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to com­plete an ap­pli­ca­tion, along with ref­er­ences from fam­ily and friends and aca­demic rec­om­men­da­tions from guid­ance coun­selors. Stu­dents are re­quired to main­tain a B av­er­age. Par­ents would then ac­com­pany their child to the in­ter­view process, where the stu­dent will be eval­u­ated based on their com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills and ma­tu­rity level. Sixty stu­dents will even­tu­ally make the cut.

“Ma­tu­rity lev­els are im­por­tant be­cause we have to be able to rely on the stu­dents to know what ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior is. We don’t monitor them ev­ery minute, so they have to be able to func­tion in­de­pen­dently,” Tay­lor said.

Stu­dents are di­vided into two groups: the fresh­men and sopho­mores, who at- tend the pro­gram for one week, and ju­niors and se­niors, who at­tend for three weeks. Heavy pa­tient care units are re­served for the older group.

“It’s the sum­mer, and a lot of stu­dents are busy with work, camps, sports and band,” Tay­lor ex­plains. “It re­ally re­quired us to take a look at what we ex­pected out of these stu­dents. That’s why I short­ened the time to two three-week ses­sions and two one-week ses­sions. Stu­dents then have a choice if they want to come for the first or sec­ond ses­sion.”

First time par­tic­i­pants of the pro­gram are as­signed to a depart­ment at Newton Med­i­cal Cen­ter. The ones who re­turn the fol­low­ing year may be given a choice of depart­ment they pre­ferred. How­ever, each depart­ment only has space for one stu­dent, so choices will be limited. Stu­dents will re­main in their as­signed depart­ment for the du­ra­tion of the pro­gram. Some of the most pop­u­lar choices stu­dents pre­fer are in in­tensely ac­tive ar­eas, like the emer­gency room, birth care cen­ter and phys­i­cal ther­apy.

“I was in the pro­gram last year and it was re­ally fun, so I wanted to come back and con­tinue learn­ing,” Robert Hight, a stu­dent as­pir­ing to be a neu­ro­sur­geon, said. “I found out about this pro­gram through my coun­selor. I told her about my in­ter­est and she looked through my grades and told me it would be neat for me to try this pro­gram. And my older sis­ter was in the pro­gram a long time ago, so I thought it would be a lot of fun. And it re­ally is.”

Stu­dents get to par­tic­i­pate in a num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties that pro­vide them with ba­sic knowl­edge in health care, like learn­ing about poi­sonous snakes and their dangers, how to pre­pare nu­tri­tious snacks and the ca­pac­ity of their lungs. They also re­ceive CPR cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. They also give lessons on in­ter­view­ing skills in re­gards to the med­i­cal arena.

One of the more no­table ac­tiv­ity is what Tay­lor calls the “Bed, Bath and Be­yond” ac­tiv­ity. Stu­dents are taught to prop­erly ad­min­is­ter in­jec­tions, read blood pres­sure lev­els, change and fold sheets (with stu­dents act­ing as pa­tients on the bed) and to dress safely in scrubs and gloves.

Stu­dents ac­tively take part in these ex­er­cises, ask­ing many ques­tions. Pamela Brown, a li­censed prac­ti­cal nurse of 20 years, is es­pe­cially im­pressed with the stu­dents that par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram.

“They are very good stu­dents. So re­cep­tive and at­ten­tive — and that’s the best part, that they pay at­ten­tion,” Brown said. “I en­joyed hav­ing them.”

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