HCC College for Kids provides hands-on learning

July 24, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • Nurse Mindy Barnhart talks to ER Academy students Tuesday in the emergency room at Meritus Medical Center near Hagerstown.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Grace Jones of Hagerstown toured the Emergency Department of Meritus Medical Center on Tuesday and said she enjoyed being able to picture what it was actually like.

“We got to see the whole ER and see how it works,” she said. “There’s something always going on.”

Grace, 13, said she wants to be an emergency physician someday.

“You get the satisfaction of helping people in their most critical needs,” she said. “It’s always exciting.”

Grace is a member of the ER Academy, a camp that will last throughout the week. The students in the camp all took part in Tuesday’s tour, which included visiting a room in the ER, showing where minor and critical injuries would be treated, and taking the students to the area on the second floor where LifeNet 81, a helicopter with Air Methods, landed around 11:30 a.m., according to Air Methods flight paramedic Eric Warren.

The students were able to sit in the helicopter and speak with the people who work in it.

“We got to speak with everybody who works with the hospital and actually knows what they’re doing,” Sara Kalbflesh, 13, said. “We actually saw what’s in the hospital.”

Kalbflesh, of Hagerstown, said she wants to be an ER nurse.

The ER Academy uses emergency medicine and health care as a vehicle for team exercises, according to its instructor, Jon Sweeney. The students have been assigned roles of a trauma team in the emergency room, and throughout the week they will research their roles. At the end of the week, the goal is to build a team and perform an mock trauma scenario with actual equipment on a phantom patient in the radiography room at Hagerstown Community College.

“We’ve incorporated health science and nursing students as mentors to come in and present on these different roles,” said Sweeney, who works as a radiographer at Meritus Medical Center and as a lab assistant in the Radiography program at HCC. “I think this will offer the students some insight into the different variety of careers in emergency medicine.”

Sweeney said he hopes the program also offers the students tips on team building.

“Every member of a team is equally important,” he said. “While there’s different levels of investment and responsibility on all teams, everybody works together toward the end goal.”

The camp is part of the HCC College for Kids Program, which offers a wide range of classes to students in grades 2 to 10 throughout the summer in different subjects. It spans five weeks and began in 1987, according to HCC’s website.

Anne Myers, manager in the Continuing Education and Community Services department at HCC, is one of the overseers of the camp and attended the tour Tuesday.

“This is a good opportunity for two community associated businesses to get together and explore health science-related careers,” Myers said. “It’s very exciting.”

Myers said the program, which is for area students, is meant to help young people explore different careers.

“This is a great asset to the community,” she said. “It offers a great opportunity to have fun but also to learn at the same time.”

The ER Academy was for students in grades 6 to 8 and will last from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. all week. Next week will be the final week of the program this summer, according to the HCC website.

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