Health Team

Hospital tour gives middle schoolers new outlook on career in medicine

Posted April 13, 2016 5:32 p.m. EDT
Updated April 13, 2016 6:20 p.m. EDT

— A classroom can only provide part of what students need to learn, which is why field trips into the community are important, especially when it inspires career goals.

Because of an outing at Duke Hospital, 7th graders from Durham Nativity School say they will now pursue a career in medicine.

However, not all the students have their heart set on the field.                                                                

Amir Britton said his first choice is acting, but a career in medicine could be a second option.

Britton and his classmates learned how to use an endoscope to explore the lungs’ airways and an ultrasound device to find all the organs and structures in the body during their visit to Duke.

“This is sort of an unparalleled opportunity for them to do hands on learning that you just can’t do in a normal classroom,” said Mary Anderson, a science teacher at Durham Nativity School.

Durham Nativity School is a private tuition-free school for underprivileged middle school boys and is partnering with Duke Surgery this year for several visits.

Teachers and staff at the school prepare the students for private high school education and continue to support them with counseling. The staff also assists students with finding internships, summer jobs and ultimately entering a four-year university.

Duke surgeon Dr. Linda Cendales, along with other surgeons and instructors, said the visits are time well invested.

“There is exceptional talent shrouded in poverty,” Cendales said. “And we want to lift that shroud and expose that talent; it’s rewarding.”

Zoeta Zigbuo, a student at Nativity, said the experience has allowed him to form goals toward a career in the medical field.

“Actually, I do want to become a surgeon, so this is a great experience that will last a lifetime,” he said. “I have to basically learn the skills that I need to become a surgeon.”