Victoria College helps area students explore health careers

Morgan Klaevemann and Jackie Gonzalez, both of Refugio High School, and Aaron Cardinale, Lauren Kelso and Deshea Hernandez of Austwell-Tivoli High School listen to Larry Dunn, Victoria College Medical Lab Technology Program chair and instructor.

A handful of high school students and recent graduates gave up fun in the sun to spend four days discovering health careers in Victoria.

Ten students from Goliad, Refugio, Austwell-Tivoli and Gonzales attended the annual Health Careers Exploration & Observation Days event. The event is geared toward students who participated in a year-long health careers class at their school, according to Jody Sanders, senior program coordinator for the Texas Area Health Education Center East - Victoria Region.

“Our focus for this school year was to provide students in our rural areas who may not have specialty clubs or organizations with the opportunity to network with like-minded students who want to enter health professions,” Sanders said. “These students met once a month at their respective schools to learn about health careers and the healthcare industry. The culmination of the year is attendance at the Health Careers Exploration & Observation Days event so they can meet students from the other schools and experience four days of healthcare learning together.”

Sanders said the students explored Citizens Medical Center and DeTar Navarro and were exposed to the educational programs offered at Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria.

“This ‘grow our own’ mindset enables us to plant the seeds of interest in the healthcare industry, and hopefully after completing their education, they will enter the rural and local workforce one day,” Sanders said.

Larry Dunn, Victoria College Medical Lab Technology Program chair and instructor, introduced the students to blood testing procedures. Clad in white lab coats and purple rubber gloves, the students performed blood bank testing exercises using cells, serums, test tubes and centrifuges.

The next stop was a classroom where the students were greeted by Chris Kallus, Respiratory Care Program chair and instructor. He separated the students into groups of two and rotated them through four stations where they learned about lung functions, how to administer oxygen and intubate (insert a tube into a patient), and experienced a vibrating vest used to shake phlegm from the lungs.

Recent Austwell-Tivoli graduate Aaron Cardinale described the four-day program as “amazing.”

“Our high school classes came here on field trips and looked at the Nursing Program, but this is far more in-depth,” Cardinale said of the Health Careers Exploration & Observation Days event. “This has proven to be extremely educational.”

Recent Gonzales High School graduate Rebecca Cockcroft wants to work for a year as a Certified Nurse Aide and then attend Victoria College to earn an associate degree in nursing.

She enjoyed the respiratory care lab where students learned about lung functions, oxygen applications and patient care.
“This has been a terrific experience,” Cockcroft said

DeShea Hernandez of Austwell-Tivoli High School performs a blood testing exercise.

Lauren Kelso of Austwell-Tivoli High School places a tube in a centrifuge as part of a blood testing exercise.
Published: Thursday, 13 June 2013

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