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Medical Careers in Action

More than 250 high students in the Fresno area attended a live simulated Medical Career Forum at Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera, on November 2, 2005.

Sponsored by The Coalition for Nursing Careers in California (CNCC), Kaiser Permanente, and Children’s Hospital, the event featured a patient’s experience during an emergency room visit.

The event got off to a rousing start with welcomes by Kathy Johnson, Executive Director of Vital Link, and Jami de Santiago, Adult Services Director of Kaiser Permanente of Fresno, followed by an introduction and orientation of the mission of CNCC from Jean Smithson-Bell, Project Manager, and remarks by Todd Suntrapak, Executive Vice President and COO of Children’s Hospital Central California. Suntrapak explained that the health care industry is the biggest growing industry in America and that by the year 2040 health care spending will increase by twenty percent and will offer a number of health career opportunities. Kathy Johnson set the tone of the event for the morning.

The reenactment was of a 17-year old male on his way home from school who was hit by an automobile traveling 30 mph while crossing the street. An ambulance was called and upon arrival at the scene, the Emergency Medical Technician gave his assessment, stabilized the patient for transport to the ER, and gave the ER team the description of the accident. The patient had lost consciousness, experienced chest trauma, and had a fractured right leg. The medical team was on standby awaiting the patient.

Once the patient arrived at the ER, he was met by a team of medical professionals. Featured careers included a Transport Nurse, ER Nurse, Transport Respiratory Therapist, Health Unit Coordinator, Respiratory Therapist, Emergency Technician/Phlebotomist, Cardiac Stenographer, Medical Imaging Technologist, Echo Technologist, and ER physician.

The purpose of this exercise was to show interested students different aspects of the health professions. All of the health professionals who came in contact with the patient in the ER assessed the patient and then stepped out of their roles to explain to the audience what their profession was, the role they played, the amount of education it took, and what their skill set was.

For example, the ER Nurse specializes in assessing and treating patients of all ages with illnesses and injuries of all kinds. Education is specialized and many ER Nurses acquire additional certifications in trauma, pediatrics, nurse practitioners, and various areas of injury prevention to raise their level of knowledge.

The Transport Nurse, according to Leslie Catron, Clinical Educator at Children’s Hospital Central California, needs the same training as an ER Nurse plus at least five years experience in the intensive care setting with basic, intermediate, and advanced curricula. Transport training is provided by the hospital with extensive orientation and preceptorship before a nurse flies solo—usually two months. A physician may also certify the Transport Nurse to insert chest tubes and umbilical lines, which is maintained yearly.

At the end of the exercise, the health professionals broke up into small groups to interact with the students on an individual basis to answer questions. Students were given resource materials to reinforce the information they heard during the event.

Vital Link of Orange County, California, a non profit organization, was the catalyst to making this reenactment a reality. Vital Link prepares students to match their educational goals to meet the needs and expectations of the business world. To that end, the organization creates opportunities for students to interact with businesses and business professionals.

Release Date: December 21, 2005

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