Students try to show they are best at coming to the rescue

March 21, 1997


Staff Writer

A young woman is involved in a bicycle wreck outside your home. Moments later, an elderly man who witnessed the accident goes into coronary arrest and collapses.

Washington County Career Studies Center seniors Kim Bowers and Jamie Oden had just two minutes to react to that situation Thursday, when they pitted their skills in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid against eight teams from high school health occupations programs around Maryland.

While Oden went to work on her patient - played by schoolmate Kerri Shank, sporting two gory plastic wounds - Bowers took on the elderly man, represented by a half-torso CPR dummy.


They had 11 minutes to demonstrate their life-saving skills and teamwork.

The event was one of several hands-on competitions at the Maryland Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) spring leadership conference, where about 150 members are vying to represent the state at the national HOSA competition in Anaheim, Calif., this June.

The two-day state conference at the Ramada Inn in Hagerstown will conclude today with an awards presentation and installation of association officers at 1 p.m.

Eight schools from around Maryland are represented in this year's competition, said Regina Grant Cook, state advisor for the 21-year-old student organization.

At least three more schools are expected to join the competition next year, said Cook, who said HOSA membership within the state is growing as opportunities in health-related fields expand.

Washington County is well-represented, with 39 students from the Career Studies Center's health occupations program competing this year, she said.

Students can compete in various ways, including occupational skill demonstrations, written tests, a research-based speech, a display on a health occupation and a fast-paced quiz game, said Marjorie Kellman, a health occupations teacher and advisor for the Career Studies Center chapter.

Career Studies Center senior Megan Nicol won a spot in the national competition by coming in second place in the medical spelling bee on Thursday.

Nicol, 17, of Hagerstown, attributed the win to good spelling skills, not preparation.

"I just decided to do it today," said Nicol, who serves as state HOSA vice president.

Though new to the competition, Career Studies Center juniors Tina Gargano and Jessica Dixon said they came well-versed in the CPR/first aid event's rules and got a jump on their action plan by assigning their roles beforehand.

Gargano had CPR. Dixon had first aid.

Beyond that, the pair had to be prepared for whatever scenario was thrown at them.

"You have to practice for anything," said Dixon, 17, of Sharpsburg, who plans on becoming either a radiologist or obstetrician. "There could be burns, poisoning, lacerations, fractures, anything. You can have shock."

Even with the same condition, treatment approach can change depending on the age of the patient, she said.

After months of fund-raising, study and practice, the competition meant a lot, said Gargano, 17, of Clear Spring, who is leaning toward becoming a dental hygienist.

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