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Students get hands-on experience in medical technology

Students learn how to apply casts at the Medical Technology Workshop.

Suturing, casting, taking blood pressures, and giving injections are activities you might expect to see taking place in a hospital. However, on March 22, a few rooms at USU-CEU were transformed and inundated with high school students who had the opportunity to try their hands at all of those skills.

Sponsored by the Utah Center for Rural Health at Southern Utah University and the Utah Hospital Association, and hosted by USU-CEU, the health career day brought together 82 students from Carbon High, Emery High, Green River High and USU-CEU. Students who attended were divided into groups and rotated among six hands-on workshops.

At the Medical Technology Workshop, Bill Palmer, the Laboratory Directory at Castleview Hospital, explained careers available in the laboratory science field. Students also had the opportunity to do a hands-on blood typing activity.

Nurses from Castleview Hospital taught the participants how to suture. Students were taught basic suture knots and worked with suturing instruments as they sutured on chicken wings.

Pre-medical students from the Rural Health Scholars program at Southern Utah University provided a casting workshop, where participants were taught how to put on a basic plaster cast. Students took turns putting casts on each other, and were then able to take their casts home with them.

The USU-CEU nursing program provided a hands-on nursing workshop. Stations were set-up and taught by the USU-CEU nursing faculty. Participants spent time in the nursing department lab and learned how to give injections and proper patient care.

A respiratory therapy workshop was provided by Weber State University students. Participants learned about respiratory therapy as a career, and were able to use some of the tools and equipment that respiratory therapists use. Students were taught how to intubate, and then given the opportunity to practice on provided dummies.

University of Utah medical students also attended and provided a workshop where students learned about medicine. In the workshop students learned about the path to becoming a doctor and then were able to dissect cow hearts with the medical students.

The Utah Center for Rural Health coordinates these regional career fairs through support from the Utah Hospital Association. According to Dennis Moser, Executive Director for the Utah Center for Rural Health and Southern Utah AHEC, "These career days are used as a way to expose kids from rural areas to health care careers. Rural areas have a harder time recruiting and maintaining their health care workforce. If we can help encourage students from rural areas to pursue health care for their careers, they will be more inclined to come back to rural areas to work."

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