A group of high school sophomores and juniors spent a day recently (4/10) at Northern Maine Community College learning what it takes to become a physician. The handpicked students from throughout the County heard from practicing physicians and Tufts University Medical School students about various pathways to get into medical school and ways to afford the education.
The Doc4aDay program, developed by Dr. Victoria Hayes of Maine Medical Center, was designed to raise aspirations about getting into the medical field.
“The ultimate goal is to show students that there are pathways to become a physician with the hope that one day they might practice in rural areas of the state,” says Hayes. “High school students may have financial concerns or have a hard time imagining the commitment of time to become a doctor. But the Tufts medical students reassure and inspire the high schoolers that support is available and the learning is stimulating.”
The high school students had to apply for the 12 slots through an application and were identified as high achievers by their guidance counselors. They had the opportunity to participate in patient scenarios and complete hands-on clinical activities in the NMCC EMS and nursing labs.
“My favorite part was learning how to suture on pigs’ feet,” said Kylie Vining of Southern Aroostook High School. “The hands-on learning is exciting and I can see myself working hard to get into this field.”
The Doc4aDay program, which travels to various parts of the state, is funded through the Maine Area Health Education Center (AHEC). 2014 was the last time Aroostook was selected to host the program.
Northern Maine AHEC Director and NMCC Assistant Dean of Continuing Education Leah Buck says the program has proved successful.
“At least two of the former student participants are now enrolled in pre-med programs with an eye on medical school and rural practice. This is exactly what we hope to accomplish.”