CHADRON – Ten Chadron State College students enrolled in the Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP) participated in a Pre-Health Professional Retreat at the Trails West YMCA camp Aug. 11-13 in Scottsbluff.
Kristal Kuhnel, director of Health Professions, said this was first time the workshop was offered for RHOP students from a grant the Northern Panhandle Area Health Education Center (NP-AHEC) provided. The students are Quentin Baxter, Thomas Eckmann, Jessica Hartman, Alisha Huynh, Hunter Masoner, Maggie Morris, Johnathan Sayaloune, Cael Sudbeck, Erika Swires and Tucker Vahle.
Kuhnel, who serves on the NP-AHEC board, said she appreciates the additional resources available through the program has to help identify students interested in health care careers.
“It was such a success that we are hoping to expand it and offer it again next summer,” Kuhnel said.
Sayaloune of Scottsbluff, a senior and president of the CSC Health Professions Club, said he found connecting with incoming RHOP students during the retreat to be valuable.
“It is easy for the older RHOP students and younger RHOP students to become disconnected. We have few, if any, classes together. It was a great opportunity for an upperclassman, like myself, to meet the freshman that are coming in. It is also a great way for them to meet and form deeper connections with the other upperclassmen,” he said.
Retreat activities included team building exercises such as the ropes course at the YMCA camp, and an escape room exercise where the students were required to solve a medical scenario under timed conditions, according to Kuhnel.
A representative with the local extension office taught students about their dominant personality types, how to identify other personality types and tips on how to use each person’s strengths to work effectively in team situations.
Sayaloune said it was helpful to review the importance of group dynamics.
“By understanding that everyone operates differently, group work can become more efficient. Micromanagement and complacency, two of the biggest pet peeves in a group can be avoided if everyone understands that just because a person operates differently does not mean that they are not doing the work correctly,” Sayaloune said.
Trying to bring out each others’ strengths in spite of differences is an approach that can make a medical team successful according to Hunter Masoner of Franklin, Nebraska.
“As someone who is quieter and tries to do things on my own, I can gain a lot by being with someone more social and outgoing,” Masoner said. “Everyone has a role to play, and it is up to us to recognize what needs to be done and makes sure that the best person for the job has an opportunity to do that job.”
Jessica Hartmanof Champion, Nebraska, said she appreciated the advice to obtain a Basic Nursing Assistant (BNA) credential and find a job using it.
“This was very reassuring to me that I'm taking the right steps and will enjoy my future career as a P.A. as I have spent last semester and this one working as a BNA at Pioneer Manor in Hay Springs,” Hartman said.
Like Hartman, Masoner said he also plans to obtain his BNA so he can gain experience and solidify his plans to enter the medical field.
During the retreat, Dr. Barbara Limbach, professor in the Business Academy, provided a lunch presentation about dining etiquette and professionalism. Later, the students toured the UNMC Dental Hygiene classrooms in Gering and had dinner with former RHOP participants and CSC alumni.
The RHOP students were also given an opportunity to work with UNMC-West's new Anatomage Table, an advanced system used for anatomy education and virtual dissection. The group also toured the SIM-NE Mobile Simulation Lab, one of four $1 million mobile units stationed across Nebraska to provide training of pre-hospital and hospital professionals.
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