More than 80 junior high school students participated in an Allied Health Career Exploration at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California on Thursday, Feb. 16. The event included talks and interactive demonstrations on a variety of careers – nursing, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, child life, trauma prevention and orthotics and prosthetics.
One student used social media vernacular to sum up the experience: “#OMG moment. Today was an inspiring day. Learning from different people working in different health places is very helpful.”
Students from Sutter Middle School, Emerson Middle School and Cal Middle School participated in the community event organized by Health Workforce Initiative for the California Community Colleges, UC Davis Health, Health Professions High School and Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Presenters from UC Davis Health included Romy Villaluz, who discussed physical therapy, and Ren Bee, who highlighted the many career opportunities in nursing. After a presentation by Shriners Hospital respiratory therapist Peggy Mouritsen, the students visited interactive stations. They were able to feel a three-dimensional model of a brain at a trauma prevention station and engage in a wheelchair challenge at the occupational therapy station. They enjoyed an up close look at prosthetic arms and legs and learned how different devices function. They were introduced to the different medical play techniques used by child life specialists to help normalize the hospital experience for young patients.
The goal of the program is to open students’ eyes to the many different opportunities in the health care field. Clearly, many students left with eyes wide open.
One participant put it like this: “Shout out to Shriners Hospital for giving me such a great experience and teaching me a whole lot of new and amazing things.”