"AHEC of a Summer" connects students with medical careers - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

"AHEC of a Summer" connects students with medical careers

14 area students are part of the "AHEC of a Summer" program, learning the ins and outs of working in medicine. (Source: KPLC) 14 area students are part of the "AHEC of a Summer" program, learning the ins and outs of working in medicine. (Source: KPLC)
DEQUINCY, LA (KPLC) -

School is out for the summer, but 14 area students are not taking a break from learning!  They are part of an intense, hands-on program showing them the ropes of working in healthcare.

Inside a makeshift classroom at DeQuincy Memorial Hospital, these high school students are immersed in a world that has drawn all of them together during summer break: medicine and the careers connected to it. 

"I just really like science and I like helping people, so it's kind of a combination of both of those things and I just think it's very interesting," said Cane Dickerson, a junior at DeQuincy High School.

Dickerson hopes to become an orthopedic surgeon one day and knows that narrowing his focus in the medical field will save time and money in the college years.

"If you go to college and you go that deep in and then you commit to something else, you just wasted all of that time," he said.  "When you go for what you want, you don't have to restart the program."

For two weeks, these students with the "AHEC of a Summer" program, through the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center, are getting a crash course in hospital operations and medical careers.

Hospital administrator, Dr. Pat Robinson, says this program provides invaluable experience.

"They shadow a different director in the hospital and just see what they do, that's in the mornings," said Dr. Robinson.  "They take field trips in the afternoons, like to SOWELA to look at their nursing program."

Nursing is what South Beauregard High School senior, Ruby Gamez, hopes to do one day.  Her desire grew thanks to wonderful nurses who cared for her as a child.

"I used to have really massive asthma attacks and just seeing how well nurses were able to fix me up, just made me really want to be able to provide that comfort for somebody else," said Gamez.

AHEC of a Summer is open to high school students across Southwest Louisiana each year, with rotating host locations.

Applications for the summer program are available through school counselors in February each school year.  The cost is $15.  

There is also a program called "Day with the Docs."  Students can apply for that in June.

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