A patient in an operating room at West Columbia’s Lexington Medical Center is facing multiple health care challenges – including the need for dialysis treatment. Before this treatment can begin, though, a serious situation must be resolved. A blood clot has formed near the patient’s heart – and that clot must be removed in order for the dialysis treatment to work.
The surgery to remove this clot will obviously help the patient – enabling them to undergo life-saving treatment. But in this case, the procedure will also benefit thousands of patients in the years to come. That’s because an eager group of bright, young students – including 18-year-old Katie Gandy – are observing it as it happens on a live video feed.
“They put all these tubes in, and they put in stents, balloons,” explained Gandy, a Midlands area South Carolina student.
Gandy watched the surgery on a monitor while it was being performed. Describing the scene several hours later, the excitement was still palpable in her voice.
“I got to see a blood clot that was unclotted,” she said. “It was just so cool to see it happening right before my eyes!”
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Gandy is a rising senior at River Bluff High School in Lexington, S.C. She was one of several dozen Midlands area high school students who participated in this summer’s Partner’s Program at Lexington Medical Center.
For more than two decades, Lexington Medical Center has opened its doors to high school seniors in the Midlands area interested in pursuing careers in the medical field. Seventy teenagers received internships through the facility’s Partners Program this summer – positions which were supported with funding from the hospital’s foundation.
“Lexington Medical Center hopes the Partners Program inspires students to be passionate about careers in health care,” said Marquita Gaines, workforce coordinator. “One day, when they finish their education, maybe they can return to Lexington Medical Center to take care of people in the Midlands for generations to come.”
Forget streaming Grey’s Anatomy, The Partners Program allows aspiring medical practitioners to see real-life treatment and care in action. In real-time. Participants were sent through clinical rotations, participated in interactive workshops and took field trips. Rotations included an array of clinical areas including imaging services, physical therapy, orthopedics, nursing, the emergency department and more.
For students like Gandy - who has already decided she wants to become an orthopedist - the internship provided an invaluable glimpse into the field where she plans to work one day.
“I'm learning so much more than I would in just a normal classroom,” she explained. “And that's what I really like about the Partners Program. It's benefiting me by giving me personal experience with medical professionals.”
“It’s really enjoyable when students are interested in what they’re seeing,” Dedmond said.
Watching an expert in action was an eye-opener for Gandy, who has a special interest in treating patients with bone fractures.
“The coolest thing I saw in the ortho and sports medicine department was definitely what Dr. Dedmond did," she said. "I am very interested in breaks, and I saw a full break through the lower leg in one of the X-rays, and it fascinated me. Seeing a full break, I could ask Dr. Dedmond, ‘How does this affect the patient? How are they going to be treated for this? Do they need specific help, (including) therapy?’ I can ask questions to see how their recovery will go.”
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The doctors and other medical professionals who will be treating us during the second half of the 21st Century are just beginning their studies today. They face a long road ahead - with many years spent in the classroom and in hospital rooms. For some, the very first steps toward their ultimate career destination were taken with the Partners Program.
“I was able to see the reality of a hospital,” Gandy said. “I can say that I want to be an orthopedist, but how do I really know that I want to be an orthopedist if I don't know the reality of what they're doing in the hospital - and how can I know that if I don't know what they see on a day-to-day basis? So, that's what I love about the Partners Program. It has benefited me because I got the reassurance that I want to be an orthopedist. That is how it benefited me - giving me that important reassurance throughout this entire process.”
Those interested in participating in the Partners Program must meet the following criteria:
- Lexington or Richland County resident or attending a school within one of the Lexington or Richland School Districts or a dependent of a Lexington Medical Center employee.
- Rising high school senior at the time of application submission.
- 2.5 GPA based on a 4.0 scale.
- Demonstrate sincere interest in a health care field or working in a hospital setting.
- Must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Applications for the Partners Program are typically received during January and February of each year with the program running in June and July. Also, participants will be eligible to apply for a $1000 scholarship to the college or university of their choice upon their high school graduation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ...
J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at [email protected].
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