PMC Medical Academy planting seeds to grow the future of healthcare

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – Pikeville Medical Center’s new program is offering young students a glimpse behind the curtain of care.

The PMC Medical Academy is a specialized program that allows eighth grade students and high school freshmen to apply for a spot to shadow different medical professionals on the Pikeville campus. The program recently kicked off with its first 25 students. The cohort visited the medical center on Wednesday for some hands-on healthcare experience.

With students working in different areas, including opportunities from surgery to lab work, organizers said the program provides a great mix of careers to expose students to more than they may consider when thinking about healthcare.

“It’s helpful a lot because a bunch of my family’s in kind of the same field. They’re either in like closely related fields or like very different fields. So, it’s nice to see like an aspect of what I could do, or if I want to do what they do,” said eighth-grader Cooper Varney.

Students said the program is helping them see beyond the careers they grew up hearing about, and for some, the academy is allowing them to change their minds on the careers they thought they would pursue.

“I kind of wanna do OB. So, like, work with babies or in the NICU or something, but I looked here today; I didn’t even know that this was something that you could do, and it really it sparked my interest,” said eighth-grader Callie Davis.

The program will welcome more students in its next cycle, as part of the hospital’s hope to prepare the students for the workforce. Executive Director of Guest Relations Dana Bishop said, “It’s going to take everyone,” as the need for more medical workers only grows as the current workers retire.

“Pikeville Medical Center is gonna be here,” she said. “It’s us going back to those that are 14 years old and saying, ‘We need you to be a part of this medical profession.’”

The program is one of many the hospital hopes to use in its mission, including programs that take the medical workers to the students.