‘Shark bite’ caps career pathway experience

LIHUE — A man who had his leg bitten off by a shark sent Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School students scrambling at Wilcox Medical Center.

Punctuated by squeals, screams and laughter, the team of students worked feverishly to stop the bleeding from the severed leg of a computerized dummy in the Wilcox Medical Center simulation laboratory.

“This is the same sim lab the hospital personnel use to train for real- life traumas,” said Judy Lynch, a member of the Leadership Kauai class, and the CTO reconciliation coordinator at Manu Kai.

Lynch — along with Leadership Kauai class members Joslyn Wong, Ted Faigle, Andy Bestwick, Shale Shore and Kaci Manion — were wrapping up the group’s community project, called Career Roadmap: Healthcare.

Once the “patient” was stable, the eight CKMS students settled down to get a closer look at the dummy during the hands-on experience in dealing with trauma.

“He’s making noises,” one student squealed. “And he’s got holes.”

Joey Stearns, a Wilcox Medical Center nurse, quickly waylaid the students’ concerns, explaining how the dummy, one of three in the sim lab, is able to simulate a variety of conditions requiring attention.

The students were treated to various medical professions and discussions over several weeks to give them insight on careers in health care.

During previous classes, students were treated to visits with chiropractors, an optometrist, opticians and an optometrist office manager as well as visiting with a pharmacist and a surgeon, Lynch said.

“Sharing a close-up view of a variety of healthcare professions — from handling a human spine to practicing surgical sutures — has enabled these students to see their futures in exciting new ways,” Lynch said. “By listening to these professionals talk about their career paths, including years of education, school choices, student loans and family issues, these seventh- grade students have stepped onto the path of their own future careers.”

The pinging and beeps of the dummy hooked up to a battery of instruments was interrupted, triggering the students to leap back into action.

“Call 911,” CKMS student Holly Taguma said while another assessed the patient and prepared to do cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

They were guided by Stearns, who offered tips as the students lined up to relieve their classmates.

Bestwick, the Wilcox Foundation development officer, said helping the students was an honor. “These intelligent and engaged students will go on to doing great things in whatever career they choose.”

Faigle, the CEO of Kauai Digital Marketing, agreed that the future is bright.

“It was a delight to assist these bright, talented Chiefess students to explore some possible healthcare career opportunities on Kauai. We are hopeful this pilot program may be extended to other career fields and schools in the future,” Faigle said.

Lynch said there are few things that can warm one’s heart as much as making a difference in the life of a child — “Those hugs on graduation day were pretty awesome.”

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