Recently the Health Careers, Anatomy, and Biology classes of Langdon Area High School taught by Tonia Olson and Linda Hope trekked to the University of North Dakota School of Medicine for a fun day of learning about potential careers.
By Melissa Anderson
Olson’s Health Careers course received an invitation in the mail announcing that the new building housing the UND School of Medicine would be conducting tours for high school students.
“They take a maximum of 25 per tour, and both health careers and advanced health careers classes totaled 9 people, so we invited Mrs. Hope to bring her classes of choice to total 23,” Olson explained.
UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) building was recently completed and is a 325,000-square-foot, four-story building. The new facility allows, for the first time in the schools history, the housing of all of the school’s departments, in one location.
This structure allows the school to fully implement its Healthcare Workforce Initiative, a plan structured to help address the state’s health care workforce needs now and in the future by reducing disease burden, retaining more of the school’s graduates for practice in the state, training more practitioners, and improving the efficiency of the state’s health care delivery system.
“The students and instructors were fascinated with the architecture of the building and all the programs this college has to offer,” Olson stated.
The combined LAHS classes toured the new facility for the School of Medicine on Wednesday, February 15. The tour guide for the group was a Langdon native and informed the group of a brief history of the School of Medicine and what it has to offer students who attend UND.
“This was an exciting opportunity for the LAHS students and instructors due to the minimal tour dates available to high schools,” Olson said.
“I really looked forward to the tour because I’m looking forward to possibly continuing my education at UND Medical School in the future,” Arynn Crockett, a junior at LAHS, said.
The students attended four presentations relating to Anatomy, Medical Laboratory Sciences (MLS), Athletic Training, and Occupational Therapy Programs. Each program presenter was a student/employee of the department, provided an overview of the programs offered at UND, classes needed to obtain the degree and career availability when a degree is obtained. All of the presenters had props and used interactive learning to keep the students’ attention and interest.
Olson noted that the majority of students who attended the tour found the presentations to be very enjoyable with many finding valuable and interesting information presented.
“I really liked the speakers that we got to listen to during the day,” Jacob Delvo, a junior at LAHS, said,” They explained the content well and made it easy to understand.”
The anatomy presentation gave the students hands-on demonstrations by providing a human heart, lungs, kidneys, and, finally, a brain with eyes attached.
“Surprisingly, the lungs were really heavy, and the brain was light. I thought it would have been the opposite in weight so it was really cool to get the hands-on experience with learning the size and shape of the organs,” Jasmin Witmer, a junior at LAHS, said.
The MLS presenter provided an overview of the duties that the field has. The presenter included slides and samples of blood types and disorders for the students as well explaining the process of diagnosing diseases.
“I liked that she had interesting slides to show,” Meghan Charon, a junior, said,” She didn’t make her lesson boring and made it easy to understand. I also liked that she had physical representations that we could look at or smell up close.”
The occupational therapy presentation was another hands-on experience for the students as it gave the students the opportunity to handle some of the tools used to help those in need. Items such as mobility equipment and tactile objects used to aid in patient therapy were available to the students to practice with.
“The occupational therapist told us all about how she specifically works with young children and how the people of her profession help children everyday learn to form the different mobile skills they need to function in everyday life,” Sydney Ellingson, a senior, said.
The final presentation that the students were given was for the athletic training program. The presenter explained to the students the task of her job which, despite its title, does not include actually training athletes but helping athletes prepare before the competition, attend to any injuries that might occur during the competition, and after the competition preventing later injuries.
“I’m interested in doing something with athletic training and physical therapy when I get to college, so I found that very interesting, “ junior Rachel Hill said,” Also, it was cool to see all the places an athletic trainer can work. I never would’ve expected to see athletic trainers with an orchestra or in a car manufacturing factory.”
Many of the students agreed that the trip was worth it and that students should try to attend such tours. The students’ main complaint for the presentations was simply that they wished it had gone on for longer or that more presentation on other fields could have been given.
“I really enjoyed the UND medical morning tour. The amount of quality instructors that we had the opportunity to listen to was phenomenal, and it was very easy to tell that everyone was an expert in their field,” Rachel Cheatley, senior, said.