Marian U. health care camp gives teens hands-on experience

The camp allows students to explore future health care professions such as nursing, medical practitioners, research scientists, and exercise science specialists.

INDIANAPOLIS — Reya Dukes is an upcoming senior at Pike High School with dreams of going into nursing. She loves how the human body works.

“I think it’s just intriguing, you know, how we can do all these things and perform all these tasks and why not know why,” said Dukes. “And you’re helping people in the process, so it’s just cool.”

Dukes joined other central Indiana high school students this week at a health care camp at Marian University. The camp allows high school students to explore future health care professions such as nursing, medical practitioners, research scientists, and exercise and sports science specialists.

Students got hands-on experience in a hospital-like setting, with rooms mitating doctor’s offices, an emergency room and more.

“I try to take the opportunity that I’m handed and just run with it,” said Dukes.

On Thursday, students watched a medical simulation of a patient in cardiac arrest.

“When I first saw it I was like, ‘Whoa, this is a lot!’ But it’s kind of neat to see, like, that’s what the doctors have to deal with,” said Leon Baumer, an upcoming senior at Noblesville High School.

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This is the second annual Healthcare Camp at Marian University.

“We made a pitch to the Tom Wood Family Foundation two years ago because we had been struggling to increase the numbers of diverse students, the students who came from underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds into the health professions, specifically our medical school and our nursing school, said Clint Whitson, assistant dean of student affairs at Marian University. “We believe the pool of candidates we’re trying to attract is too small so we want to do our part in raising up our own pool here locally.”

Whitson said during camp, students never sit down for more than 30 minutes.

“I was taking notes in all the sessions that I could,” said Dukes.

“It’s really cool to see different types of medical careers,” said Baumer. “Like I never knew there was an endocrinologist and the difference between an osteopathic pathway of medicine and allopathic medicine. Like, I never thought of that.”

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Students also got to perform clinical skills, such as splinting broken bones or assisting with basic sports medicine diagnostic exams.

“We’re learning about asthma today and mental health other days,” said Dukes. “They helped us learn about suicide prevention, because it is a part of health care that needs to be talked about more. There’s so many different aspects of health care that aren’t talked about, different fields that people don’t know about, so they were just going in depth with that.”

The camp runs through Friday.

“I’m kind of sad it’s coming to an end, but with that I’m able to take the information that I’ve learned and hopefully apply it to like, ‘OK is this what I really want to do,'” he said Baumer.

One day these teens could be the future nurses and doctors of America.