decorative image of healthfair3 , Auto Draft 2019-11-08 13:21:33 Published: 11-08-2019

By Mike Suchcicki, Pensacola State College

An emergency medical technician raised an implement for all to see and asked, “Who wants to put a tube in his nose?”

Several of the spectators rushed forward, eager to try.

The technician selected a young woman and showed her how to slip the flexible plastic tube into the airway of the subject, a plastic training manikin. Then he helped her attach a round breathing bag onto the tube, then demonstrated for her how to squeeze the bag.

“There,” he said with a smile as the young woman pumped the bag. “Now you’re breathing for him.”

The young woman smiled and stepped aside for the next in line, one of several dozen high school students from five Northwest Florida counties and Baldwin County, Alabama, who attended the 23rd Annual Pensacola State College Health Career Fair on Oct. 25 at the Warrington campus.

School-by-school, the groups of students rotated among the various departments for demonstrations of EMT, radiography, sonography, dental hygiene, nursing and more.

It was hands-on training, for sure. In addition to tubing and bagging training dummies, students climbed in and out of the ambulance mockup in the EMT classroom, participated in ultrasound demonstrations, watched x-ray devices in action and probed an artificial — but terribly realistic-looking — set of teeth with dental instruments.

decorative image of healthfair1 , Auto Draft 2019-11-08 13:21:41

High school students listen to an explanation of x-rays and radiography techniques at the PSC Health Career Fair

“Lots of great students, a lot of good questions, lots of enthusiasm,” said Harvey Gibbs, a paramedic in charge of the EMT program, as he watched the groups eagerly tackle the hands-on demonstrations. He said the Health Career Fair not only provides the students a glimpse at a possible career, but it also shows the value of the PSC experience.

“They come in to our program normally with no experience, no expectations and in one semester we can teach them everything they need to know to go out and get a job in emergency medical services as an EMT,” Gibbs said. “If they decide they like the field and they want to go further they can return here and take the paramedic program.”

Marie Hattabaugh, program director for the radiography program, said the Health Career Fair always is a success among the students.

“Actually, they’re like, ‘We need more time, we need more time!’ They get disappointed when they don’t have time to go in and make an x-ray.”

She admitted that the students tend to be drawn to the more sensational aspects of the health field.

“They love the gore,” she said with a smile.

Issiah Johnson, a senior at West Florida High School, said, “I’ve been enjoying myself, learning about a lot of majors that I would like to pursue in college. It gives us a lot more hands-on and eye-catching experiences that, honestly, are good for the future.”

His classmate, Madison Couture, said the Health Career Fair was a valuable experience.

“I’m kind of undecided about what I want to do with my future and this is really helping me narrow down my options,” she said.

Their teacher, Jessica Rutherford, said, “It’s wonderful. Some of the kids are undecided at this point in time and maybe they think they want to do something, and something here kind of sparks their interest, and so they may change, just from doing that.”

After the Health Career Fair, Jennifer Ponson, PSC coordinator of Student and Program Outreach, said, “I believe this event, which guides students through most of the health science careers offered by Pensacola State, provides faculty and staff with an insight into the health science programs that they cannot gain in any other way. During lunch we had instructors from the visiting high schools comment over and over about how much fun this event has been in the past and especially this year.”

PSC Health Career Fair fascinates high school students

More than 600 high school students from five Northwest Florida counties and Baldwin County, Alabama, attended the 23rd Annual Pensacola State College Health Career Fair on Oct. 25 at the Warrington campus. Students experienced more than a dozen health career opportunity stations, including EMT, radiography, pharmacy, dental hygiene, nursing and more.

Posted by Pensacola State College on Tuesday, October 29, 2019