Madison Harris, an upcoming junior at North Iredell High School, has long planned on becoming a nurse. She’s taken all but one of her school’s health science classes. And while evaluating career opportunities, she talks with healthcare professionals about their positions.
But before attending the 2019 Camp Med Summer Program with 14 fellow high school students July 8-12 – featuring healthcare presentations, hands-on observations, and clinical experiences – she hadn’t directly seen professional nursing conducted or personally witnessed the inner workings of a hospital.
“We toured all the departments in the hospital and got to see firsthand exactly what goes on,” Harris said. “We got to see all the careers that are available to us. When people tell you about their job, you don’t really understand everything. So I liked seeing it firsthand.”
In a learning environment integrating their school setting with the professional setting of Iredell Memorial, the students interested in pursuing healthcare education and careers discovered the roles and responsibilities of healthcare professions and observed state-of-the-art health technology, equipment, and procedures. They visited the Hospital’s Endoscopy, Dialysis, and Cardiac Rehab departments, among others.
“Nursing is really what I want to do,” said Brylee Gibson, an upcoming sophomore from West Iredell High School. “Being able to tour the hospital and get the hands-on experience was my favorite part. It made it so much more real.”
Wearing white coats and stethoscopes, the students toured the Hospital’s Imaging Department, Skilled Nursing Facility, and Emergency Department, and were taught the healthcare delivery system and the principles of medical ethics and safety. They visited the High Point University Congdon School of Health Sciences where they participated in a medical simulation, an anatomy experience in the Fresh Tissue Lab, and an exploration of the Virtual Reality Gait Laboratory.
During Camp Med, students learned the educational preparation, credentialing, and career outlook of select healthcare professions. By meeting with healthcare professionals and learning their roles and responsibilities, they were introduced to an array of career possibilities.
“I came in here wanting to be a labor and delivery nurse, and now I don’t know,” Harris said. “It made me undecided on what I actually want to do in the future because there’s so much out there that I didn’t know of. So that really helped.”
The camp also gave attendees the chance to meet other students who share common career goals in healthcare.
“I’m still undecided what type of nurse I will be,” Gibson said. “I liked Imaging the most during the tour, so we’ll see.”
Camp Med was co-sponsored by Iredell Health System, the Northwest Area Health Education of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and Iredell-Statesville Schools. The program is designed to recruit, educate, and prepare high school students for careers in healthcare professions. Applicants came from Collaborative College for Technology & Leadership Early College, North Iredell High School, Agriculture and Science Early College, Statesville High School, Crossroads, and West Iredell High School.