PCC Hosts Camp for PCS Health Sciences Academy Students

As part of Destination Health Careers, PCC Respiratory Therapy Instructor Crystal Spruill demonstrates the proper procedure for intubating patients before giving the Health Sciences Academy students looking on a chance to try it as well.

WINTERVILLE—For the first time since COVID-19’s emergence, Pitt Community College’s Health Sciences Division welcomed Pitt County high school students to campus for Destination Health Careers (DHC).

A two-day camp for Pitt County Schools (PCS) Health Sciences Academy students, DHC gave the college, PCS and ECU Health an opportunity to introduce 36 prospective health care professionals to a variety of medical careers through presentations and hands-on activities.

PCC Health Sciences Dean Donna Neal said Pitt hosted the camp each year between 2010 and 2019. But when the pandemic spread, she said DHC organizers had no choice but to put the in-person visits and demonstrations on hold.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to do it since 2019,” Neal said. “We facilitated several virtual sessions with the academy students during the pandemic, but it’s very difficult to do a health career justice in a virtual presentation.”

Neal said offering students a chance to participate in hands-on activities “really gives them a better understanding of just how many career opportunities are available in health care.” She said it also helps them select careers that fit them best personally.

Nine programs—Dental Assisting, Emergency Medical Science, Medical Assisting, Medical Sonography, Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Polysomnography, Radiography and Respiratory Therapy—participated in this year’s event, which took place in PCC’s state-of-the-art health sciences facilities Aug. 9-10.

“This is such an eye-opening event, a game-changer for many,” said ECU Health Program Coordinator Nancy Turner. “By the time students reach their senior year, they often reflect and reference Destination Health Careers as the most impactful event of their Health Sciences Academy experiences.”

Students agreed. While one was “surprised” by the number of health care career options, another thought DHC was “a wonderful event” that would help with the career decision-making process.