Middle Schoolers Build Healthcare Skills at Camp CARE

Middle Schoolers Build Healthcare Skills at Camp CARE
Shawnee Mission School District

With a parent in the medical field, Tobi Oyetunji was interested in exploring a possible career in healthcare. Oyetunji, an eighth grader at Indian Hills, got the chance this summer as he attended Camp CARE at the Center for Academic Achievement.

The camp was part of Summer Enrichment’s Satellite Classes, offering opportunities for incoming middle school students to explore Shawnee Mission’s Signature Programs. This class focused on Shawnee Mission’s Medical Health Science program. 

“It’s been pretty fun,” Oyetunji reflected. “It broadens your experience. I thought this class would be one thing and it was a lot more than I expected.”

Students responded to simulated emergencies in the medical science lab, practiced emergency response skills, and heard from professionals who visited the classroom. They learned about geriatric patients and aspects of aging and healthcare. On another day, they studied a canine skeleton and welcomed a dog from Unleashed Pet Rescue to learn more about the veterinary field and compare and contrast animal bodies to human bodies. They also learned aspects of sports medicine.

During the week, students also heard from graduates of Shawnee Mission’s Medical Health Science Signature Program. Tristan Mowry, a nurse who cares for newborns and moms in the Kansas City area, spoke to students about her college and career path. She spoke about the education she pursued, her typical days on the job, and answered questions from the students.

Even if students do not decide to pursue medicine like Mowry did, teachers Connie Gandy and Kevin Stalsburg, who instruct Medical Health Science students during the school year, taught the class with overarching goals to help students hone their interpersonal skills.  Most activities required students to practice verbal and nonverbal communication, empathy, and compassion. In at least one emergency simulation, students practiced communicating as a patient and as a responder, asking questions like “What is your name?” “What are you struggling with?” “When was the last time you ate?” The activity required teamwork among the students.

“These exercises help students understand that quality care takes more than one person,” Gandy said. “These are philosophies that will train students well for whatever they choose to do.”

Another goal of the week’s activities was to help students gain confidence in responding to emergencies. Several of Gandy’s Signature Program students have found themselves in real-life emergencies and have been able to assist because of their classroom training.

That was one of the lessons Reagan Estes, Trailridge seventh-grader said she would take away.

“I hope I remember a lot of these skills so I will be able to help other people who need help,” she shared. “I definitely would try to help while I also call for someone who can respond.”