Victor Valley Medical Assisting students lend their skills to local health fair
This year’s Hinkley Family Health and Resource Fair got a definite boost from 18 Medical Assisting students attending from SJVC’s Victor Valley (Hesperia) campus. The annual fair provides health screenings, flu shots, blood pressure checks, height/weight/BMI measurements and other medical evaluations at no cost to the invited public.
Food, games and fun freebies were also provided that kids in attendance especially enjoyed.
SJVC students had a booth where they provided blood glucose and cholesterol screenings and practiced their patient care and communication skills. “Our Medical Assisting students got to have the experience of working with real patients instead of each other,” says Stephanie Rutherford, Medical Department Liaison and Medical Assistant instructor, who supervised the students. “It was more of a real-world situation, working with people with real medical issues.”
Over a dozen other medical and business volunteers made the day both educational and fun for the attendees. The Hinkley Fire Department’s Station #56 was there to inspire all the future fire fighters and emergency crews still playing with toy versions of life-saving equipment. Many other vendors provided kid-friendly entertainment, such as slime-making lessons, while raffles gave away fun prizes.
SJVC students were down to business when face-to-face with a “patient,” however. “This took them out of their comfort zone of doing this in class, so they were a little nervous,” says Stephanie. “But it was a good nervous, and they were excited to use the skills they had learned in class.”
SJVC has always had a strong commitment to introducing students to the many benefits of volunteering. “Not only does it let them use their skills, but they get to know the types of people in their community and how to interact with them,” says Stephanie. “They take the time to do this knowing it will not be reimbursed financially. They learn the soft skills of developing communication with a patient and relationships that they can’t necessarily learn from a book.”
“The Hinkley Health Fair is one way to educate people about health problems to (becoming familiar with) community groups available to people around their community,” says Ana Moreno, Medical Assisting student at SJVC. “It’s a start for them to get regular check-ups from their doctors.”
Jill Melbye, a representative for the fair and spokesperson for its host, PG&E, was very appreciative of SJVC’s student participation. “Notable this year were your students from SJVC and the increased types of free health checks we were able to offer because of their participation,” she wrote in a follow-up letter to Stephanie. “Attendance, flu shots and other statistics are up – in large part due to San Joaquin Valley College’s support and participation. Thank you for being there and helping to make it happen!”
This was SJVC’s first time to contribute their health services to the Hinkley Health and Resource Fair, but the positive experience will set future participation into motion. “I plan to take students back again next year – and volunteer them for anything in between,” says Stephanie. “Any time I can get students out there in situations like that, I’m glad to do it.”
First-hand experience is one of the best teachers.
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