NDSU students teach about health care careers at area schools
Published April 16, 2012
Students in NDSU’s College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Sciences are teaching area K-12 students about health care careers in fun, interactive ways. The six-week, after-school program is called the Great Health Care Adventure.
Twenty Madison Elementary second graders recently graduated from the program. The children attended six sessions where they learned about health careers, healthful choices and medication safety.
The health care sessions are designed to teach the subjects in fun and exciting ways. One session included finding simulated germs, or “glo-germs,” with a black light to show how they can hide on hands even after washing. Other entertaining sessions were working with puppets to see their lungs, looking at an over-sized vein to see what makes up blood, making homemade X-rays, filling prescriptions and learning how to find a pulse.
The purpose of the program is to let elementary students realize that they can go to college, have a successful career and have a passion for science, said Dana Davis, director of recruitment for the College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Sciences. “Our hope is that the students complete the program feeling empowered and excited to further their education and work toward a ‘helping career,’ ” she said.
NDSU students who help with the program have the opportunity to make an impact and connect with children in the community. It also helps them to be more aware of the community they live and learn in and why it is important to teach others these valuable skills, Davis said. Some effects of the program may not be evident until a local student enrolls in a health career major at NDSU because of his or her experience with the Great Health Care Adventure, she noted
The Great Health Care Adventure is also a way to expose students to careers they may not even be aware of that also happen to be shortage areas. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the health care and social assistance sector is predicted to gain 5.6 million jobs by 2020. A health care shortage can be seen in North Dakota already, especially when looking at oil boom cities in the western part of the state, Davis said.
“Rural communities tend to experience shortages in access to health care and health providers,” Davis said. “These programs plant seeds. It would be great to see an inspired student earn a health degree and return to their home community to practice.”
The Great Health Care Adventure has expanded to rural parts of North Dakota. Cities such as Hankinson, Oakes, Carrington, Milnor, Fort Totten, New Town and Bismarck areas have been part of the adventure. There also is a smaller series scheduled for the NDSU Child Care Center.
“My hope is that this program will continue well into the future,” Davis said. “As long as there are funds available, we will get to the schools that request our programs. The response from student participants, teachers, counselors and school officials has been wonderful. “
The program is fully funded by grants from Walgreens and Target and is free of charge to the elementary schools. The healthcare program was started in 2009.