Career fair aims to spark interest in health care jobs

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - They are only in high school right now, but they could one day help save your life. Tuesday, more than 2,000 students took part in a career fair in Pascagoula, focused on the health care industry. And unlike your typical career fair, this one put students in what looked like a real hospital.

"Bring it down and bring it up and forward," the doctor told a student, as she held on to a metal clamp.

They tried their hand at inserting a breathing tube down a pretend patient's throat.

"Oh, I just broke some teeth," the student said.

They also tried on the latest life-saving gadgets.

"It feels like a massage," a young man commented as he wore a vest that vibrated to force patients to cough.

More than 2,000 high school and middle school students from across South Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama, took part in the Singing River Health System Health Care Career Fair. They talked to doctors and nurses and the people who help keep a hospital running, like food services.

"We are able to show them things such as Bio Medical Engineering, where maybe you don't want to be around the blood and guts in the OR room. You can be an expert in the repair of the equipment that we use to monitor those patients," said Heath Thompson, Vice President of Ancillary Services with Singing River Health System.

The Jackson County Civic Center transformed into a mini-hospital, complete with a surgery suite, laboratory, pharmacy, and labor and delivery station. The students dressed-up as doctors and learned how to perform mock surgeries.

"Like we learned how to do a C-section. We learned how to put a tube down somebody's throat. It's crazy.  I think I'll stick with babies," said Stone County High junior Sherry Jones.

"I got to drill an IV into someone's bone. I got to go in and use a camera to get something out of someone's stomach. It was just really exciting for me," said Stone County High sophomore Madison Sumrall.

The goal is to spark an interest in careers in the health care industry and expose students to jobs close to home.

"It is better to come back to your hometown and work for the hospitals and take care of the people that took care of you," said Biloxi High senior Courtney Ballew.

"They showed me the different parts of the body and I get to learn what I need to know when I get out of high school and I get to explore my career options," said Moss Point High junior Jordan Brown.

"I feel like we're always going to need health care in America, and so it's a very good career to choose for long term stability and we have a chance to do that, hopefully, with the local students," said Thompson.

The Career Fair continues Wednesday at the Jackson County Civic Center from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

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