The AHEC Program Experience

By Julia Ferrell

AHEC of a Summer is a three week program organized by the Bayou North Area Health Education Center. In conjunction with the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, AHEC of a Summer is geared for high school students interested in the medical field. Throughout the course of the camp, students shadowed physicians, nurses, and staff in all departments of the hospital, practiced patient-care skills, and participated in a medical based class for a high school half credit. Students learned how to suture incisions, give shots, check vitals, and were CPR certified through the American Heart Association during class time. The overall project of this summer’s AHEC group was about the Opioid Crisis. Students researched guiding questions and created presentations to share in class. Each day students reflected on their daily rotations by sharing the pros and cons of the profession with the class. The rotations not only included direct patient care, but also the more “behind the scene” jobs like Central Supply. Some department rotations included Radiology, General Surgery, ER, ICU, and Psychiatric Ward. Many students agreed that their most favorite departments were Cardiology and Obstetrics. Students also enjoyed a field trip to Bossier Parish Community College, Brentwood Hospital, and Shriners Hospital.

On this trip, students rotated through medical demonstrations at BPCC, a presentation at Brentwood, and a tour of Shriners. Most students agree that waking up early to be at the hospital during the summer was well worth it and an amazing experience. This experience would not have been possible without Bayou North Area Health Education Center, the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, Ms. Sue Ann Taylor, and Ms. Lori Mathews, our Educator.