RUIDOSO – Nineteen Ruidoso Middle School students aspiring to careers in the medical field were put through their paces Thursday as Lincoln County Medical Center hosted the eighth graders for a day of learning about different health care careers.
From using ultrasound equipment in the Radiology Department to learning how chest tubes are inserted to intubate a patient in the Emergency Department, students were able to meet staff and ask questions about their jobs.
"They're really excited about the experience," Ruidoso Middle School health education and sports medicine teacher Tricia Jameson said about the students. "They're just bright-eyed and taking it all in. They're asking great questions and I'm really thrilled. It's neat to see their wheels spinning."
Jameson said she was delighted when Oberheu approached her about the project. Students accepted for the one-day MASH Camp had to have an interest in the medical field, a solid GPA, behavior record and fill out an application before being accepted to the program.
"I was really thrilled and excited they were going to do it with my eighth graders," Jameson said.
Healing is in middle schooler Kalyn Sainz's blood. Several members of her family are in the medical field and she plans on following in their footsteps.
"I just really like to help people and when I got into eighth grade, I did sports medicine with Ms. Jameson," Sainz said. "That made me want to go into the medical field. I'm an athlete and I would like to help other athletes."
Sainz said she is going to start now to prepare for her future career path which is exactly what Lincoln County Medical Center administrator Todd Oberheu was hoping for when organizing the event.
“It was a great opportunity for our staff to inspire students to pursue careers in healthcare,” Oberheu said. “We hope to see many more doctors, nurses, physical therapists and others from Lincoln County in the future.”
Students also learned about intensive care and how patients are monitored and treated during their stay.
“We wanted to give them as real of an experience as we could,” Nurse manager Sara Proctor said.
Dr. Stephen Otero, medical director for Lincoln County Medical Center, met with the students to discuss the role of the physician as part of the care team. Otero enjoyed answering the students’ questions and added, “I did not have an opportunity like this when I was in school. To see healthcare up close will hopefully help the students decide if healthcare is a future career option for them.”
Like Sainz, student Connor Campbell also has a an eye on a future career in physical therapy.
"I'm interested because I've always wanted to help people," Campbell said.
In addition, LCMC is hosting Stephanie Briones, a third-year medical student from the University of New Mexico. Briones spent lunch with students talking about medical school and what types of classes she took on her path to become a physician.
"I just want to express my appreciation to Lincoln County Medical Center and their staff for giving this opportunity to the kids," Jameson said. "I don't think they realized all the different areas they could go into and I think it will help them figure it out because it starts now."
"I just think it's a great program."