Editor’s note: This article first appeared on page 31 of the March 22, 2018, edition of the Battle Creek Shopper News. Click here to view the edition online.
While some people are sleeping in on their Saturday mornings, a few dozen Lakeview Middle School students are at Kellogg Community College figuring out how to become the next generation of life savers.
The Kellogg Community College Healthcare Pipeline Project partners KCC with the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine to bring kids face to face with medical students and health care professionals in monthly learning sessions.
The program, which was created with the Battle Creek Community Foundation and the Battle Creek College Access Network, is based on one the medical school already had in the Kalamazoo area.
KCC Occupational Education Director Dr. Chet Dalski said one of the reasons the program was created here is that health care has a problem.
“It’s one that is rearing its ugly head and it’s developing,” Dalski said. “There is a shortage of workers in the health care industry and that shortage is anticipated to grow.”
At KCC, Lakeview Middle School eighth graders get a close look at those jobs. Each monthly session, health care professionals and Stryker medical students work with kids on team-based activities, learning sessions and study parts of the body or medical conditions.
At the February session, the topic was asthma. Activities included working with the KCC Nursing Program’s patient simulator, seeing how hard it actually is to get their hands completely clean, hearing about the day in the life of a nurse and more.
Student Samara Jackson said she liked all of the activities.
“All the nurses are helpful and nice,” Jackson said. “They bring open arms and it’s open to ask questions.”
During the handwashing activity, the students first applied a powder that is only visible under ultraviolet light, and then did their best to wash it off. In a dark room, nurses waited with lights to show the students where they didn’t wash enough.
When the kids saw how much powder was left, there was a lot of “whoa” and “oh man.”
The patient simulator is a model person, or manikin, sitting in a hospital bed while being controlled from another room. The operator speaks through the manikin, telling nursing students about its symptoms. The kids from Lakeview took turns listening to its heartbeat and watched a nursing student administer care.
The day’s activities planted an idea in Jackson’s mind. She’s thinking about a career in health.
“Probably cardiology, or helping cancer patients or nursing,” Jackson said when asked what area interested her the most.
The idea of a student at that age thinking about her future career was remarkable to Lakeview Public Schools Student Support Specialist Alycia Marshall.
Marshall is also the Student Coordinator for Inclusive Excellence and was at February’s session.
“There are about seven of them total who are really saying, we’re sure this is what we want to do,” Marshall said. “And then the fact that there are so many at this age that don’t know what they want to do, what an opportunity this has been to introduce them to so many different areas in a field they may not have ever thought of going into.”
Marshall said students are excited at school about upcoming sessions.
“I’m just thankful because on a Saturday when they could choose to do anything else, they chose to come here every single time,” Marshall said.
The next Healthcare Pipeline Project session will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 21, on KCC’s campus at 450 North Ave. in Battle Creek. A celebration/graduation ceremony for participating students will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. May 19 at the College’s Binda Performing Arts Center, which is located on the North Avenue campus.
For more information about the Healthcare Pipeline Project, contact KCC Occupational Education Director Dr. Chet Dalski at 269-660-2324 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured above, Lakeview Middle School student Van Tling checks the heartbeat of a patient simulator at Kellogg Community College while classmate Sarah Cha and Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine student Zackary Cowan observe.