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Thu, Jan. 23

Teens considering medical careers take tour of hospital

Kingman High School students considering medical careers got some insight into opportunities in the community Friday when 15 students toured four departments at Kingman Regional Medical Center.

The tour is one of several Workforce Initiative Projects arranged during the school year by the Mohave County Community Development Department and Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce.

"We're here today to introduce our high school students to what is available in the community as far as finding a job," said Lynne Steiger, program representative with Mohave County Community Development.

Students separated into four groups of three or four each and spent 30 minutes in each department.

Those departments included imaging, information systems, human resources and wellness center.

"I didn't realize how much information they have on computers," junior Diana Valsonis said halfway through the tour.

"They're showing me things that I may choose a career in."

Valsonis made her comments after visiting the imaging and information systems departments, along with juniors Jenifer Grigg and Billi Blair.

"The radiology (imaging department) tour was really interesting," Blair said.

"I think I may choose one of the fields within it as a profession."

Chief technician Ray Eakerns conducted the imaging department tour.

The first stop there was the CT room.

Eakerns told students that is where imaging tests are done on trauma and cancer patients and to look for injuries to a person's brain and spine.

Eakerns said the cardiac catheterization lab is where heart attack patients end up.

Stent procedures can be done there to alleviate occlusions; meaning local residents no longer have to travel to a distant hospital for the procedure.

In one of the X-ray rooms, students were told basic entry-level procedures such as chest X-rays are done.

"If we find a tumor or pneumonia, the patient may go to CT scan where we get more detailed information," Eakerns said.

Students also viewed the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) section.

MRI technicians often go to the emergency room, surgery or to the other floors to help patients, Eakerns said.

"MRI uses magnetic fields and radio frequency signals to produce an image," Eakerns said.

"The room is surrounded by copper shielding to prevent extraneous signals from entering the room."

An aneurysm of the heart is one condition that can be diagnosed with a MRI, he said.

Patients undergoing a MRI must remain still inside a tube.

To help them relax, a variety of musical tapes are available the patient may listen to with a headset and in some cases the patient may be mildly sedated, Eakerns said.

Valvonis, Grigg and Blair then went to the information systems department, where Tom Kern, lead technical systems analyst, greeted them.

"We have a 213-bed facility," Kern began.

"We employ about 1,000 people and 500 of them have daily access to a computer.

There are 400 work stations in the hospital and 35 servers connecting them."

During the tour of his department, Kern told students how patient integrity of records is maintained in the network room.

"After a patient is discharged, three months later we scan his or her records and store them in an optical jukebox," Kern said.

"There are 120 discs in each of the two jukeboxes and both are full, so that tells you how many pictures we have."

Kern also spoke of a new system for faster patient retrieval information in the emergency room that will become operational in February.

He was asked a question about what happens in case of a power failure.

"We have four diesel generators in the basement that kick in after seven seconds," Kern said.

"But we still need power for those seven seconds and the box supplying that power is a Symmetrix UPS."

Students also saw one of 15 "data closets." They facilitate the distribution of information throughout the hospital and are segmented, so if one goes down you don't lose everything, Kern said.

"The tour has been very informative," Grigg said before heading to the wellness center.

"I've learned a lot about different medical fields."

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