'Mini-Med School' gives Northridge middle school students a glimpse into careers in medicine

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. (KABC) -- What's it like being a doctor or nurse? More than 50 kids from Northridge Middle School got an up close and personal look thanks to a program called "Mini-Medical School."

Many of the seventh- and eighth-graders got a taste of what it's like to be in medical school.

The students even got some hands-on experience, getting to see how an ultrasound is performed on a pregnant woman. They watched in fascination as experts explained how through an ultrasound, you could see a clear picture of the baby.

"It was pretty interesting how you can see the baby move," student Armando Victoria said. "You can see the heart, the stomach, the bladder, the liver."

Armando and his classmates learned some facts about an infant's development inside the womb, like how they get fed, and what happens to their liquid waste.

The answer? The baby drinks it. That definitely surprised most of the students.

Doctors at Dignity Health Medical Group hold these yearly seminars regularly.

The hope is to inspire some of these teens to go into medicine.

After a brief introduction, the students went to different stations to learn different skills.

At one, doctors demonstrated things like the proper way to wrap a bandage around an injury.

Fourteen-year-old Diana Laguna was intrigued by all the things offered by the workshop.

"We're going to dismember a body, like a statue kind of thing, and we're going to put the organs back in order," she said.

Laguna is positive she wants to be either a doctor or a veterinarian.

"I want to learn and go ahead, by memory, already know where all the organs are," she said. "That way I can help someone."

And many of the kids attending this "Mini-Med School" come from families where there's limited access to health care. So being here, in a comfortable setting with doctors, also helps promote their own family's health.

"Just knowing some basic things that go on in medicine can always help," said Dr. Rebecca Cho, who took part in the event.

Besides the ultrasound and basic first aid, students also learned more about how the heart works, and blood pressure measurements are taken.

Diana believes she's getting a peek into her future.

"I want to do something big," she said. "I want to save lives."

The Dignity Health Foundation covers the fees for the program so that school budgets aren't impacted. Students feel it's a great investment.
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