News: Medical career-minded students visit 62nd Medical Brigade
Story by Sgt. Mark Miranda
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Fourteen students from Rogers High School in Puyallup, Wash., visited JBLM March 9 to learn about careers in the medical field offered through the U.S. Army.
It was an opportunity provided by the school’s Health Occupations Students Association program, a national student organization that promotes career opportunities in the health care industry.
The visit provided an overview of the U.S. Army Medical Evacuation System, and the students also observed demonstrations of simulators used for training health service support personnel.
“What we want to get across to these students is that our medics are directly involved in saving lives. This job is rewarding, and to know that the survivability of soldiers increases significantly because we get to them in time makes this one of the best jobs,” said Capt. Mark Knight, an aeromedical evacuation pilot assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 62nd Medical Brigade.
The first stop for the HOSA group was a Washington National Guard hangar facility used by C Company, 1st (General Support) Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment, to see a static display of a UH-60 MEDEVAC Blackhawk helicopter.
“The students get a chance to see the aircraft we use for MEDEVACs, talk with the crewmembers and flight medics and gain an understanding of their occupations,” said Knight.
Pilots and Staff Sgt. Rob McHaney, a Washington Natl. Guard flight medic, answered questions from the students, who were then invited to sit aboard the aircraft and handle some of the equipment used for MEDEVAC operations.
“My dad is a firefighter, so that got me hooked on helping others in the community along with my interest in the medical field,” said Chase Woolley, a 10th-grader.
“I’m with the Fire Explorers program; it prepares those interested in a career with search and rescue, firefighting, or as emergency medical technicians. It’s been great seeing the equipment and learning about Army MEDEVAC procedures.”
From the repair hangar, the group moved to a UH-60 simulator at the Mission Command Training Capability facility. Small groups took turns sitting inside the simulator, as instructors worked the controls and discussed the training that Army helicopter pilots receive.
The students’ interest in the medical field ranged from veterinary medicine and nutrition to nursing, physical therapy and more. A few students expressed interest in starting medical careers with the Army.
“I never knew much about medicine until (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) opened my eyes. Medicine is so difficult and challenging – I love that about it – so being an Army medic is something I’m seriously considering,” said Ronika Devi, an 11th-grader who plans to go to the University of Washington, Seattle.
The Andersen Simulation Center, part of Madigan Healthcare System, was the final stop for the visiting group. The facility’s 8,000 square feet of training space and simulation equipment offers training from basic medical skills to full-blown trauma scenarios.
“We want to show that medicine involves work beyond the hospital, and we can show a different perspective from the military. Whatever route these students want to go, we want to help them see that opportunities are vast – that they’re everywhere,” said Col. Carolyn Jolitz, chief of clinical operations for 62nd Med. Bde.
The idea behind HOSA is to provide opportunities for knowledge, skill and leadership development for health science/technology education students. The visit to JBLM is one way to help HOSA students by showing them what medical careers the Army has to offer.