In early April the Lincoln Academy Anatomy and Physiology class took a field trip to the Miles campus of Lincoln Health. Students toured the hospital, learning about the many different roles played by various medical and support professionals in the health care system. The trip was initiated by instructors Maya Crosby, an LA faculty member, and Eric Duffy, an emergency department nurse at Lincoln Health who co-teaches the LA Anatomy and Physiology class.
“Our goal was to give students a chance to be exposed to a variety of medical occupations, all of which require a strong understanding of anatomy and physiology,” said Duffy, who, in addition to being a Registered Nurse, is also a Wilderness EMT and instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates International. He has more than 15 years experience teaching courses in emergency medical care that has been adapted for remote settings with limited resources.
LA’s Anatomy and Physiology course has a different focus than a typical college prep high school course. Duffy explains, “Instead of dissecting various things, as the students do in college Anatomy, we saw inherent value in teaching applicable and helpful skills, knowing that any and all medical training students receive after this can only build on a solid base of first aid. Taking a tour of a nationally-recognized medical facility seemed like a great opportunity.”
In preparation for the trip to Lincoln Health, the LA Anatomy and Physiology class created a case study, taking a local “patient” who slipped and fell on the ice and broke a hip from EMS pick up all the way through until the patient was discharged to the care of her primary care doctor and follow-up physical therapy.
This imaginary patient’s care during her ambulance ride, surgery, and recovery involved a large number of medical personnel. “The students were surprised by how many different occupations played a role in her recovery and rehabilitation,” noted Duffy. “EMS handed off to the Emergency Room, handed off to the Operating Room, handed off to medical/surgical unit, handed off to a skilled nursing facility, and then home and outpatient therapy. Doctors and nurses are obvious participants in this, but along the way the patient was also supported by ER techs, surgical techs, CNAs, cardiopulmonary techs, radiology techs, nutrition experts, occupational and physical therapists.”
This exposure to the complexity of health care and the integrated role of the allied health sciences offered an opportunity for students to observe not only medical procedures, but also multiple career opportunities along the way. During their hospital visit the students were broken into small groups, and escorted by senior members of different departments, including Becky Banks from the Women’s Center and General Surgery, and Pam Hepburn from radiology. They toured the first two floors of the hospital and met with a combination of managers and bedside staff from pharmacy, OR, day surgery, medical/surgical, ICU, ER, radiology, and ultrasound.
Participants from the hospital staff were asked to share with the students how their work fit in the continuum of care, what sort of coursework and degree they pursued to become a professional in their field, what role role anatomy and physiology play in their work, and, most importantly, what they like about their jobs.
“It was fantastic to have the Lincoln Academy students on campus,” said Cindy Wade, Senior Vice President of Lincoln Health. “The case study was the perfect way to show kids how many opportunities there are all along the healthcare continuum. I think it was eye opening for the students to see how many people are involved in hospital work aside from nurses and doctors… Experiencing something like that through the case study helps them understand the system so much better.”
At the end of the tour, the students met with Wade and Chief Nursing Officer Christine Anderson, who talked about the various educational opportunities available to LA graduates in the allied health sciences, and the role that Lincoln Health and its employees play in the community.
Maya Crosby said, “The students learned a huge amount about health care fields and further study in health and medicine, and I learned about a profession I didn’t even know existed!”
Crosby also mentioned that she was happy to see many Lincoln Academy alumni working in various capacities in the hospital, including a recent nursing graduate. “I feel that we need to do a better job of raising awareness of all the careers available to students right here in our own community. Many jobs only need a two year degree that students can begin while in high school, and with a low cost,” Crosby added.
Lincoln Academy is exploring the possibility of offering a certificate program in Allied Health and Medicine. “If we move ahead with the Allied Health program, it will be a sister program to Lincoln Academy’s other STEM certificate program, in Marine Science. The field trip to Miles was part of exploring the possibility of this new program. We are grateful to Lincoln Health for making this day possible, especially since it was a very busy week for the hospital staff as they transitioned to a new computer system.”
Wade was happy to accommodate the field trip. “It was a great opportunity for us to educate young people about the career opportunities right in their home town. We want them to know that there are jobs for them here, so that hopefully they will choose to stay here, have families, and eventually send their own kids to Lincoln Academy!”
How did the students feel about their tour? LA junior Kevin Fitzpatrick said, “it was very informative, and broadened my view of the medical field.”
Senior Nicole Vess agreed. “I learned about new job opportunities that I didn’t know about before.”
Junior Zoey Sewell’s favorite part was a demonstration of some of the hospital’s diagnostic equipment. “We got to see inside Mr. Duffy’s carotid artery!”
Duffy felt confident that the field trip served its purpose. “My impression, and the feedback I’ve received from both students and adults, is that it was a great success. Several hospital staff said, ‘Wow! I wish I got to learn that when I was in high school!’ Several students expressed interest in the range of disciplines and occupations they could pursue in the medical field. Some have asked about job shadowing, and at least one student has already set one up!”