MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - A local program is offering high school students a unique hands-on learning opportunity. This is the second year Carolina Orthopaedics located in Murrells Inlet has hosted its summer Medical Mentoring program for rising high school juniors and seniors interested in a career in medicine.
The program is for Horry and Georgetown County students, and gives them the chance to shadow medical professionals to gain insight into future medical careers.
Shianne Polk is a rising senior at Socastee High School; she has spent her summer participating in the program. "I've shadowed the registered nurses, they prep the patients for surgery, and they look at the patients after surgery," said Polk. "I'm just thankful that I was able to do it and experience everything."
Polk is shadowing in the staff in radiology, learning about taking and reading x-rays. Polk said, "Once you get the feel for how something should look and then you see the x-ray, you can start to tell when something's wrong."
Doctors from Carolina Orthopaedics, says the idea for the program came when they visited an physician's office in Wisconsin. "We thought it would be a great experience for the students in our local community," said Dr. Brian Blair, Sports Medicine Physician, with Carolina Orthopaedics. We thought it would be good for them to be able to see what real life medicine is about - we see it TV, but for them to experience and see first-hand what we do."
Julie Dyer, Program Director for Medical Mentoring, says about 55 students are enrolled in the program for the 2017 summer. It's offered to rising high school juniors and seniors who attend Horry and Georgetown County school districts. The students must fill out an application, and are selected to be part of the program.
Once enrolled, they volunteer 16 hours during the summer to learn more about several medical professions in the office.
Dyer added, "They'll get to shadow in a physician's clinic, they get to shadow a registered nurse, they have an opportunity to shadow in radiology, physical therapy, and administration if they like."
Dyer says the highlight of the program is when all of the students have the opportunity to shadow a surgeon during surgery. "They are standing right next to a surgeon, they're not looking through a window, they're not looking at a monitor, they're actually looking at the patient with the surgeon," explained Dyer.
Dyer says not only does the program introduce the students to new careers in health care, it will hopefully inspire a wave of health professionals that will make up the future workforce in the Grand Strand.
"The program is of course to retain our workforce here in the Grand Strand. We're hoping the students will go through, and may be they'll find out that they don't want to be health field, or they do want to be, but something different than they originally thought. We want them to go off to college get their degree but we want them to come back to the Grand Strand they have such a great advantage they know people they go through this program and get to know seven doctors right off the bat," explained Dyer.
"I think it's really going to prepare me and help to start thinking about what I want to do after college or during college," said Polk.
A graduation celebration will take place Tuesday, September 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Carolina Orthopaedics. Students will receive a certificate of completion and a letter of recommendation from Carolina Orthopaedics.
For more information about the program, or how you can enroll, click here.