A 15-year-old high school student from Natchitoches played the part of cardiologist at P&S Surgical Hospital’s Cardiovascular Lab earlier this week.
Jaylon Braxton and 14 other students from the University of Louisiana at Monroe President’s Academy, a college preparatory program, dissected pig hearts, learned about heart disease, and discovered the heart’s circulatory system by tracking the heart’s blood flow.
Braxton said, “It was really fun and cool because it was something I had never seen before. We got to put on the gowns and gloves and play with real hearts,” he said. “We were able to dissect the hearts and see the arteries and valves and the different things that operate inside of us. So, it felt really surreal.”
Dr. Miles Hilbun, an Interventional Cardiologist on staff at P&S, led the demonstration and shared the excitement of the students, all of whom are interested in pursuing medical careers.
“By far the best part was seeing their enthusiasm, interest, and eagerness to learn about anatomy and the medical field,” he said.
Leah Hawsey, an instructor at ULM’s Kitty DeGree School of Nursing, accompanied the students to P&S and said she “loved seeing the excitement” in the young students.
“They loved being able to interact with the cardiologist and be hands-on with a real heart. It was definitely an amazing experience for our future healthcare providers.”
P&S CEO Linda S. Holyfield, a ULM nursing graduate, advocates real-world experience for young people. She has hosted ULM interns at the hospital for several years.
“We value the opportunity to educate high school students about potential healthcare careers. Our robust cardiovascular lab is an excellent example of the innovation they can anticipate in their own professions. It is vital to encourage our community’s children to imagine their futures.”
By Laura Clark