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Monday, July 2, 2007

UNCP students complete internships in health care

As a part of their journey into careers in health care, eight UNC Pembroke students performed internships this summer.

Kimberly R.. Locklear, Latoria Fulmer, Hillary L. Helms, Samantha N. Lowery, David C. Amadi, Aaron M. Locklear, Leigh A.. Oxendine, Elizabeth K. Locklear and Director Sylvia T. Johnson.

2007 CHSP Students - From left:  Kimberly R. Locklear, Latoria Fulmer, Hillary L. Helms, Samantha N. Lowery, David C. Amadi, Aaron M. Locklear, Leigh A.. Oxendine, Elizabeth K. Locklear and Director Sylvia T. Johnson.

The Clinical Health Summer Internship is sponsored by UNCP’s North Carolina Health Careers Access Program (HCAP). The internships give promising students an inside look at the real world of medicine.

The eight delivered final reports on June 20 and on their research on a health-related topic.

Several of the topics including Samantha Lowery’s were inspired by experiences this summer with patients. Lowery hopes to enroll in UNCP’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and become a physician’s assistant.

Samantha N. Lowery

Samantha N. Lowery

“At Pembroke Pediatrics, we had a lot of patients with respiratory problems and many children with asthma,” Lowery said. “I decided to do research on second-hand smoke because it is more harmful to children whose respiratory systems are not fully developed.”

Lowery said she “was all over the place” at Pembroke Pediatrics, and it helped with her career choice.

“I decided that I still want to be a PA, but not in pediatrics,” she said.

Aspiring pharmacist David Amadi reported on new technology he saw at Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s (SRMC) pharmacy. Amadi, who was born and educated in Nigeria, survey pharmacists at SRMC on their views of technology in the workplace.

“The pharmacists agreed that technology has expanded their role because they have more time to do other things like counseling, disease management and drug therapy monitoring,” Amadi said. “In a third world country, it is quite different with much less time.”

Amadi surveyed the modern hospital pharmacy from the software to Robot Rx, a drug dispensing, computerized robot.

“For me, the technology was surprising,” he said. “I had no idea that hospital pharmacies had such advanced technology that pushed productivity and cost savings so far.

David C. Amadi

David C. Amadi

“At first, I was nervous,” he said. “I thought I was not up to the task of becoming a pharmacist. But everyone was very knowledgeable and helpful.”

Aaron Locklear, who wants to be a pathologist, said he received “full exposure” to family medicine at Maxton Family Practice.

“I saw everything, HIV patients, heart disease and diabetes,” Locklear said. “It was very exciting. One day we had two heart attacks, a stroke and three ambulances.”

But a visit with an Alzheimer’s patient convinced him to learn more about the disease.

“We had a patient in stage III who had to be medicated because he becomes violent,” Locklear said. “Alzheimer’s is the fourth leading killer of the elderly. It’s epidemic.”

Like the other presenters, Locklear used advance technology and showed a video. The presentations are more sophisticated, said Sylvia Johnson, UNCP’s HCAP director.

“We had a group of outstanding students who gained a lot from their internships,” Johnson said. “The program provides a wonderful opportunity for college students to look at a variety of careers in health care and related fields. 

“The students get practical experience, exposure to real-life situations, and the opportunity to make valuable contact with health care professionals by which mentor relationships could form,” she continued. The Clinical Health Summer Program is just one example of how the N.C. Health Careers Access Program is helping to increase the number of racial/ethnic minority and/or individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are trained, educated, and employed in the health professions.

Participants:

  • Leigh Andra Oxendine, a senior biology major from Pembroke, N.C., said the internship was “the best opportunity to gain experience.”
  • Elizabeth Locklear, a senior chemistry major from Pembroke, N.C., said the best part of the internship was “being able to interact with patients. It was a memorable experience.”
  • Aaron Locklear, a sophomore biology major from Maxton, N.C.,  said the internship “opened my eyes to all possibilities.”
  • Hillary Helms, a senior athletic training major from Nashville, N.C., said she “had the chance to experience what PAs do daily.”
  • David Amadi, a sophomore chemistry major from Port-Harcourt, Nigeria, said the “program is an awesome experience for anyone who needs encouragement and motivation.”
  • Latoria Fulmer, a senior biology major from Maxton, said “this experience secured by career goal to become a physician assistant.”
  • Samantha Lowery, a sophomore from Lumberton, N.C., said she received “hands-on knowledge of the medical field.”
  • Kimberly Locklear a senior nursing major from Lumberton, said the “best part was the seeing labor and delivery at SRMC. I loved it!”

For more information about the program please contact: Sylvia T. Johnson, director of HCAP at 910.521.6493.

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