vocational Nurse, Radiology Technician and Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs. There were also presentations by a local doctor and nurse practitioner. The event ran from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with three rotations.

“I think this is one of our favorite events to do,” Registered Nursing Director Kitty Cazares said. “As nursing faculty we’re able to share the programs and opportunities that we have. A day like this allows students who are in high school, who may not even know we’re here or the things that we have in our building, to get an idea of the options available to them right in their own backyard.

“They get to learn about the programs, the classes that they’ll have to take and some of the job opportunities that will be opened up to them, but then also they get to experience some of the hands-on activities that our students learn with every day.”

The students seemed to enjoy the experience every bit as much as the faculty.

“It’s actually very helpful,” Buhach Colony student Miranda Sanchez said. “I’m pretty fortunate. My parents are going to pay for college, but I know that not everyone has that option. So, it’s really nice to hear about the many different routes you can go in the medical industry and how much school you’ll need for them.”

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