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Pee Dee AHEC Health Careers Program Highlights

Pee Dee AHEC Summer High School Health Careers Exploration Experience



During the third and fourth weeks of June, Pee Dee AHEC’s Health Careers Program hosted high school students from Florence and surrounding counties to explore health science careers.  Students gathered together from Dillon, Cheraw, Horry, Florence, Williamsburg, Darlington, and Marion counties for a week packed with professional presentations, academic advising, hands-on simulations, soft skills workshops, clinical observations and reflection.  

During this experience, students heard the personal testimonies and career path stories of a variety of healthcare professionals including a workplace safety coordinator, clinical pharmacist, pharmacy student, medical laboratory scientist, three NICU nurses, four athletic trainers, and a child life specialist. With these mentor sessions, the students participated in hands-on career simulation labs where they worked in teams to solve problems and overcome hurdles that are common to the professions presented during the week. Students participated in daily soft skill workshops on topics such as cultural competency, interviewing skills, college/future planning, and personal, professional and online image. To culminate the experience, each student was scheduled to observe with five different clinical areas at McLeod Regional Medical Center, focusing both on passions they knew they already had as well as exposure to careers that were new to them. 

Overall, Pee Dee AHEC ran this camp for two weeks, serving 26 students across two cohorts from seven counties. The entire group of students came together on June 28 and shared lessons learned and new passions discovered. According to exit survey data, students look forward to returning to the Health Careers Program next summer and plan to take advantage of other AHEC pipeline services.


Pee Dee AHEC Health Careers Students Work Community Event: McLeod Children’s Hospital Back to School Bash



On August 3, Pee Dee AHEC Health Careers Program (HCP) students teamed up with McLeod Children’s Hospital to help facilitate a community wide Back to School Bash in downtown Florence. The event was organized by the McLeod Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Specialist, Olivia Whatley, who is often a mentor, speaker and preceptor for Pee Dee HCP students. The students who volunteered to work this event were from this year’s Summer Health Careers Exploration Experience camp, as well as from the Florence One Health Science Work Based Honors class. The students came out and worked booths for Florence County DHEC, Mental Health America, Lighthouse Ministries, Florence City Police Department, Florence City Fire Department, McLeod HeartReach, McLeod Safe Kids, and McLeod Sports Medicine. The students also participated in face painting, registration, and diabetes awareness events.  

At the Back to School Bash, families were offered health education and valuable resource materials, as well as free school supplies. The event also served as a platform to provide students and families with introductions to student services and professionals available throughout the school year. Participating in this event was a great opportunity for HCP students to network with health professionals while being an active part of a community event that touched and informed local families. 

To learn more about the Pee Dee AHEC Health Careers Program, please contact Pee Dee AHEC Health Careers Program Coordinator Matthew Peake or visit the Pee Dee AHEC website.

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