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Students Thinking About Health Care Career Attend 'Mini Medical University'

By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) - It may be Saturday, but several Denver-area students were in class for the Mini Medical University program at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

About 70 high school students attended the daylong program to learn more about the variety of careers in the medical field.

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"We give kids simulated experiences in different areas of the hospital," said Michael Guthrie, the Mini Medical University director. "If they're interested in a medical career, they can get some tangible, hands-on experiences."

Students got a chance to meet emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and learn what it is like to work on board an ambulance.

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D'Evelyn High School sophomore Samantha Johnson attended the program with her sister. She said is interested in going to nursing school one day, perhaps through the University of Colorado.

"I didn't really know you could be a paramedic or EMT while you're in nursing school," Johnson said. "That kind of interested me."

Throughout the day, students met physicians and nurses who work in different parts of the hospital, including in the pediatric unit. One part of the program brought the teens into an emergency room where they learned how to check young patients.

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"They'll also work with an internal medicine physician who will teach them things like blood glucose and how to check blood oxygen levels," Guthrie told CBS4's Kelly Werthmann.

Among the highlights for some of the students was learning how to apply a cast to a broken bone.

"It wasn't too hard," said Emma Khournzhy, a sophomore at Cherry Creek High School. "But it's definitely something I wanted to do."

Khournzhy said she's interested in becoming a surgeon someday because she enjoys learning how to overcome complicated situations.

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"I like helping people so I feel like this is the best way to help the most people," she said.

As students prepare for attending real medical school one day, the hope is the Mini Medical Academy will help them determine which path they'd like to take.

"The medical field is very competitive," Guthrie said. "The earlier students can experience things that can help them make that decision, I think, is very important. We don't have the opportunity to do 'Bring Your Kid to Work Day' because of patient privacy laws, so this really opens that up so kids can get the experience they need."

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children hosts the program in April and November each year, but the program has become so popular organizers are considering holding another one in the summer.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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