Bailey Tomes, 17, remembers wanting to be a doctor "ever since I could talk."
From a young age, she helped take care of her grandparents, giving them their medications and helping when her grandmother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Tomes used to think becoming a pharmacist was her goal, but two years ago doctors found a benign tumor in her femur, which required surgery and an extensive recovery time.
Being on the receiving end of orthopedic surgery changed her career goals, and she'd now like to become an orthopedic doctor.
Tomes, who will be a senior at Red Lion Area Senior High School next year, was one of 24 students from York County high schools who took part in a one-day hands-on program Tuesday at WellSpan's York Hospital.
Hands-on introduction: The program was tailored for students interested in becoming physicians, instead of summer programs in previous years that covered all health-related professions, said Stephanie Workinger, a senior human resources representative for WellSpan.
The students were chosen by their schools to participate in the program, either through recommendations from their guidance counselors or teachers, Workinger said.
Students learned about the process for applying to medical schools and talked with a surgeon about his career.
But the hands-on part in the afternoon was a highlight for many students, when they learned about various medical procedures and even practiced a few.
Practical experience: Tomes and her group, including Kaytlin Paul from Red Lion and Dylan Kolb from Dallastown, had the chance to practice a blood draw, place a breathing tube in a patient's airway and see the process for putting a patient under anesthesia — all on lifelike practice mannequins used in the hospital's Medical Simulation Center.
Among other practice procedures, the students also got a tour of the hospital's laboratory to see how blood samples are tested, where the samples are stored and how the blood bank works.
Tomes and her peers said those interactive demonstrations were the most interesting part of the day.
"It's important to get the hands-on activities," she said. "That's my main focus for today."
The students in the program Tuesday were full of questions, both about the activities and the profession in general, Workinger said.
There is always a need for more physicians, she said, and a projected shortage of doctors in future years increases the importance of fostering interest in young students.
— Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.