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High school students exposed to health care careers through Northeast’s summer expos

High school students exposed to health care careers through Northeast’s summer expos

NORFOLK, Neb. – Approximately 60 high school students from across the region had the opportunity to get exposure to various careers in the health care industry recently. Northeast Community College held its annual Health and Wellness Summer Expos on its campuses in Norfolk and South Sioux City.

“Working in health care can be rewarding,” said Dr. Karen Weidner, interim dean of health and wellness and director of nursing. “Through Northeast’s summer expos, students in grades 9-12 explored several health care-related careers through hands-on activities that were led by instructors and health care professionals. It really showcased potential opportunities that can lead to a successful and fulfilling career.”

Four Northeast Community College program areas were featured during each of the two-day expos – Physical Therapist Assistant, Nursing, EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) / Paramedic, and Health Information Management Systems (HIMS).

Students had a chance to participate in hands-on activities, ask questions and learn from professionals in various fields of health care, become certified in cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), meet other students interested in health care, and visit one-on-one with faculty about the college application process, admission requirements and student experience.

The Physical Therapist Assistant activities were focused around a scenario of a patient with osteoarthritis (OA) who had a total hip arthroplasty (THA). 

“The students were divided in groups and each group was charged with a different task of searching and sharing information about the scenario such as: What is OA? What is a THA,” said Laura Schwanebeck, PTA program director/instructor. “One group searched YouTube videos of patients receiving physical therapy after surgery to help paint the picture of real-life scenario.”

After the group work, the students moved into the lab where students practiced activities related to transfer training, donning and doffing compression stockings, patient education, and a progression of physical therapy exercises. The students were given handouts of the information and a crossword puzzle to complete later in an attempt to pull all the information together.

EMS/Paramedic activities focused on a patient in cardiac arrest. Students were divided into groups to practice all of the skills and use of equipment an EMT or paramedic may need to use when called to a scene where a patient has no pulse and is not breathing.

Once the students learned how to assess the patient and start CPR, they learned how to attach a LUCAS mechanical compression device, ventilate a patient with a bag valve mask, insert both oral and “King” airways, place and secure a patient to a backboard, and transfer a patient to an ambulance stretcher and into the ambulance.

Once this was done, Carol Rodenborg, director of the EMS/Paramedic program, said students simulated an entire cardiac arrest call.

“They learned why certain interventions were necessary and how to perform them, and the need for rapid responses,” she said. “They also experienced the amount of bending and lifting a paramedic needs to do, as well as how to make order out of chaos to ultimately save a life.”

In the field of nursing

For the field of nursing, students learned how to properly put on and take off personal protective equipment, administer intramuscular injections, change a wound dressing, and remove staples.

“We wrapped up the day with a virtual Escape Room where students applied what they had learned,” Weidner said. On the second day, students earned a certificate in Basic Life Support.” 

Heather Claussen, director of Allied health, said the HIMS section of the expo focused on helping the student answer the question, ‘What is Health Information Management?’

Students looked at the types careers in HIMS such as Coding and Revenue Cycle, Informatics, Data Analytics and Information Governance,” she said. “For many of them, this was their first experience with HIMs and they had the opportunity to get a better understanding of how Patientcare Records and the Healthcare System work.” 

Students from 26 area communities participated in the two expos. Cities include Bancroft, Bassett, Battle Creek, Clearwater, Coleridge, Columbus, Dakota City, Hartington, Humphrey, Jackson, Laurel, Meadow Grove, Monroe, Norfolk, Oakland, O’Neill, Osmond, Pender, Pierce, Platte Center, Ponca, South Sioux City, Stanton, Tilden, Wakefield, and Walthill.





High school student Clara Brummels from Laurel-Concord-Coleridge High School uses a BlazePod Flash Reflex training device during Northeast Community College’s Health & Wellness Summer Expo on the Norfolk campus recently. Brummels was one of 60 area high school students to participate in one of two expos on the College’s Norfolk and South Sioux City campuses.