August 7, 2008

Scrub Club Explores Health Care Occupations

By Ann Bryant

FARMINGTON - Suturing a pig's foot, setting a cast or cutting and sewing used T-shirts into diapers for babies in Nicaragua are a few of the activities 42 area high schoolers are undertaking this week in the Scrub Club at Franklin Memorial Hospital.

Students from schools in Dixfield, Rumford, Jay, Livermore Falls, Farmington and Salem Township are participating in the program that gives them a chance to explore health occupations.

"Health careers involve more than just nurses and doctors," said Jodi Cordes, FMH event coordinator. "People from our information system and maintenance department will show different kinds of things that happen at the hospital and how many jobs are available. ... we need everyone to do what we do."

Scrub Club was offered by FMH two years ago with 15 participants. This year the hospital partnered with the University of Maine at Farmington program GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduates Program.

The students, 8th- to 10th-graders, will gain an understanding of careers available in the medical field this week and become certified in basic first aid as they learn techniques to help in emergency situations. On Wednesday morning, one of the four teams was learning what to do when a diabetic's sugar level was too low.

The teams of about 10 rotate activities throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Each team wears a different colored scrub or top.

Volunteers from the health field and the university are giving presentations to the teens this week, Fellman said.

"Whether it's a professor or a hospital employee ... they're all gaining too from their presentation to the youth," she said.

Students participated in a mock accident at the hospital on Monday, rode in wheelchairs Tuesday to better understand disabilities and participated in cardiopulmonary activities Wednesday. They were also learning basic medical terms in sign language to help in case they deal with a deaf patient.

And Dr. Connie Adler and Deb Mallett introduced them to a project that will help babies in a third world country. About 600 used medium and large size T-shirts were collected and students are cutting the top and sleeves off then sewing around the edges to make a diaper, said Amy Gatchell, a staff member from the UMF program.

Adler will bring the diapers to Nicaragua where women will tie them around the baby's waist for lack of safety pins.

Students are also working on projects for a local nursing home. Some were cutting and pasting items to create colorful picture frames and decorate flower pots for the nursing home's dining room. Others read and recorded articles from hunting and fishing magazines for male patients.

Originally published by Staff Writer.

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