Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Medical Summer Camp Gives Students Hands-on Experience

Tulsa World
By SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Published: 6/22/2011  2:22 AM
Last Modified: 6/22/2011  2:34 AM

It's one thing for a student to be told how to treat and dress a wound. It's another for the student to practice it hands-on, complete with fake blood.

High school students from across the state have been studying math and science this month by learning how they are applied when working in the health-care field.

The five-day summer camp is hosted by Tulsa Community College's Area Health Education Center and is serving about 50 students who went through an application process. It is funded through a grant from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

At the end of the camp, which is free to attend, the students get a $150 stipend.

"They're learning that math and science are crucial," said Pat Turner, director of the Area Health Education Center.

Students are learning how to suture, do mathematical conversions, write prescriptions and perform DNA extraction.

The camp also includes guest speakers such as medical students, emergency medical workers and a dental hygienist.

The key is letting students practice with realistic situations, Turner said.

"They love the hands-on activities," she said. "The gorier the better."

Phillip Ngo, a senior at Bishop Kelley High School, said dressing wounds with fake blood has been his favorite activity so far.

"It's been more than just sitting at a desk, which is great," he said.

Tuesday morning, the students were in a lab at TCC's Southeast campus, getting ready to study the enzymes in cheese-making.

Suzanne Jackson, a chemistry teacher at Booker T. Washington High School and an instructor at the camp, said the hands-on learning goes beyond what students can get in regular cash-strapped classrooms.

Teaching them how the things they learn during class can be used in the real world will give them a reason to pay attention and continue studying, she added.

"If we can give them application, they have motive," Jackson said.

Turner said getting these students interested in the medical field is crucial to helping increase the number of health-care workers in the state and the nation, which are both facing shortages. The students will also learn about medical careers beyond being a doctor or a nurse.

Attendees will also learn about applying for college and getting financial aid. Throughout the school year they will have opportunities to tour other colleges and medical programs, she said.

Michella Wilson, a junior at Booker T. Washington, said she wants to be a pediatric surgeon and is learning a lot about what she needs to study to achieve that.

"I've never done anything like this before," she said.

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