'Crash Course' helps students discover new careers in medical field

June 29, 2013 9:01:13 PM

Sarah Fowler - [email protected]


A week-long "crash course" in nursing has set the career path for three Columbus teenagers. 


For the past week, high school seniors Ariana Mays, 16, Ambreauna Brown, 16, and Karigan Johnston, 17, have participated in "Crash Course" at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle. Each of the girls said they had an interest in the medical field before the program but the last five days have solidified their desire to become nurses. 


"I like how they take care of the patients," Mays said. "They're nice and they're calm with them." 


Brown said she has wanted to be a nurse for as long as she can remember. 


"It's definitely nursing for me," she said. "I like interacting with people and helping people. I like helping them get back to their regular self." 


Brown has already decided she wanted to work in labor and delivery. 


"I love babies," she said. "Love, love, love babies." 


Johnston said she, too, wants to work with children. 


"I want to work in the nursery. I like working with the little kids better," she said. 


Escorted by Ashley Dale, a registered nurse at Baptist who now works in the education department, the girls have worked in each area of the hospital, from surgery to labor and delivery to the emergency room. 


"We do a lot of hands-on learning. We do a lot of job shadowing," Brown said. 


The girls are the first high school students to be able to participate in Crash Course. Dale said the hospital sent out information packets to area high schools and only Columbus High School and Immanuel Christian School responded. 


"This is our first year," Dale said. "We had an application packet and we sent it to the guidance counselor or the principal of all the school in the city and county and Columbus High and Immanuel were the only ones who responded. The guidance counselors picked them ­­-- in their case the vo-tech teacher selected them -- and we reviewed their applications and decided to let them come." 


Brown and Mays are students in Columbus High's med tech program at the vo-tech center. 


"My teacher recommended it to me and asked if I wanted to do it. I thought, 'That sounds like a good opportunity for me to actually learn something about what I want to do.' So I took the opportunity," Brown said. 


Brown's desire to become a nurse runs in the family. Her mother is taking the final steps to finish her nursing degree. 


"Since I've been in the med tech class my mom has seen me grow in learning," Brown said. "She started her classes and said, 'You should really pursue your dream because this is something you love to do,' and I was like, 'I know!' So we've been taking some of the same classes. We're on the same path." 


Johnston said her guidance counselor recommended she participate. 


"I figured it would be a good way to job shadow and figure exactly what I wanted to do," she said. "This way you can see everything and maybe if I didn't want to work with the babies I could work somewhere else." 


Dale said the program has helped groom the next generation of nurses. 


"It's nice to see people that are interested in doing what you do. I feel like I am helping the next generation of nurses, as cheesy as that sounds. I know it's a small group, but they're very mature for their age. They're interested and you can tell that they're going to be good at it and I like that." 


In addition to shadowing the daily routine of hospital staff, the girls also got to practice administering IV's on life-like mannequins in the hospital's simulation lab 


"We actually took the time and we went upstairs and got to do a lot of hands-on stuff," Brown said. "I'm a hands on learner so that was for me." 


Johnston said understanding how and why certain procedures are performed made a big impact on her experience. 


"You see more," Johnston said. "You see them actually do the shots and put staples in people. When I was in surgery and they were doing all the instruments that they had all ready showed us, you knew what they were using and you were like, 'Oh hey, I know how to do that.'" 


Mays said anyone who is considering nursing as a career should participate in the Crash Course program. 


"They should do it, definitely. They should really consider it," she said.

Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.