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High school seniors travel to UH Elyria to explore futures in the medical field

ELYRIA — Clearview High School students stepped outside of the classroom and into the hospital Thursday for an unusual learning experience.

The students examined the sleep study lab at University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center and were given the chance to intubate a training mannequin — insert a tube into the larynx to assist the patient with breathing — as part of the hospital’s third annual High School Senior Days.

The classes for Clearview and Marion L. Steele High School students were offered Thursday. Lorain County Joint Vocation School students will take part in the program next month.

Pam Garcia, employment representative in human resources for the hospital, said Senior Days allows students interested in the nursing field to receive hands-on instruction.

“They want to learn about each career because they’re getting ready to graduate,” she said. “The teacher can talk all day long about being a respiratory therapist, but they can see what they actually do.”

Garcia said emergency room, LifeFlight, ambulance and physical and occupational therapy classes are offered, as well as classes in nursing, occupational health and employee health.

Many high school seniors who have gone through the hospital’s five-week program continue on to study in their chosen health care field, Garcia said.

Jason Christner, teacher and athletic trainer at Clearview High School, took 33 sport health and fitness students to the hospital Thursday.

“It gives them a little bit of a taste of the real world, of what the health industry is really like,” he said. “(Elyria Medical Center) puts on a great program.”

During the program, Christner’s students were ushered to the patient simulation room — a room used for training by the medical staff. There, they learned how to intubate a patient by using a mannequin.

Clearview High School senior Chelsea Kincer struggled at first to find the patient’s trachea but, after a second try, succeeded in getting air into the mannequin’s lungs.

Kincer said she was interested in a career in nursing, but after Thursday’s session, she may look into a career as a respiratory therapist. She said the hands-on activities were challenging but gave her a good idea of what to expect in the field.

“It was kind of nerve-wracking and kind of fun,” she said, laughing.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

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