More than 110 students from the Plano Health Sciences Academy got a taste of what health-related careers are like in the real world as they toured the Central Park Campus laboratories.

The high school students scrubbed up as they toured the simulation lab, worked with respiratory equipment and learned about the different careers the health sciences discipline encompasses. The Plano Health Sciences Academy and Collin College collaborated to create the event, said Collin College outreach and student success coordinator Katie Narvarte.

“This tour thrusts students into simulated situations that they may encounter later in life in their careers,” Narvarte explained. “Through our labs and equipment, they’re gaining valuable experience.”

Students attended different sessions featuring Collin College faculty and staff demonstrating and exploring careers in surgical technology, dental hygiene, respiratory care, health management, polysomnographic technology, emergency services and more.

For Health Science Academy student Sonya Jennings, the tour provided an eye-opening experience.

“I learned how scary it can be when you’re in a high-pressure situation working with someone,” Jennings said. “But I got a lot of really good experience, and I was even able to work with trachea tubes.”

Health Sciences Academy student Estefania Del Angel said actually being in situations made the hypothetical feel real.

“You really do feel like you’re in the environment and that there’s pressure,” Del Angel said. “We were able to listen to actual sounds of breathing and work with real equipment used in tracheotomies. ”

For Health Sciences Academy student Emmanuel Alvarez, the vastness of the health sciences field is a plus.

“For a while I’ve been thinking that I want to be a pharmacist,” said Alvarez. “But after today’s sessions, I want to change to health information management. I really feel like I can help people that way.”

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the health information management field will grow 21 percent between 2010 and 2020, making it one of the country’s fastest-growing health careers. Overall the health sciences field is projected to be one the country’s top career fields, with 17 of the 30 fastest-growing jobs in health sciences- related fields.

Collin College is constructing a new Health Sciences Center at the Central Park Campus to train students for this growing field.

“The health science field is really a great option for any student to consider,” Narvarte said. “The possibilities are limitless.”

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