News Lindsay Guinaugh | 2 years ago

My Journey into a Medical Career

Growing up, I had dreams of becoming a doctor, a singer, an actress, a fashion designer, an astronaut or even a hairstylist. They all seemed so exciting and offered such diverse thrills! Of course, I knew I’d eventually have to choose just one.

By Windy Vang After watching my father struggle with a serious illness – and feeling helpless and sad during his stay in the hospital, I realized that what I really wanted was to do something in healthcare. With really good care, he did recover. I decided I wanted to be in a position to help my father and others. I always wondered what doctors and nurses did on a daily basis. I remember going out one night with my aunt and my cousins and talking about colleges and our career ambitions. I told my aunt that I wanted to do something in the medical field and she recommended I shadow a doctor or a nurse. I remember telling her I thought it was a great idea, though I had no idea how to go about making it happen. One day during school, a woman named Kahra Manji-Nix came into my biology classroom. She talked about the PATCH program (Propelling Adolescents Towards Careers in Healthcare), where 10 students would get selected from West Charlotte High School and 10 from Garinger High School. Those chosen would get the opportunity to shadow various healthcare professionals. Hearing this got my attention! I really wanted to apply for the program. When I got an email saying that I was accepted to participate in the eight-week program, I was incredibly excited. I could not wait for it to start and talked about the program non-stop with my siblings. Beginning with our first get-together, the PATCH meetings quickly became the highlight of my week. I looked forward to seeing everyone each Saturday. For an hour, we worked in groups researching a health topic affecting our communities. My group decided to research marijuana abuse in adolescents. After completing the research, we put our information into a PowerPoint and presented it to the rest of the group on the last day of the program. Through the program, I acquired all sorts of new knowledge and skills. I learned how to do CPR on an adult and on a child. I learned how to correctly use a stethoscope, how to do sutures and that the medical term for tweezers is forceps. I was able to listen to the difference between air flowing clearly through the lungs and the more labored, wheezing sound produced by someone with breathing problems. Thanks to the work we did as a group, I also learned things I never knew about marijuana and how it affects everyone, not just adolescents. The entire program was amazing! I loved all of the activities. One Saturday, we learned how to cast an arm and a leg from the orthopedics team and another Saturday an OB/GYN helped us learn how to use an ultrasound. I also loved how, during lunch, we would have healthcare professionals come and speak to us about their careers.